My Social Media Detox
Hi there! Here is a little piece I wrote last week for IMAGE.ie, sharing my story about how I quit social media last year for five months and started my blog. I'll be doing a couple more pieces for IMAGE this month so keep an eye out!
We have become social media addicts. Whether it’s on the train, sitting in a restaurant or watching TV, we always have our phones within reach, ready to check for notifications. Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you deleted it all?
In June 2018, I came across a video on Facebook, about a girl who had quit social media for a month and raved about the positive impacts it had. Over the next few days, I couldn’t stop thinking about this video. I felt jealous of this girl, whom I’d never met, simply for doing something I felt was too difficult to do myself. I watched the video a few more times before finally deciding to ‘give it a go’. I honestly didn’t believe I would survive a week, never mind a whole month, but I really wanted to challenge myself and maybe even prove myself wrong.
I deleted all social media apps from my phone (Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook).
Day 1 – 5
I have never clicked into ‘Calculator’ more times in my life than I did in the first five days of my social media fast! When I deleted the apps from my phone, everything moved around slightly on the screen and where Instagram used to sit was now the Calculator, so I was clicking into this constantly.
I noticed how often I glanced down at my phone without even thinking. I had nothing to read first thing in the morning when I woke up and felt uncomfortable and bored on the DART to and from work. While everyone else around me was scrolling and staring at their phones, I hadn’t got anything to look at. I felt like I might be missing out.
Day 6 – 14
This was when I felt change. I had more energy because I was going to bed at night and just going to sleep, rather than staying up scrolling through Snapchat stories and Instagram, like I used to. I was less stressed arriving at work because when my alarm went off in the morning, I just got up - there was nothing to catch up on or scroll though before. I wasn’t scrolling through images of people being paid to stay in fancy hotels and use #SP free products while I was on my way to my normal office job – this is something that used to annoy me.
I was noticing extra periods of time throughout my day which just didn’t exist before, where I could now fit in more activities for me.
I started to care less about the crazy things we do for social media. When I went out for food, I just ate it without sending a photo to everyone I knew...imagine that!? I went to an outdoor concert with the girls and didn’t spend twenty minutes getting photos taken to post online. It was a liberating feeling and I enjoyed that my life was starting to feel more private. Turns out you can’t have a fear of missing out on something when you don’t even realise it’s happening in the first place!
I brought a book with me on the DART and managed to get through half of it within that first week - this book was one I had bought three months previous and could never find the time to read. I remember telling a colleague that I felt "like there are more hours in the day now!"
The most significant thing I noticed in myself was my anxiety – it had vanished. I had never really considered that my relationship with social media was causing me to feel anxious, but I was now almost certain it was a huge factor.
1 month & beyond
I reached the 1 month mark. I was really enjoying this social media detox and felt like a better version of myself already. I didn’t even consider going back online at this point as I was so proud for achieving what I once believed to be impossible and wanted to continue. I felt happier with my life and how everything was going.
I was reaping the rewards of escaping this addiction to scrolling. I stayed off social media for a further 4 months and felt a huge amount of growth during this time. I was constantly preaching my story to everyone and anyone who would listen.
I’m now CERTAIN that scrolling though photos of celebrities, influencers, fitness models etc., on social media every day directly contributed to my feelings of anxiety.
My life and perspective had changed so much during this detox. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and encourage everyone to try it.
With my new-found time, I even created a blog focusing on Mental Health and Wellness called OnDaysLikeThis.com. I launched my website during Mental Health week in October 2018. Here I speak quite openly about anxiety and self-care; the importance of minding ourselves and I share simple tips and tools for prioritising wellness and just being the best version of you.
Now, I’m not anti social media but I do think we can manage it better.
I’m back online again, but in a totally different way. I no longer have Social Media apps on my phone. I never returned to Snapchat and go on Instagram and Facebook on my iPad, but not very often. I wanted to share my story, but then (ironically) needed social media to get my message out. I created an Instagram page for my blog called ondayslikethisblog where I share uplifting and motivational posts and have chosen to follow only pages and people who uplift and inspire me.
With all the above said, I would encourage everyone to detox from social media for a few weeks. I promise you will notice so many nice changes in your life!
Hope you enjoyed this piece. You can read the full version here on IMAGE.ie in their Life section.
Bye for now!