My Week Without Social Media

It is a well known fact that social media can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. Research has previously shown that increased social media use is associated with decreased self-esteem and loneliness and that increased time on social media is associated with the increased likelihood of developing depression. Young adults who frequently use social media have been found to have greater sleep disturbances.

Therefore, when I decided to delete all the social media apps off my phone for a week, I was hopeful that it would be beneficial for my mental health. I was anticipating a decrease in symptoms of poor mental health including anxious thoughts, fatigue and irritability, however, this was not the case.

During my week off social media, I was able to recognise exactly when I used social media and I realised that for me, social media was a way of occupying my mind between tasks. I would check Instagram whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, I would check Twitter whilst waiting for my bread to be toasted and I would check TikTok whilst drinking my cup of coffee. I was not purposefully using social media, I was mindlessly scrolling to occupy my mind whilst waiting to complete the next task. Therefore, even though I had deleted all the social media apps, I would still find myself picking up my phone to scroll through social media as it had become a habit. Consequently, all I had to do was find another way to occupy my mind between tasks in order to fill the gap that social media once had and after that, I barely noticed that I was no longer using social media.

During my week off social media, I was also able to recognise exactly why I used social media and I realised that for me, social media was a way of connecting with family, friends and acquaintances that I do not necessarily talk to on a daily basis. Although social media is often criticised for it, it is a way to celebrate with others achievements in your life and I missed being up-to-date with other’s achievements and being able to congratulate them on their hard work. Feeling lonely and depressed, two supposed benefits of decreasing time spent on social media, were two feelings that were increased during my week off social media, although this may have just been because due to the current circumstances, I could not replace time spent off social media with time spent with friends in real life.

As a result of my week off social media, I want to change the way I use social media. I want to stop using social media as a way of occupying my mind between tasks as I have found that reading an article or chapter of a book is a much more productive use of this time, especially as it has previously been found that the average person spends at least an hour and forty minutes per day on their favourite social media sites and apps. Instead I want to set aside time during my day to purposefully use social media to stay updated on my family, friends and acquaintances.

In conclusion, I believe that the benefits you will experience from decreasing your social media use depend on how and why you use social media. As someone who uses social media to connect with family, friends and acquaintances and only follows and connects with others who are of similar mind-set to myself, my experience of social media is mostly positive and therefore my experience of decreasing my social media use was mostly negative, however, this may not be the case for someone who uses social media differently. I am someone who is a strong believer of the ‘unfollow’ and ‘block’ button in order to maintain the positive experience of social media and believe that you should only follow and connect with others of a similar mind-set to yourself and this is advice that I would give to anyone who is struggling to use social media in a positive way.

Would you ever delete social media for a week?

15 thoughts on “My Week Without Social Media

  1. This is a really interesting perspective and I honestly commend you for being able to delete all of it for a week when we rely so much on it. I really like how you want to be more intentional with it rather than just deleting it altogether because there are definitely some positives!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah I love this! I’ve definitely been more aware of the amount of time I use on my phone recently. I’ve set time limits on certain apps but I tend to just ignore it most days. I saw a post recently on instagram *ironically* which said that if you have enough time for a morning coffee, you have enough time to read. I’ve been trying to switch out that time where I’d normally wake up and check social media with reading instead – And I must say I have really enjoyed it! I think in regular times I could delete social media for a week but during covid times it has been the best way for me to stay connected with my friends xx

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    1. That’s a really good idea – to set time limits for apps! I remember this website used to be popular when I was in secondary school where you could block certain websites on your computer so you could do your homework distraction-free.
      I still used whatsapp to keep in touch with my friends – they just had to send me their Instagram posts instead of me ‘liking’ it on Instagram! xx

      Like

  3. OMG I LOVE THIS!! I agree with you in that I mainly use Social media to occupy my time between tasks but I love that it gives you a chance to connect with people and keep up to date with them and would maybe inspire you to message/chat to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while because of a picture or story of theirs you have seen šŸ™‚ Am definitely going to use your advice and be more intentional in my use of social media to connect with friends rather than a way to occupy 5 minutes- will let you know how I go xx

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  4. This was really interresting! I loved the conclusion. When I do a detox I’m usually happier because I have more time to spend on my hobbies. Recently I’ve only used social media to stay in contact with my friends, I have no idea what created this shift but I feel less drained when I get off my phone if that makes sense. Great Post! šŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you! Perhaps it is because you are still spending the same amount of time on social media but because you now have to spend more of that time catching up with friends because you cannot in real life, you are spending less time seeing negative posts on social media? Just a thought!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is really interesting, Hannah! You tend to hear more about people that are 100% on the bandwagon of “giving up social media changed my life!” but any times I’ve given it up I’ve found a similar thing to you – I just have a bit of free time between tasks or on the train xx

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    1. Maybe when we are not in the middle of a pandemic, it may be different as we will be able to see each other in person, but at the moment, there is no other way to keep in contact with one another. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this so much! Really appreciate the conclusion, sometimes it’s harder kind of “stop” using social media when for some it’s the only way to communicate with people. I always encounter that problem when I want to turn my phone off or delete certain apps for a while because it cuts off communication with people I want to speak to so it’s not really helpful for me, but then again I think I’m good at managing my time on social media in the sense that I…don’t use it much at all. A quick scroll every now and then but I definitely don’t spend hours on it at a time, which I’m grateful for .xx

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  7. Omg this is so so interesting, I am the exactly the same where I constantly scroll for no reason whatsoever (especially Tik Tok). If I am eating on my own, then my phone usually ends up at the dinner table with me when there is just no need for it. I find myself wasting SO much time on my phone when really I could spend my time taking up new hobbies or doing something so much more worthwhile with my time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this, it has been so interesting to read! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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