I belong to a generation that has seen life both before and after the advent of social media. Maybe you never even got on the train, and that’s great for you. Others of us got sucked in for various reasons: wanting to connect with old friends, share pictures with new ones, and to play games. No joke, I got on Facebook because of a mafia game.

Before Facebook, my first foray into social media was MySpace. Yeah, MySpace. Pretty much as soon as Facebook came around, MySpace was out the window. Not even Tom was using MySpace when Facebook came around.

Social media became a significant part of my life almost overnight in 2007. I went from chatting on AIM and updating my MySpace top friends list to sharing every detail of my life on Facebook, Twitter, and later Instagram. It felt revolutionary at first—an easy way to keep in touch, share experiences, and even make new friends across the globe.

But as I grew up, so did my relationship with social media. The initial excitement wore off, replaced by an overwhelming sense of fatigue. The constant notifications, the pressure to present a perfect life, and the endless scrolling started to take a toll. It wasn’t just about connecting with friends anymore; it became a curated performance for an audience.

For me, the fatigue set in gradually. I started to notice how much time I was spending online and how little of it was actually fulfilling. The platforms that once brought joy and connection began to feel like obligations. Social media, with all its benefits, began to feel like a chore. My fatigue somehow helped me avoid getting on TikTok altogether, which seems like a black hole time-suck. It did not keep me, however, from watching Instagram stories into the wee morning hours.

This fatigue is perhaps a natural part of growing up. As I evolved, my priorities changed. I started valuing real-life interactions over virtual likes. I began seeking deeper connections rather than a large number of followers. It was a shift from quantity to quality in my relationships and interactions.

Stepping back from social media wasn’t about rejecting technology or connectivity. It was about finding a balance that worked for me. I cut down my usage, took regular breaks, and eventually left certain platforms altogether.

In the end, social media fatigue became a sign of growth. It reminded me to reassess how I spent my time and what truly mattered. It was about making space for the things that brought me genuine joy and fulfillment, both online and offline.

Recently, I decided to quit Instagram and severely limit my time on Facebook and other social media platforms. The impact on my mental health has been profound. I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my sense of calm and overall well-being. I feel less pressured to constantly check my phone, which has allowed me to be more present in my daily life. Remarkably, my sleep quality has improved too. Without the late-night scrolling, I find it easier to unwind and get a restful night’s sleep.

Cutting back on social media has helped me reclaim my time and focus on what truly matters. It’s a small change that has made a big difference in my life, and I encourage anyone feeling the weight of social media fatigue to consider doing the same.

Author: Ryan Ullman

Ryan Ullman is an attorney at the Piel Law Firm, LLC in Baltimore, Maryland. He is particularly interested in technology, productivity, peak flow states, music, and the outdoors.

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