Exactly one month after Easter Sunday, I did something I never would have imagined possible:
I stayed off social media for 30 days.
For 30 days, I didn’t log into Instagram or Twitter. I accidentally logged onto Facebook once absentmindedly (muscle memory is a crazy thing), and a second time to deactivate my tag controls so that photos, videos, and statuses tagged linking to my account could show up on my profile without my approval. This allowed the Facebook world to continue without me having to be present. I also didn’t cave by looking through my notifications either time.
It has been exactly two months today since the detox, and I’m feeling better than ever. Here are some of the rewards I’ve received from cleaning myself of social media:
Elimination of obsessive thoughts. I never realized how social media negatively effected my emotional well-being until I ceased my daily logins. No longer was I checking certain people’s profiles to see what they were up to and how I stacked up. This removed my need for unnecessary competition. The act of competing against the world via social media is stressful and one-sided, so why put yourself through it?
Purging of mental clutter. You simply don’t realize OPT (other people’s thoughts) can clutter your mind until you’ve eliminate them from your daily mental consumption. I’m no longer swimming in a sea of other people’s political opinions and pictures of their food. My mind is clearer than it’s ever been, and my attention to my work has improved.
Gaining more time. We all know social media is a big time waster and yet we allow it to persist. Since my social media detox, I can now balance my three jobs (writing, fitness training, and nannying) successfully without feeling drained or overwhelmed. I’m definitely tired after a 10+ hour workday, but at least the time that would have gone to checking my newsfeed now goes to rest, reading, and contemplation. It’s pretty great!
I began making positive changes in my life. From decluttering my personal space in my apartment (mostly my bedroom, but also my portions of cabinet and closet space in the bathroom, living room, and kitchen), to finally seeking therapy (I use Talkspace, which has been an amazing experience), my social media detox motivated me to make positive changes in as many ways as I could. The biggest reward has been becoming financially independent and responsible. Plus, I gained a new and unexpected passion out of it: personal finance!
I still spend a lot of time on my phone. And I’m working on this one. At least now I spend my time enriching my life by reading articles, blogs, and ebooks that pertain to my interests. I still log into at least Facebook once a day, but only to check my notifications (particularly, to scope out if there are any interesting events happening in my community) and never for any longer than two minutes. I’ll hang out on Facebook for about ten minutes max maybe once every two weeks, but even now I get bored quickly.
I truly think it’s possible for anyone to vacate their social media accounts for at least 30 days. If I could do it, anyone can. If you feel like this is something you wish you could do but could never actually achieve, give at least one week a shot. It will be worth it for the mental clarity you’ll experience.