At the start of this year, I challenged myself to go a month without social media. Because I host a blog and a podcast, I couldn’t deactivate these accounts, really, and so my rule was that I couldn’t use them for anything other than posting/sharing my content.
And so, I deleted the apps from my phone.
And it has been liberating!
Positives I’ve experienced
Just quickly, I want to tell you how it’s helped me. Firstly, this month I’ve felt much more focused. I’ve been productive and attentive more so than ever. Without a phone full of interesting apps to dive into every second, my mind has focused a lot better in the real world…
I’ve read 4 books this month (plus a poetry book, too)! For some, that’s not a lot, but for me that’s a huge achievement! Pretty much a book a week. I really don’t think this would have been possible if I still had social media on my phone.
I’ve felt healthier, too. The one time I went on Facebook to share a blog post and I saw someone else’s post, I felt jealous and low. A girl from school is off travelling and her pictures are amazing! I felt jealous and feeling jealous makes you feel crap about yourself and your own life. Now, if I’d still had social media on my phone, that moment would have been amplified tenfold when comparing myself to hundreds of other people, too.
So, here is why I quit social media and what I’ve found from the experience…
Allow yourself to be bored
Firstly, I heard a YouTuber say that it’s important to allow yourself to be bored. That in this modern world, we are never bored! There are a plethora of things to do and see readily at the click of a button. As cool as this is, it’s also not good for us creative types.
Creativity and innovation are often born from boredom. When our minds don’t have much to do, they look for ways to entertain themselves. They come up with story ideas and inventions and new things to try.
But if you’re scrolling through socials when you’re bored, your brain doesn’t have that paused period of time to think up awesome stuff!
Gain back time for better habits
As I said, I’ve read a lot more this month than any other. I really do think this is down to the lack of social media. If there is a habit you’re trying to implement or improve, then think about what takes up your time now.
All the time I would have spent on social media, I now have for other things. Whenever I have a gap in my day, or I’m commuting, or whatever, I reach for my book now. Or I write. Or I do some yoga. Basically, the more important things! The things I want to be doing because they make me feel healthy and happy.
Again, comparison! Gosh, it’s the worst! Some people are fine to go on social media and aren’t so easily affected. They will often be inspired by those jetting off overseas or writing books, instead of feeling jealous. That’s brilliant!
But some of us (a lot of us, from the studies now being published) are negatively affected by our time on social media. It’s not the app creators’ fault or the apps’ fault. It’s not really ours, either. You can curate your feed to be inspiring, hopeful, goodnatured things. But even so, when following friends or family you can still be affected so it’s hard. It is.
Ever been having a good day, or you’ve posted something you were proud of, and then you go on social media and you see someone taking amazing pics in Thailand or someone’s post with thousands of comments and likes compared to yours with zero? And suddenly, you feel crap? Yeah, me too…
That’s why limiting your time can be good for you if you are the kind of person to be affected. Firstly, ask yourself what you’re feeling when on socials and delete accounts accordingly. Don’t follow people that make you feel bad. Then, implement a rule with yourself so that you feel less negativity from comparison and the like.
Say what you want, but it is a form of addiction! Just like drugs and alcohol, sugar, food, whatever. Social media, for a lot of us, is an addiction. When I deleted the apps, I felt anxious for gods sake! As if something bad would happen now that I didn’t have it on my phone whenever I needed it.
I was addicted.
You know you’re addicted to something if it’s hard (literally very hard) not to do it. When you feel lost, uncomfortable or even in pain not to have or do it.
I would never compare drug addiction to social media addiction. They are very, very different. But I’m saying that reaching for your phone every other minute, opening the apps even when you’ve scrolled for 10 minutes just a minute ago, is not healthy. It is our minds being addicted to the dopamine shots we get from looking at pretty images.
There are worse addictions to have, but this still isn’t healthy and it could be very good for you to be able to beat this addiction, like I’m trying to.
- Less social media means less time on your phone which is good for your eyes and sleep
- We can slow down, pause, breathe without the instant gratification and entertainment at our fingertips of the social media world
- Less fake news, random info, distractions and unimportant crap being chucked into our poor brains
*I’m not anti-social media, by the way, I’m just pro-me, pro-health, pro-productivity and so this was important for me and my life.*
So, there you have it. I’m using social media a lot less. I don’t yet feel the need to download them on my phone again. We’ll see if this changes. This month has been a success and I don’t want to revert back to my old ways. I want to be focused, creative, productive, and interested in my own life and those around me instead of hundreds of lives all at once!