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7 things that happened when I logged off social media for a week

Hi there!


A couple weeks ago, I was on my phone, scrolling through social media when I noticed that I had been on my phone for 2+ hours. Where had the time gone? What could I have done with that time instead? Feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by the content I was consuming, I decided to delete Instagram off my phone for the rest of the day. That day turned into two days, mostly because I forgot about the app entirely. When I remembered Instagram after subconsciously clicking around for it and finding it wasn’t where it normally was on my phone, it had been nearly three days without it, so I decided I’d download it the next day. Then, when the book Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier arrived at my door, I dove into it and soon after, encouraged myself to try going an entire week without Instagram, or any other social media.


Right before I began writing this post, Nathaniel Drew uploaded a new video where he decided to log off social media for a month. Instantly, I felt defeated. What would my experience have to offer that his didn’t? Then I remembered that everyone’s relationship with social media is widely different. Whatever type of Instagram or social media account you have, and regardless of your relationship to it, I think we are all aware of the downsides and potential damages of social media. I mean, heck--just moments ago I randomly picked up my phone to scroll for no reason and wasted about 30 minutes of time I could’ve spent writing this post.


I’m not here to tell you to delete all of your social media accounts. Evidently, even after reading TAfDYSMARN (I had to shorten it, haha) I still kept mine. Although, I only re-downloaded Pinterest and Instagram onto my phone and will check my Facebook online.

However, I will say that a few things happened when I went without social media for a week. A lot of things, really, most of which I didn’t notice until I had redownloaded Instagram onto my phone. So maybe this post will inspire you to log off for a day, for a week, and experience, well… life a little more.


Here are the 7 things that happened when I got off social media for a week


1. Life got quieter, and simpler


The first thing I always notice after I delete social media off my phone is how quiet life suddenly becomes. My surroundings feel more spacious, and so does my mind. I can think more easily, and the amount of clutter overall seems reduced. I even felt more in-tune with myself. It was a very peaceful time.


2. I was forced to observe my surroundings


One day, I went grocery shopping with my dad and didn’t bring my phone at all. There were a few times when he went to grab something and asked me to stay with the cart. While I waited, I simply stared and observed. A time I would’ve normally been scrolling, or checking something, all I had was myself and the space around me. I found that people watching and even reading the backs of boxes is a much more entertaining way to pass the time than scrolling, even if it is quiet and not as simple.


3. I began making decisions faster and did things for myself


There were many moments when I just got up and did something without asking anyone whether or not I should. I’m not sure how this correlated with being off social media, but I noticed a huge difference in my confidence and desire to do things. I’d get up and go run, or pick up a new shirt at the store, or cook myself a fun meal, all without posting about it, or searching for validation.


4. Loneliness sank in


This is something I didn’t notice until I re-downloaded social media. The week without it, I had felt a little… off. As I mentioned above--life got quieter. But even more so, I felt like I had few friends. I’m not sure why, because I had the same amount of close relationships with and without social media, but then it hit me: with social media, there’s this allusion that you have more friends than you really do. Your mind is constantly flooded with messages, likes, comments, and you’re always engaged with others, even from opposite ends of the world. When I realized social media had made me feel lonely, almost because it ripped me out of my online social bubble, I worked to affirm that I am loved by the people in my life, which helped a ton.


5. I began reading more


Time I once spent scrolling is now spent reading. I won’t lie, however; many times, I have picked up my phone the moment I sat down to read and end up scrolling for longer than originally desired. However, it’s still surprising that I’ve even made time for reading. I read about 5 books in a single week, which is pretty wild for me, all because I had more time and found that I prefer reading over scrolling, anyway.


6. All of the stress surrounding social media vanished


I was once incredibly stressed about my Instagram theme, my followers, likes, etc.. I hate to admit it, but it seemingly consumed me. Because I’m a young author and blogger, my online presence felt so important. And to some extent, it is. But, when I spent that time away for it all, I realized that I’d rather build my real, authentic self over a version of myself online for followers. I certainly did a lot of self-exploration concerning my stress surrounding social media. I found that, with a break, I had naturally created a healthier relationship with social media, because I think that when we’re on it every day, all of the time, we’re never properly stepping away from it all and being true to ourselves.


7. I realized how little I actually enjoy social media


One of my reasons for being stressed about social media/being on it all the time was that social media was fun, and I enjoyed it. However, when I spent a week without it, I began to lean toward other hobbies, like exercise, reading, writing creatively, yoga, meditation, etc.. I started doing more things that I enjoyed, realizing that I didn’t ever truly enjoy social media. At least, not to the extent that I thought I did.


There’s nothing wrong with logging on for an hour to catch up with family and friends and share a pretty photo you like. However, I’ve come to learn that social media is pretty much an allusion controlled by AI and algorithms put in place so that you’ll spend more money. (I highly suggest you pick up the book to learn all about what goes behind the scenes of social media apps.)


And once again, I’m not telling you to rid your apps, because I still have mine. Going on that week break really opened my eyes to everything around me besides social media, and the impact it can have on our lives if we’re not careful. Not only do I now open the apps less frequently, but I often delete it randomly just because I’m in need of a break.


That’s the beauty of all of this, I think: Finally realizing we can take breaks from social media.


Probably writing,

Brittney

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