Why A Facebook Break Was The Best Thing I Did This Year


A break from Facebook? Like, actually switching off completely? Is this girl for real?

I can almost hear some audible gasps coming across the Blogosphere because the idea of taking a break and deactivating Facebook for 24 hours, let alone weeks is enough to make some people break out in a cold sweat.

I was totally one of those people.

I was addicted.

I did some research earlier in the year and found a study had indeed been conducted on Facebook addiction, labeling it to be a real thing:



‘Researchers in Norway have published a psychological scale to measure Facebook addiction, the first of its kind worldwide. The new measure is called the BFAS, short for the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale and is the work of Dr. Cecilie Andraessen at the University of Bergen (UiB), Norway, and colleagues. Eventually, Andraessen and colleagues finalized the BFAS to six basic criteria, with participants asked to give the following 5 responses to each one: (1) Very rarely, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, and (5) Very often:

  1. You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planning how to use it.
  2. You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
  3. You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.
  4. You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
  5. You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
  6. You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.

Andreassen and colleagues suggest that scoring “often” or “very often” on at least four of the six items may suggest the respondent is addicted to Facebook.’

(You can read more about the study here).


I was definitely answering ‘often’ to the majority of those questions at that time in my life.

It was in April of this year and I just wasn’t feeling myself.

The nagging feeling of being unfulfilled started to turn up it’s volume, health issues were driving me around the bend and I just felt, well, blah. I loved my family but outside of that I was missing something. Our family was complete, the trying for babies was over, the pregnancy phase was over and the baby phase was over. After years of having that as my sole focus, that phase of my life was over and I was feeling a little lost and spending way too much time on Facebook to compensate and I knew it.

So I decided to bite the bullet and do something drastic. I decided to take a break from Facebook in the grand hope that it might be the magic cure to becoming a better mother, a better wife, a better employee, cook, friend, homemaker and sleeper. And perhaps that I would find what was missing in the process.

I was switched off for three weeks. That first week was hard work, I actually had anxiety. Seriously. I have been a big user of the social networking site for years. Which was fine and dandy and fun. Facebook was a fantastic outlet for an infertile women to connect with other women in the same boat. Then I got pregnant and it became a fabulous place to join groups and meet and get to know other women all having babies at the same time as me. And then those early days of motherhood where I would be up all night rocking a small bundle of joy who was refusing to sleep. When my eyelids were drooping in exhaustion and I felt all alone in the dark hours of the morning with no one but this tiny little baby for company, logging onto Facebook to chat to all the other sleepless new mamas was priceless. Then came the trials and tribulations as our children grew, followed by a second pregnancy and a new group of mums to bond with in this second phase of motherhood.

I have made some awesome friends and forged some unbreakable bonds on Facebook. And it was bloody brilliant.

Except that I have a really addictive personality and I have at several points in the last few years found myself on Facebook far too often!

PING! Oh, who’s wanting to chat? I must check that immediately! I’ll just stay up another 10 minutes to see if anyone replies to my post. How many people liked my post? No one is commenting, they must hate me (this usually during PMS when hormones are rampant and we turn on the crazy!). 

Then as the kids got older, the comparisons began.

Cohen was a late walker and I seriously struggled with the fact that he was starting to fall so far behind the other kids in my online group when it came to taking his first steps. They were all born in June/July so of course it was completely natural to compare milestones as they were all roughly the same age within weeks of one another. He never did the sitting thing so that was another source of stress. Then the speech delay. Without meaning to and entirely of my own insecurity, logging on during some of the struggles I was having at home (mostly in my own head of being a good mum and my babies meeting milestones) became a source of anxiety and comparison. I think much of that stems back to not having that rock in my own life to guide me. That rock being my mum. I invested so much in my ‘online’ friends because in reality I was often lonely and a little insecure, and I often felt like a fish out of water with no idea what I was doing.

With #2 came more confidence and as Cohen started to meet his milestones (usually late and last in the group but always getting there in the end) things started to get easier and my confidence has grown.

So where am I going with all this?

Well, I realised that I was starting to let the negative outweigh the positive. It was beginning to be a source of anxiety to log on. I just felt out of sorts and it wasn’t helping. I had a husband I needed to spend more quality time with and two little children I had fought so damn hard for that I didn’t want to look back and realise I had watched grow up behind the screen of my phone, much like a photograph you don’t remember taking but look back on with fondness rather than a memory.

How many of us are constantly distracted? I know I was guilty of it. At times more guilty than others. I have a problem with balance and I was neglecting so many different facets of my life that I could have been concentrating on instead and finding fulfillment in.

I needed to get outside my comfort zone by kicking off those comfy shoes I had become so accustomed to and start dancing to a new tune.

I’d had writers block since the boys came along and I realise in hindsight much of that was distraction. It was far easier to just go on Facebook and chat than it was to put my concentration into the creative outlet of writing or any other hobby.

So while I was on this Facebook break I started to write again (if I’m honest, it started purely out of boredom, I mean what does one do without Facebook?!). I went back to the blog I had started this time last year and never felt fully in tune with at the time, and I started writing.

It was hard to begin with, thinking of things to write but like anything, the more you do it the easier it becomes. It ended up being therapeautic (especially The Open Letter To My Mum I wrote for Mother’s Day, that was the post I really needed to write in order to start some healing in that area of my life). In no time at all, the words were flowing out of me, onto the keyboard and onto the page. I had fun with it, the words and the creativity of the design, the photos, the illustrations.

This was what was missing. This was the gap I needed to fill – the purpose, the drive, the passion, the challenge.

So while deactivating Facebook was initially:

1. To conquer the addiction; and

2. Because I wasn’t feeling myself; it has led me here.

If I hadn’t deactivated I wouldn’t have found made the time to step outside of that comfort zone, that easy existence to try my hand at something I used to love before the boys came along and I am so glad I did because it has filled a gap that was clearly missing in my life. It also opened my eyes to how toxic Facebook can be if you are not in a good headspace and just how addictive it can be if you allow it. 

The fact I took that break and it led me here is why taking a break from Facebook was the best thing that happened to me this year.

If I hadn’t I would still be in the exact same place I was before and that isn’t a happy thought.

I also want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who has embraced this blog, who follows me on Facebook (ha!), who reads and comments and engages with me, for welcoming me into this community. Thank you!

And just for the record, I have well and truly kicked my addiction and use it all in moderation like a normal person now. Next challenge quitting caffeine maybe? Yeah right!

Do you need to take a break from Facebook? Are you/have you been addicted? 

Linking up today with Essentially Jess for #IBOT, come on over and join the party!

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59 thoughts on “Why A Facebook Break Was The Best Thing I Did This Year

  1. I hear you! By this rationale I am addicted too +sigh+ and it does impact my other life. If it wasn’t for my blog and all the great connections I have built up through FB I would totally ditch it. I have had periods where I have stopped checking, and they have been good. But my weakness is when I am working. It’s a distraction I like, a little like chocolate, but know it zaps my mental energy and wastes my time. Hmmm. Maybe I need to take an official break too.
    Zanni Louise recently posted…The memory makers + the memory takersMy Profile

    1. I love mine too! 4.5 years now and going strong, though we have lost a few along the way the ones who remain are like family 🙂 Best bunch of girls ever, I have met some of my best friends in my FB mums groups.

    1. The caffeine thing was all lies! Lies I tell you! I’m currently drinking my fifth coffee of the day at 1pm … ok, so maybe I do need to cut back!! Eek!

  2. Good for you! I have often thought about taking a ‘break’ from facey too, but haven’t as yet. Everything you said is so true though. I can relate to it a lot. Especially now I am a blogger! I have become a bit more of an addict since writing. Okay, I have to go and check facebook now. I think you just PM’d me :)!!
    Kelly recently posted…THE CURSE OF SELECTIVE HEARING – Guest PostMy Profile

    1. Sounds like a pretty healthy relationship with it to me! I’m much the same these days, I prefer to pick up a book and read awhile than pick up my phone on a weekend (when I’m not being climbed all over by small boys!).

    1. FOMO probably describes it pretty well, mostly once you get into a discussion it can be addictive to keep checking back for new comments.

  3. I recently took a forced 7 night break from Facebook – we were on a cruise to the pacific islands. I LOVED being off it! I still took my phone everywhere as it was my only camera, but it wasn’t “connected” to anything and it was fabulous. But I noticed it didn’t take long for the addiction to come back once we were back in Aus. Maybe I need to go on a longer cruise….
    Aroha @ Colours of Sunset recently posted…When Your Child Says the F Word at SchoolMy Profile

    1. Yeah, when it gets negative and you start to feel guilty then you realise it’s time to step back. Glad you caught it and did something about it too 🙂

  4. (said in Mean Girl’s teeny-bopper tone) “OH-EM-GEE You stopped using Facebook? That’s like. social. suicide….!” Heehehe

    I just read something earlier written by Time magazine. It was quoting one of the “algorithm heads of” in Facebook HQ world, saying the goal purpose of Facebook is to keep their users using it more and longer periods of time. So you’ve picked up the very thing they’re trying to achieve. Social media is becoming integrating with so much of our daily lives, its scary.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and the background to why you decided to take a break, lessons you learnt, definitely something to consider.
    Cam @ Gen-Y Mum recently posted…My New CareerMy Profile

    1. Hahaha. Social suicide is about right! When you do leave Facebook it is like leaving all your friends at a party you are no longer invited to (even though it is by choice!).

  5. I’ve never taken an active break from facebook, but occasionally I just don’t go on it for a few days because I can’t be bothered. Which you probably shouldn’t do if you’re a blogger, but whatever. 🙂
    I love how it really unleashed your creative side. It’s funny how changing how you do things can do that?
    EssentiallyJess recently posted…Not Seventeen #IBOTMy Profile

    1. I love that you don’t go on cos you can’t be bothered! That totally mean you are one of those ‘use in moderation’ people who can do it without trying.

  6. GOOD ON YOU! We are all about ‘screen freedom’ at my place and I reckon Facebook is the grown-up equivalent of bloody Minecraft. We get addicted and it serves no purpose. It is amazing how much we get done in a day when we leave Facebook alone. That and the whole FOMO (or in my case ‘jelly legs’) just crushes your soul. I try to go on there once or twice a day max and ignore it the rest of the time. I took it off my iphone because it was so distracting. I hope you keep giving yourself a break from time to time. x
    Maxabella recently posted…The story of Mr SockMy Profile

    1. Yep, taking it off your phone is sometimes all that needs to be done to stop the constant checking, I did that too and only just readded it recently because I don’t go on it anywhere near as much anymore so the ‘craving’ to constantly check my notifications isn’t as strong! Haha. As soon as I feel myself getting drawn in again I will delete it off the phone again but hopefully I can avoid that happening!
      Haidee recently posted…How My Toddler Is Like A Woman With Extreme PMSMy Profile

  7. I can relate to so much of this. I’ve taken active steps to minimise some of my participation in groups (sob) but something had to give. The catch-22 of being a blogger is that social media is such an integral part of the entire process. Most of my traffic referrals overwhelmingly come from FB and it’s vital to networking with other bloggers and keeping abreast of what is happening in that world.
    Hugzilla recently posted…9 Types of Fatigue That No One Tells New Parents AboutMy Profile

    1. I totally agree, I think I would struggle with a break nowadays with the blog and needing to be able to use that for promotional purposes and to engage with fellow bloggers, but that aspect of it is far less addictive than the groups!

  8. I went through a stage like this with facebook. I wouldn’t say i was addicted, but i was pretty close, and had a huge FOMO it i wasn’t on there all the time. That was over a year ago, and now i do not go on there nearly as much!

    Really interesting read though!

    1. Totally Rhianna, it’s funny how that happens. Like I said to [email protected] Mum, it is like leaving a party halfway through and then not being allowed back in (even if it is by choice) and all this stuff happened at the party that you can’t relate to and it can actually be really hard to reintegrate! Even when it is totally in your own head … it’s hard to explain but yes, I’m much less connected with certain areas of Facey since my break.

    1. I wish I could but evenings are often when I do the blogging/sharing/engaging/talking to people thing. Not on Fridays though, Friday is The Voice night, it’s my blob and ‘think about nothing cos this does not require thinking’ TV night. And yes, the quitting caffeine was blasphemy. Having my second now at 7am and I’m at work already (shock horror!).

  9. Good on you! Three weeks is a long time! More than a year ago, we went on holidays to NZ and I quit facebook for about 10 days. It was absolute bliss. I feel like I need to do it again, but worry about damaging the engagement on my blog FB page. Argh. Will have to figure out a way around that 🙂
    Renee recently posted…A letter to my five-year-oldMy Profile

  10. I think you are 100% right about the reality of Facebook addiction. I try to limit my time on Facebook and have never truly engaged many people so I don’t think I’m addicted. I may however be starting to develop an unhealthy fascination with Twitter. Great post. #brilliantblogposts
    Rob recently posted…Rob: An Open Letter To All CelebritiesMy Profile

  11. Great post, I’ve recently joined FB after a 5 year break, it’s changed a lot since I was first on it and I can see just how easy it is to become obsessed #brilliantblogposts
    Ellen recently posted…Reasons #R2BCMy Profile

  12. Great post and well done on finding a balance. I’m not on Facebook, but I can’t put my finger on why not. I prefer Twitter and Instagram, and unfortunately I’m partial to the OK! app…why I need to access celebrity gossip regularly is a bit of a mystery!!

    1. I love celebrity gossip! It’s like a thing to escape real life I reckon, I also love reality TV but that is a whole other post! If FB isn’t for you then that’s great! Just do what you enjoy 🙂

  13. I usually refuse to read posts like this as to hide away from the fact that I probably am addicted to social media. Danny points it out every day. You can’t hear me when your on your phone… bla bla. I definitely need to take a leaf out of your book and take a break. Well done you… 🙂

    1. Yeah, you probably shouldn’t have read this post! Maybe the phone in the toilet was a sign from the universe! You normally refuse to read them, you read it and then your phone got dunked! LOL. Sorry, I shouldn’t laugh! You’ll be cursing my name to high heaven!

  14. I have a serious love/hate relationship with Facebook. I know I spend (waste) far too much time on it but I find myself turning to it all the time. I’ve had one break which was very refreshing but if I’m honest, I couldn’t wait to check out what I’d missed. I love this post – comforting to know others have the same battle 🙂

  15. I am on Facebook only for the groups, competitions and my page really. I do think I need a break sometimes. But it is so hard to take one to be honest because if you do it takes you such a huge amount of time to catch up with everything.
    Janine recently posted…Siblings DecemberMy Profile

  16. I can completely relate to this maybe not with facebook as I am hardly on it but definitely social media like ig. I took a break and it really makes you focus on life again fully. Lovely post. Thank you ever so much for linking up to SWM #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…Share With Me Blog Hop ~ 1/52My Profile

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