OK specifics: I deleted Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok way over two months ago...like, didn't use them at all...for a solid five or six weeks. And I have IG and Snap back now, just recently on and off tho.
Let's start with the reason, then I'll get to the results.
If you know me personally, you know I am easily overwhelmed. I also struggle with a lot of general anxiety (transparency checkkkkk!😘). But no, seriously, the amount of time I was spending on social media was too much, and the negativity I was allowing into my space all day, every day began to feel suffocating. And it was causing a lot of extra anxious energy for me...and nobody needs that, ESPECIALLY right now. My screen time was at an all-time high and for that all those hours, I was not receiving any benefit in return. Like five forms of social media was not doing anything good for me. The dynamic relationship between me and this thing (which everything in your life has) was way off, it was an all harm, no help type of thing. With everything going on in my life and outside of my life, I had no room for it.
Prior to this, I've used all the iPhone tricks like Screen Time, App Limits, and reminders to limit social media use, but part of me is like...why do I have to train and restrict myself like a child? I was supposed to be in control, but I felt like I had lost it, and I needed to get it back.
I genuinely don't even remember, but I think one day I just deleted every social media app on my phone. Like that's simply all it was.
At first, I barely noticed a change in my daily life, which honestly said SO much. With online school, I'm on my computer all day. My other hobbies, they're all currently through my computer. In my free time? I like watching YouTube and Netflix...more technology. When I workout I have music or a podcast playing through my AirPods, it's never-ending.
I was able to delete five social media apps that I would check several times daily, and barely even notice they were gone, because I was just consuming so much general content day-to-day.
If I told people I was off the apps (😗✌🏼), their first question was about the fear of missing out...FOMO. I totally get where they're coming from, but God blessed me with a very unique and equally rewarding trait—I literally do not get FOMO. You can ask Tyler, my sisters, my roommates, I just don't get it. Subtle flex? Maybe. Antisocial? Probably more like it. Still one of my proudest characteristics tho!
The main thing that I noticed through the process was I was able to separate myself, from my phone, and I didn't even realize I needed to. I wasn't aware of how attached I was, until I went the other way. I stopped carrying my phone with me everywhere I went.
And now I lose it All. The. Time.
I get home and go about my day, and later on I look around for my phone and realize its still in my purse from when I got home an hour ago.
To a lot of people my age, it may seem like you may literally have nothing to do without social media. But I promise, you'll survive. I don't just sit around staring at blank walls, instead I talk too much and bother my roommates, I'm actually productive, and at the end of the day I can sit down and watch YouTube or a TV show without feeling like I'm gonna die from hour 16 of blue light exposure.
OK so now onto the return. One weekend, I randomly wanted Snapchat back. I downloaded it, logged on, looked at about ten Snap stories and then deleted the app.
It's gonna sound dramatic, but getting that app back before I was ready and done with my break was so eye opening. I gained a completely new perspective on social media and the constant sharing, and opening those Snapchat stories felt toxic. It felt like I was knowingly allowing bad energy into my life, from my screen right into my face. No offense to anyone, but after that literal five-minute realization...I was like, why do I need to see what these people are doing? I'm not even friends with 3/4 of them.
I'll tell my loved ones I love them, I'll check in with my best friends from home, and I'll spend real quality time with my boyfriend, teammates and roommates.
Finally, I ended up getting Instagram back for Tyler's birthday, wanting to share some pictures of our weekend and celebration. I've been on and off it since then.
Through all of this, my one big concern has been my blog. I took a three, maybe four week break from writing and posting. I continued to brainstorm and plan, knowing I would obviously come back.
Success on my blog goes hand-in-hand with social media because I promote every post on Instagram, where my followers drive traffic to my website and the weekly posts. I miss writing on here and sharing it! So after having a pretty significant break from both the blog and social, I've decided I'll use Instagram mostly for business, if I can. I'll promote my weekly blog, then GTFO if I don't feel like scrolling.
I have no idea why I struggle so much with developing a healthy relationship with social media apps, but most of me is like, why should I invest time and energy into finding out?
I've wanted to do a post on this for a while, but what I don't want, is for it to seem like I'm shaming others for using social media. I'm the weird one out here, most people can use social media for fun, just like every other person in like, the entire world. I know Instagram is enjoyable, and I know TikTok is literally hilarious, and a comfort/hobby for so many people. I hope one day I can go fully back with a better mindset, I just know personally, for me, that's not right now.
Throughout this ~experience~ I thought back to all of the things I have always believed about toxicity in my life; what's the difference between a toxic person and a toxic attachment to social media? I've always relied on myself to be a protector of my energy. I am in control of myself, and whether it was toxic people or habits, it has always been my job to be mindful of what I let into my headspace. If something doesn't do anything good for you, why do you give energy to it? This was the big picture of my whole rogue, off-the-grid thing.
I really hope that I can learn from this little experiment, and be a more mindful content consumer.
Put yourself first, take time away from your screens, listen to your body and mind. At the end of the day, you're really the only one looking out for YOU.