Disconnect to Reconnect: What I learned during my social media hiatus


“I feel like I’m constantly worrying about the next part of my life without realizing that I’m right in the middle of what I used to look forward to.”

The Wake-Up Call

If you recall from one of my very first blog posts, I knew that 2018 would be different–and it was! 2018 was simply an amazing year. I can honestly say that I seized every opportunity that came my way and attempted to maximize my potential in every area of my life. I accomplished (or at least attempted to) almost every goal I set for the year. However, I realized that I never had a chance to celebrate myself and express sincere gratitude to God for all He had done. I never actually took time to let it all sink in. And finally, I didn’t consider my needs and wants. I was definitely grateful and happy, but I would immediately start planning for the next way to progress. I realized that sometimes we have a tendency to place so much pressure on ourselves to be who we envision we should be, instead of acknowledging and celebrating the fact that we are evolving.

Hat: Amazon | Jacket: Ross Stores | Shorts: Forever 21 | Boots: Ego

The Hiatus

That wake-up call prompted me to take a 21-day hiatus from all forms of social media. I knew it was time to unplug from the distractions, express gratitude, and be more present in the moment. Social media was a major distraction for me, so I knew that eliminating it would free up much of my time. I was so “plugged in” that I was draining myself. I found myself pouring into others before I would even pour into myself. I was burned out and depleted and we all know that you cannot pour from an empty cup.

The Lesson

My 3 week hiatus taught me a lot! I completely shut everything down and took time to look within. I received so much clarity, developed a new outlook on life and even developed a new morning mindset routine that I plan to share in a future post ☺. I dug deep and had some great reflections on this year and God revealed the following takeaways to me that I would like to share with you all:

  1. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Fill your own cup before you pour into others. 
  2. Comparison is the thief of joy. Remember, Social media is only the highlight reel. Don’t lose sight of your journey by comparing your life to the “best moments” of others.
  3. It takes more faith to stop, than to keep going. It’s easy to continue operating in dysfunction because its comfortable. Interrupting toxic patterns is a huge step because it forces you to know that the temporary discomfort will be beneficial in the end.
  4. Social media is the handshake, not the end goal. Social media is a great way to connect with others, but you have to remember to focus on what you’re building for yourself (your self-concept, business, website, brand, etc.) It’s all about balance.
  5. It is important to embody your brand—in real life. I’ll use myself for example. How can I say I am “on a living spree,” when I am not “living” in real life? We have to stay true to ourselves, our morals, and our purpose no matter what. If you notice you’re compromising brand integrity, make a change!
  6. Gratitude is the key to living a powerful life. The more you’re grateful for, the more comes for you to be grateful for. Simple.
  7. Don’t look around, look within. Don’t seek validation from others. “When your worth isn’t based on their claps, you won’t be broken by their silence.”
  8. Self-care is also reclaiming your time. Everything will work again if you unplug it, including you. Take care of YOU!
  9. Purpose over popularity will always win. Don’t get the popular circle confused with the winner’s circle. Focusing on your purpose won’t always be the “popular” thing to do, but it is always the right thing to do.
  10. The only expectations you need to live up to are your own. Never feel like you have to live up to the expectations of others. Hold fast to your own beliefs and values and follow your own moral compass.

The Evolution

Above all, this hiatus revealed to me the evolution I have made throughout the past few years and I couldn’t be more proud! It is my hope that we quiet our minds and our hearts and allow ourselves to revel in our progress and process. No, taking a social media hiatus may not be the route for everyone to completely alleviate their distractions and reach within, but it was for me. However, I promise if you do take time to slow down and express gratitude, you will experience more fulfillment than ever before.

Photography: @jp.hanney_visuals

Stylist: @thefashionchase

Setting: Downtown, Houston, Texas

As always, thanks for taking time to read my blog! Do me a favor and share this with others who may find this intriguing and helpful. Until next time, let’s go on a living spree!

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9 Comments

  1. Debura Burrell
    December 29, 2018 / 1:56 pm

    Amazing!
    Proud of you for taking a hiatus as self care and reflection is major!
    Love you❤️

    Mom

    • Ashley Cockrell
      Author
      January 4, 2019 / 4:54 pm

      Thank you so much! It was much needed. The biggest lesson I learned was to be unapologetic about what I need and allow myself the grace to walk away from anything that is not serving me in a positive way. Noticing when I need breaks and allowing myself to take them was huge for me.

  2. December 29, 2018 / 3:45 pm

    This was amazing! Numbers 7-10 definitely hit home with me! Until RECENTLY, I was habitually seeking validation in almost every aspect of my life and didn’t really realize it. I was reminded to “Stop looking to get from others what God has already given you”. And with that mindset came the full confidence in my greatness, thus me reclaiming my time from energy and peace draining things like- these men, friends, social media…etc. Now I’m living up to my own expectations and focusing on my purpose!!

    • Ashley Cockrell
      Author
      January 4, 2019 / 4:57 pm

      You are not alone, sis! In the society we live in, it is easy to get caught up seeking validation for everything. Especially through social media! But, the blessing is that we are able to notice those habits and take control of them when they get out of hand. We have to stay grounded and keep our eyes on the bigger goal–our purpose and being pleasing to God! I love that you have taken back the reigns of your life and living life up to your own expectations! So proud of you! Cheers to an amazing 2019!

  3. Jasmine Clennon
    December 30, 2018 / 4:32 am

    Thanks for sharing this, Ashley. I recently have used the screen time feature on iPhone to limit my total social media time (across all apps) to 1 hr. per day, and it’s made a big difference. When I am on social media, I’m more intentional with my time, and I have started reading more with the new found free time I have. I started doing this for vacations and holidays so I can be more present with family and friends, but this might be something I start doing more often in 2019.

    • Ashley Cockrell
      Author
      January 4, 2019 / 5:00 pm

      Yes, Jasmine! Thanks for sharing this! Screen time is something that I am practicing since coming off of my social media hiatus and it is helping me to reclaim my time and hold me accountable. Even when I am plugged in, I want to be more intentional about my time instead of scrolling aimlessly for hours. This was a major key for me too! I definitely like that you have replaced your newfound spare time with productive things such as reading and being present with your friends and family. I want to implement that more in the new year as well and focus on things that matter most! 🙂 One thing about time, you never get it back so it is important to spend it well.

  4. Gerianna
    January 11, 2019 / 4:31 pm

    Ashley! Let me tell you this post really moved me! Thank you very much for sharing your gift with others hun. My mantra is learning to be present in moment, but so oftentimes we are either stuck dwelling in the past or daydreaming about where we’re trying to go, that we forgot about the power in reflecting on the present moment. I take social media breaks a lot because I find myself aimlessly scrolling without purpose…just scrolling lol. So taking these breaks and doing more scrolling and posting with purpose has really helped me in re-centering myself.

    Love ya hun!

    • Ashley Cockrell
      Author
      January 11, 2019 / 8:57 pm

      Thanks so much Geri! And that’s so true… we have to be more present otherwise life will pass us by! I’m taking more frequent breaks now as well and it’s really helping with my anxiety and also my focus and productivity. And yes posting with purpose is key! 🙂 thanks for sharing hun

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