This is a blog post based on an experiment I did. It takes place over the course of four weeks, January 13th at 5:47pm until February 11th.
I decided to write this blog because I kept feeling like I was getting sucked into social media, particularly Instagram. I kept feeling like I needed to get it off of my phone so I thought it would be a fun idea to do an experiment with all my social media apps.
I could’ve done this experiment for one week or even two but I really wanted to get the full experience so I decided four weeks was a good time frame. This post will jump between writing in past and present tense (the present will be written at the time I am writing it so I will include dates and times) so I am sorry if that gets confusing.
To start this experiment I had to warn people that I wouldn’t be on apps that we communicate on frequently and that they could reach me through text. I was a bit nervous but more excited to see what would happen.
Here’s how the experiment went:
Today is January 13th, 2021. It is just after 6pm and I deleted my social media apps from my phone about twenty minutes ago. I am feeling happy. I am feeling free. I am feeling excited for my journey ahead. I am wondering what this journey will feel like. Will it feel long or short? Will I try to open Instagram even though it isn’t there anymore? Will this bring me peace or will it give me fomo (fear of missing out for people who do not know what that means)? I know this is what I am supposed to do and it feels right. Now it is 9:28 and it is the first time I have wanted to check social media.
January 14th, 8:19am. This morning I didn’t even try to look for my social media apps. I got out of bed faster. I feel lighter. I had time to meditate and get inside my head instead of instantly being inundated with outside thoughts and peoples’ opinions about things. Now it is the evening. Today has been easy and I felt more productive. I think I only thought about checking social media once. I look forward to the rest of the journey.
January 15th. Yesterday I actually meditated twice. This morning I got up and moved my body. I thought about checking social media in the afternoon once and once in the evening. As I was driving home from work I noticed how light I felt. I’m thinking social media really does have a draining effect.
January 16th. I told my friend today how great not having social media apps on my phone has been.
January 17th. I found out I can post my blogs to Facebook from a computer but not my Instagram story. I had to download the app to post and then I deleted it. Before deleting the app I checked my messages because I had four and replied. I wasn’t tempted to stay on the app. Posting to Facebook I had a lot of notifications but didn’t check them. I think I will check Facebook tonight or tomorrow afternoon from my computer to respond to anyone on my blog post. I think engaging with people on my posts is still important. I still have no interest in re downloading the apps to my phone permanently.
January 18th. This morning I went on Facebook on my computer to engage with the feedback I got on my blog. This took me roughly two minutes. I felt good getting right off after and was not interested in getting sucked into a scroll spiral. I posted my podcast to Facebook today too. I had something come up that caused anxiety in me and the first thing I wanted to do was scroll on Instagram. Funny how I want to avoid my thoughts when I’m anxious and scrolling makes me develop anxiety so that is a lose lose. Today I sit with my thoughts and I am forced to work through them.
Jan 20. Today it’s been one week of no social media apps. Today was Inauguration Day so I felt like I was missing out some but I also saw news articles of what was happening. I think throughout the week I thought about checking social media less than ten times which is very wild to me. One week down, three to go. Keep bringing this sense of peace, experiment!!
Jan 22. Yesterday I was reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle, which I highly recommend, and in there she had a part where she was talking about her son being addicted to his phone and she wrote about the people who created phones. This is what she wrote:
This is exactly the way I feel. I don’t want to look at outside voices for who I am supposed to be. Today I realized I don’t miss social media at all.
January 24th. Had to log onto socials to post my blog today and had no desire to check notifications. I have a lot of them though. I got the first report from my phone after a full week with no social apps during it and wow. The numbers don’t lie.
January 29th. Today I am feeling a bit like wow there’s going to be a lot of things I’ve missed out on during this experiment. A few days ago I found out Halsey was pregnant because of a news article and I wanted to go look at the pictures she posted on Instagram. I have been a bit more anxious the past few days so naturally I’ve been wanting to take a deep dive into an incessant scrolling abyss. I want to numb out. But here I am left with myself to think.
2/3/21 Today it has been three weeks without social media. I have checked Facebook a few times to communicate with people who have said something on my blog posts. There are a handful of people who I miss staying up to date on their lives on Instagram. Overall I am not missing the constant draw of getting sucked into an app and wasting precious time.
2/10/21 4:45pm. Today is the day. In a little over an hour it will have been a full four weeks since I deleted my social media. I am very happy I did this experiment and I feel like I have some knowledge to share about my experience.
I have learned that I turn to social media deeply when I am anxious about myself; maybe I am trying to see if I fit in or to see what other people are doing, I don’t know, and this leads to me feeling worse. Social media, for me, is not a place to help my mental health.
I also turn to social media when I get bored and don’t want to do a task I need to do. I have wasted a lot of time on social media in my life. Since deleting the apps I have crushed my to do list every day and taken time to connect with myself.
I have had more time to meditate, read, stretch, go on walks, and do workouts. I feel much more relaxed and at ease.
I have also noticed that there are some accounts that I do miss seeing every day and have wondered many times throughout this experiment how they are doing. There are also some accounts I have realized that are not great for my mental health and I will be unfollowing them when I re download the apps.
I would say the one negative thing from this is experiment is related to Snapchat. Snapchat allows you to send pictures and videos that are not taking up space on your phone. Over the course of the last four weeks I have been sending and receiving loads of pictures and videos in the form of text messages. My phone told me I was about to run out of storage because I have too many gigabytes used in my texts.
Overall, I really enjoyed this experience and break from social media. I think everyone should challenge themselves to delete their apps for awhile (four weeks if you are up for the challenge) to see how it affects your life. What was better? Was anything hard? Was anything worse?
I feel confident in myself to download my social media apps again and to know if I am starting to feel sucked in I will delete them. I know if I feel anxious turning to pen and paper is much better for my mental health than Instagram (comparison leads to bad thoughts my friends). Diving deeper inside with a meditation forces me to sit with myself in a way that is not common in a busy lifestyle.
I now know how to make my time count. I am mindful with where I spend my minutes.
I do not want to get sucked back into the time sucking black hole of social media like I did before. This time I will hold myself accountable.
Maybe you can relate to feeling like you have lost time to apps or like it has affected you in a negative way.
I think it’s amazing how the same apps can provide information and happiness as well as unwelcome thoughts and false information.
Let’s all be more mindful with our minutes.
More mindful with our lives.
More mindful of our actions.
Until next time,