A Washington, D.C., woman has revealed that a yearlong digital detox from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat has left her feeling "grateful of every moment."
Darla Bunting had hundreds of Facebook and Snapchat friends, over 1,300 Instagram followers and more than 4,000 Twitter followers. But on January 1 last year she announced in a blog post that she was giving the sharing platforms up for the next 365 days.
The education advocate told ABC News last year that she initially deleted the social media apps for a month on the advise of her pastor, but found the mini-digital detox wasn't enough.
Now after an entire year, Bunting, 31, told ABC News: "I had different epiphanies over the course of this year. I feel so at peace."
"I took away instantly that so many of us curate our lives for social media and so I removed all of that, removed the feeling of having to 'snap' every moment or Instagram every moment or every experience that’s going on in my life," she said.
"When I began to cut out different things, I learned to have an attitude of gratitude," Bunting added. "I became really grateful of every moment."
Bunting joked that due to her lack of social media presence during the presidential election campaign she "didn’t lose any Facebook friends."
"But what I did gain was learning how to quiet my own thoughts and my own opinions and listen to other people whose opinions are different than mine," she added.
Still, time away from social media did have its drawbacks, including missing photographed moments posted by family members who don't live nearby.
"I did miss seeing my goddaughter...because I’m not physically there with her," Bunting explained, "and photos of friends that I don't get to see everyday."
Bunting says she intends to return to posting, but has advice for those who want to try a social media detox: "Realize that social media isn’t going anywhere, so you're not going to miss anything once you take a break from it and come back," she said. "You’ll still be able to find news in other places. You’ll go to websites. You’ll subscribe to different people’s newsletters."
Bunting also had some tips for those wishing to follow her lead and wean themselves off social media: "Social media has become such a natural part of our life. You’ll have urges to check," she said. "So I blocked the websites on my computer and deleted the apps off of my phone. So there was not a way for me to check. That made it incredibly easier for me."