What I learned from a week of Social Media Detox

Seven days. No social media. And no excuses.

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Let’s be honest, social media has become a part of our daily life and we tend to spend hours on end scrolling through our social media feeds or watching our favourite shows, without even noticing how much time we are really wasting. Social media causes many people, particularly teenagers, a great deal of stress, anxiety and creates a social pressure and standard that we are expected to live up to. It’s full of negative energy, which can be incredibly overwhelming. The other day, I was thinking about what our world would be like if phones and the internet didn’t exist.

Before I go on any further, I would like to say that I think social media is great and I’m grateful to live in the era of social media and inspirational content creation. I believe it’s all about finding a healthy balance between having an online presence, and living in the real world, connecting with others on a personal level.

Similar to the majority of our generation, it has become part of my morning routine to check social media platforms as soon as I wake up. I scroll through my feed, checking for new updates that I’d missed during the night and reply to all the messages I’d received whilst I was asleep.  This routine made me feel unproductive and consumed me, ultimately leading me to wanting to disconnect from social media and go offline for a while. I told myself that I would simply start with 7 days; if I didn’t like the way I felt being offline, it would’ve only been a week that I had “missed out on”.

To set myself up for the detox success I placed all my social media apps in one folder and moved that folder to the very back on my phone, so I wouldn’t constantly see it and be tempted to open one of the apps. I wrote some goals I had for the week that I wanted to accomplish and hobbies I wanted to try out again, as I now had more time to spend on those things, instead of on my phone. To be honest, I felt slightly apprehensive at the beginning of the week, as I feared that I would miss out on important things or wouldn’t be able to join in on the conversations my friends were having about the latest updates they had seen. Fast forward to the end of this week and the experiment, there were so many things that changed inside of me; I felt more relieved, was happier and more confident in myself, felt like my mind was clearer and just had more time for myself.

Here are some of the lessons I learned throughout this week without using social media:

 

  1. Social media is a common tool for numbing feelings.

Normally when I have a bad day or need a distraction, I use social media, but throughout this week, I learned to be alone with my thoughts and look within myself more. I think we’ve all trained ourselves to numb away the uncomfortable feelings that arise, instead of confronting ourselves with these feelings and digging deeper into where they come from and how to cope with them.

 

  1. My productivity and attention span increased without the constant distraction of social media

 

  1. I have permission to shut off

Before this week, I felt as though I didn’t have permission to just shut off and take time for myself, rather than updating people on the things that were going on in my life and looking at the content others were sharing with the world. I had a fear of missing out, which didn’t end up coming true, because I now realise that I genuinely didn’t miss very much.

 

  1. I felt better about myself – my body image increased, and I felt happier and freer than I usually did.

Living without social media for a week helped me feel good about myself again. I didn’t feel the pressure to conform to society’s “standards” each day or dwell on my inner thoughts telling me that I’m “not good enough”. We see so much “beauty” online that sometimes this makes us feel less worthy or more insecure about ourselves. Subconsciously we compare ourselves to unrealistic beauty ideals, which ultimately decreases our body image and self-confidence.

 

Completing my social media detox wasn’t just a success in itself but was also a great chance to improve my overall mental wellbeing and my productivity. It really didn’t turn out to be that difficult to eliminate the various platforms out of my life. I don’t want to end this article by writing off social media, because there are obviously great parts to it and I do enjoy using it, however I am working on trying to re-evaluate its position in my life. I want to continue to live in the moment more and enjoy the presence of people, rather than disconnecting from the real world and living my life completely online. Ultimately social media should be something that adds to our lives and not detract us from it.

So, I suggest you all try it out for a week, see how it goes and maybe you’ll learn some of the things I did, or other things!