What happened when I left Social Media

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been present on any social media platform. After seeing other’s go on this social media “cleanse”, I thought I might give it a go in hopes to feel more grounded and less like an emotional yo-yo.

I decided to start with 3 weeks. After all, they say it takes 21 days to break a habit so I figured that it’d apply to this too.

The first few days were quite difficult as I actually had to leave my phone at home, in the car, or somewhere I couldn’t unconsciously pick it up. Once I made it through those first days, though, it actually got quite easy. In that regard…

Here’s a few things I took away from my experience. (AFTER the fact)

For one, I wasn’t relieved, excited, or even curious to see what I had missed. It was such a weird feeling considering three weeks before I had to scroll every ten minutes or I would feel “left out”. Now, I feel left out from my life if I am spending hours scrolling.

Two, my thoughts, emotions, and feelings slowed.

Anxiety has been my biggest struggle throughout my entire life where my mind spins, my heart races, and I feel as though there is nothing I can do to stop it. I didn’t realize just how much the habit of needing to constantly pick up my phone every five minutes was contributing to my anxiety. I definitely still have my anxious moments, but ditching the phone has tremendously helped it be more manageable.

Three, Comparison.

Do I need to say much more? I think we all are guilty of comparing ourselves to everything and everyone around us… or is it just me? Like the anxiety, I didn’t fully realize just how much of my thoughts about myself were being misconstrued by people I had never met and live halfway across the world. Think about that… you are allowing people you have never seen and would have no idea exist otherwise dictate how you live your life and how you feel about yourself. Crazy. That definitely changed my perspective on the whole thing.

Four, I became much more present with those around me.

I know this is such a cliche thing to say, but it wouldn’t be cliche if it weren’t true. Before, I was so caught up in my head about what I would miss on social media that I was missing the moments that were right in front of me. I was showing others that this video about all the crazy things men do, was more important than them. On top of that, I also realized just how much those around me are addicted to their phone.

Five, I learned to cope with “awkward” moments.

If phones are good at one thing, it is breaking awkward pauses. Don’t know what to say next? Act like you got a text message. Waiting by yourself and don’t want to look like a loner? Pick up your phone. Don’t have any interest in the conversation? Scroll Instagram. I know this is all too common for everyone nowadays and honestly, it is quite disheartening. It is no wonder we are in a time where loneliness, confusion, and purposelessness is at it’s highest. What if instead of immediately going to our phones for comfort, we went to each other?

Don’t know what to say next? —> Learn some social skills and ask them a question.

Waiting by yourself? —> Ask the person around you about their day.

No interest in the topic of conversation? —> Force yourself to listen and make someone feel more important than that game you’re playing.

I could make a list a mile long about everything I took away from leaving social media, but then you’d get bored, I’d be rambling, and we would be here all day… or I would... alone. ;)

My overall takeaway is that Social Media is a very useful tool for keeping up with faraway loved ones and having access to tools and information to help us, but it can be quite a demon if not kept under control.

I challenge you to really take notice of how often you are scrolling through your social media platforms. I also challenge you to check in with yourself before picking up your phone next time. Do you really need to pick it up or are you just trying to fill empty space that could be used more beneficially?