Dec. 30. 2017
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

I took a break from social media, and largely, the internet for about 2 weeks and it felt good.

I love the month of December, it’s naturally full of reflection, razor-sharp focus, and clarity for me. 2017 was quite the year full of ups and downs, but mostly it was one of the biggest years for learning lessons — learning who I am as I step into my 30’s, my challenges, my strengths and how to move into 2018 gracefully!

The funny thing is when I told people around me, mainly my friends and family, that I was taking a break from social media for a couple of weeks, most of them were like “so what?”. You see, I’m surrounded by people who 1) don’t use social media, 2) use it but their work doesn’t heavily depend on it, or 3) literally don’t have a social media account. My fiancé (eeek, this is the first time writing that out loud!) literally doesn’t have social media and grew up without electricity until he was 15 — side note I should really have him guest write how they lived completely self-sustaining, at some point. But this year, work has never seemed busier, more full, and at times overwhelming more than this past year.

Before I started Nutrition Stripped, I had no idea what social media was outside of Facebook and I rarely used that. I started Instagram in 2013 and fell in love with how I could connect with people over the world who shared my same interests and made amazing friends to this day. Best of all, social media has been the greatest catalyst for growing our global family who I can literally touch base with at the touch of a button. It’s amazing!

What’s not amazing about social media is when I started to feel like I was feeding it more than it was feeding me — I found myself most of this year putting in 2-4 hours a day on social media alone. As much as I love reading all the comments, writing back as best as I can, and replying to DM’s I was left with little time to create, to write, to cook, to coach, to do XYZ. There’s so much more outside of the phone (and so much more to my career) than checking social media, being up to date with everything going on with everyone — to be honest, it wasn’t serving me which meant I felt I couldn’t serve you as best as I wanted.

All that to say, I realized some incredibly valuable lessons that I’d love to share with you, in case you’re in need of a little downtime from social media.


I noticed my creativity skyrocketed and it was the perfect time for it to do so! With the launch of the new website, this project has been a 4-month project and we were all in the home stretch so I needed the extra time to design, photograph, write, and get in the zone of creation for you guys. Most evenings as part of my routine to chill out, I made some tea, journaled or had fun in the kitchen playing with recipes, new photography techniques, etc. Being an art nerd/creative was my first love and so nourishing that part of me is so vital to my wellbeing.

  • Actionable step: plan a time where you can let your mind wander, explore, and get creative or try activities like journal prompts or coloring books that can get you into the flow.


I’m a huge advocate for the Morning Routine and this year it suffered more than ever, you can read what I’m talking about here. I had more space and quite literally more time when I put my phone down, to just be, to journal, to feel, and to process. It was deep, insightful, and again felt so timely going into a fresh year.

  • Actionable step: writing goals for the year are one thing, but what about simply reflecting on how your day was? I journal each morning and evening, even for five minutes, to check in with myself. It’s been so helpful and very insightful to see what comes out on paper.

Mental Clutter

I couldn’t believe how much “excess” I allowed to enter my mind by reading the social media of others! Granted, I’m not calling out saying everything is fluffy, but, do I really need to know what outfit XYZ is wearing, what favorite store is having a sale, what workout is being done, etc.? It’s too much and it takes getting out of the routine of the constant stream of content being “normalized” for you to realize you kinda don’t need to touch base with so many accounts each day.

  • Actionable step: clear out the clutter of the accounts that don’t serve you, or simply check in with those you really love that light you up, educate you, or foster connection in some way that’s important to you.

Not only did I learn some lessons and put myself in check with how much time I was spending on social media, but also how it left me feeling when I didn’t set boundaries. This experiment left me feeling incredibly refreshed, reset, inspired, creative, and EXCITED to get back to chatting with you guys. I’m so ready for a new year, a new chapter in my personal life, and professional life.

I also learned it’s okay to chill.

It’s okay to put the phone away, to set boundaries of when/how much time on social media and make sure they stay in place. In fact, I’ve already scheduled several social media hiatus’s this coming year to refresh myself from the excess social media chatter and information — I have a hunch this is going to be so good for me in the long run. Do you want to join me next time?

If you’ve taken time away from social media or the internet, how did it make you feel?

xx McKel