Last fall, I watched the Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, and immediately deleted all of my social media. What started as an emotional reaction to the implications of digitizing life quickly became a turning point.

I deleted my Facebook and started calling my friends instead. I deleted my Instagram and started making more art. I deleted my Twitter and started thinking clearer. I write every day now. I read so much more. I look at my phone less. I feel lighter, happier, more at peace.

While he’s certainly no expert in this arena, I was struck by an interview The Used’s Bert McCracken gave last year, in which he talked about his decision to unplug from social media:

“It’s not for me. I don’t think it’s for people like me. Truthfully, I don’t think it’s for humans. I thinks it’s one of the worst things that’s ever happened. It’s like the telescreen in 1984–just constant feeding of propaganda and inferiority…a machine connected to you that tells you that you’re not good enough 24/7 is a pretty bad deal…For me and my life, for my positivity, for my happiness […] I leave it alone.”

Nothing is free, even if we aren’t paying in dollars and cents. With social media, we pay with the most valuable things we possess: our time and attention. Unplugging from social media is one of the best ways to give the gift of yourself to yourself.

For a few resources on reigning in social media use and creating a more empathetic society, check out the Center for Humane Technology.