Hey guys! I’ve been reading about people that quit social media and I thought I’d share my own experience! My journey to quitting social media has been a long one, but I’ve enjoyed the benefits immensely.
For a little bit of a backstory; I joined Twitter and Instagram when I was 15-16. I’ve never really been a Facebook user. That’s because someone from school made a fake profile of me and I got scarred for life (LOL!). Back then I had the most anxiety about commenting or replying to anyone’s posts. As I kept using social media, that apprehension reduced, but not by much.
Personally, when I say “social media” I mean those huge websites that everyone feels this need to be on. Where everyone posts all the amazing things that are going on in their perfect lives.
Also, please note that I don’t own any personal social media accounts. My friends and family only contact me on my messages. I’m notorious for being unsearchable. I do, however have social media for my blog. There is a huge difference between the two, and trust me when I say I barely go scrolling the picture-perfect people and moments posts.
Now, I don’t think social media is the actual devil or whatever. It’s great in the right amounts. However, it can get really overwhelming. And I know people talk about just using social media in small controlled amounts, but the thing is, social media is very addictive. In fact, the creators of these apps design them to be addictive. They pour millions of dollars into researching what people find addictive in order to keep people hooked.
I also just want to put it out there that I’m just sharing my perspective and in no way am I forcing anyone to quit social media. However, I do think that quitting or taking a break from social media is truly refreshing.
If you want to know more about my social media woes, check out my post: Why I Hate Social Media
Why I Quit Social Media
I literally would not see the time go by
I can’t be the only one who scrolls mindlessly on Instagram and then when I look at the time, I’m blown away by how long I’ve been doing a load of nothing. It actually scared me how fast time would fly when I was engaged in nothing productive. When I’d look back and try to remember what I was looking at, I wouldn’t even remember the content of the posts I was drooling over. This honestly just snapped me into reality. I couldn’t keep doing something that was giving me gaps in my memory.
I realized that I was getting addicted to the instant gratification
People use social media because it’s fun and gives us a hit of good old dopamine. When you see those likes and follows rolling in you get a rush of excitement. The brain really loves learning and getting new information and social media has the best way of stimulating our brains. That’s not all. Social media really encourages instant gratification. So you take a picture and post it within 5 minutes. Instantly, people are liking and commenting. You feel great! This is actually slowly corroding your ability to put in effort and wait for the good things in life.
It was really bad for my self esteem
Do I even have to explain this one? Instagram is packed with beautiful and perfect people who are traveling and enjoying life. I’d look at myself sitting at home in my pj’s writing and I honestly just felt sorry for myself. It made my self confidence drop so low because how could anyone have such a perfect life filled with vitality? Even though I know now that those amazing girls on Instagram are probably editing their pictures, it still gets me sometimes. I figured there was no point looking at people enjoying their lives. Besides, social media makes us focus on what’s going wrong in our lives; yet everyone is just showing the crème de la crème of theirs.
It was leeching off on my productivity
Social media was not just stealing entire chunks of my time. It was also sucking the productivity out of my life. I’m sure there are valid scientific answers to this phenomenon. Social media affects productivity. I noticed that whenever I binge-scrolled on Instagram, chances were that the entire day would go by without me focusing on any school work. I think it has to do with how everyone seems to have it together online. Now I know that everyone’s journey is different and we all have entirely different goals, even though they seem the same. (Hey, that rhymes!)
It was becoming a big part of my existence
It’s almost crazy how one tiny little icon on your phone can become the reason for your existence (okay maybe it’s not that bad, but still.) I think right now it’s completely normal for a lot of people to wake up, roll over, reach for your phone and get your daily dose of Instagram or Twitter. I’m talking entire hours of your day dedicated to the monsters. The crazy part is how hard it is to quit or at least regulate your time. It’s also a deep habit ingrained into your neural pathways. By this time, it pretty much needs rehab. I’m not joking when I say I was literally getting withdrawal symptoms from trying to quit.
My eye-sight was getting bad
One huge challenge for me (even up to now,) is how much phone use screws up my eyesight. I try not to use my phone immediately after I wake up. It makes my head hurt and my eyes will be sore and blurry the whole day. Peering into your phone and reading those tiny letters on the screen is a sure-fire way to worsen your eyesight. These days I do my best to get enough sun and relax my eyes.
My focus and attention were deteriorating
I noticed that my focus was diminishing. I’m not even lying. I would find it hard to focus if I was measuring out my ingredients for cooking, and crunching numbers was getting hard. Social media promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted focus, and quick, to the point sentences that make information absorption faster and easier. Just so you know—cooking requires a lot of patience. Patience that was thinned out from the readily available content on social media. Scrolling takes minimal effort yet gives you what you want. In fact, there are videos on the Instagram explore page that just load one after the other. You can tell that my brain formed neural pathways that encouraged quick and easy focus and minimal attention.
What I Do Instead
Quitting social media opened up a lot of time and energy for me. This meant I could work on more enriching and productive activities. It took a while to finally figure out how to fill up that void left by the absence of social media, but I quickly found new activities to help me adjust to the new time and space.
To learn more about creating habits, head over to this post titled How to Develop Good Habits. It’s all about the 5 steps I take to create a healthy routine.
I read more books
If you don’t know by now, I’m an avid reader. My fave genres to read are Young Adult Fantasy and Self Help. Of course, now that I’m getting older and more mature, I tend to defer more to the self-help books. I truly believe in the effect of reading these amazing collections of successful and wise people. My current read is JumpStart Your Growth by John C. Maxwell. Every self-help book has nuggets of wisdom that you can always benefit from.
I watch more informative content
Now that I don’t care about all the trending memes, I focus on wholesome content. I love watching documentaries, and my current fave is wildlife documentaries. I truly love wildlife and fall in love with whatever wild animal I’m watching. I’m obsessed with leopards at the moment. Did you know how cool leopardesses are? They are pretty much solitary cats and they hunt and bring down prey all on their own.
I work out more
Quitting social media opens up a lot of time space. My plans to fix my eyesight means that I want to reduce screen time as much as I can. One of the activities I can perform with minimal phone usage is exercise. Exercise has immense benefits for the human body. These range from promoting physical to mental health. Exercise gets your blood pumping and produces the happy hormones called endorphins. As far as I’m concerned, everyone should be doing some sort of physical activity by virtue of being a human being! It’s essential if you want to be healthy.
I create more
I don’t consider myself a Bob Ross, but I love to paint. I like to sit at my bright window and paint floral wreaths. I also love journaling, and I have been trying to art journal. Art journaling is great for so many things. I cut out stuff from old magazines, draw and paint in my art journal. I also write more. Social media has opened up space for me to explore fiction writing. I have a few pieces that I write, and they bring me true joy. I use writing as a coping mechanism, and it’s very effective.
I use Pinterest more
Pinterest is a great social media platform that helps you keep in touch with the online community. That’s not all. You can learn all sorts of new things from Pinterest. You can get cool ideas and laugh at the hilarious collection of Harry Potter memes available. Even though I’m pretty active on Pinterest, it doesn’t affect me as much as apps like Instagram and Twitter do. I’m happy to scroll through a few relevant pins that I picked out for myself, and I can search for anything else I need!
Also read about The Good Side of Social Media.
Thanks for reading this unintentionally long post about why I quit social media! I have never been one to post my personal life online much, and that’s probably because I’m a reserved, almost secretive introvert. I like it that way. Social media is filled with things that can set you back in your self improvement journey. I would recommend anyone to take a break from social media once in a while to connect to the real world. It can really help you to redirect your energies to better and more productive things.
Until next time,