This time last week, I committed to giving up social media for one full week. To answer your thoughts, I have not lost my mind – at least that’s what I like to tell myself. I had just come to the realisation that mindlessly scrolling through Instagram was negatively impacting me in more ways than just one. My obsession with Twitter, an app that more or less promotes talking to yourself, was making me worry about getting relentlessly trolled and Whatsapp, although it doesn’t quit fit in with the other two, was a deadly poison for me.
In a nutshell, I had gotten to a stage where my vast majority of my relationships survived on an app or in front of a screen. Not in the real world.
I decided enough was enough, time to cut the cord and do something about what most would not consider to be an unhealthy addiction. As I briefly mentioned in my blog about being addicted to the gym, many people tend to associate the word addiction with alcohol, drugs and sex – if at all. Very few people consider the likes of social media or technology as something that can be an addiction even though there is an overwhelming amount of research to show that endless Facebook scrolling activates the same area of the brain as taking lethal drugs.
I don’t believe that social media addiction – or any addiction for that matter – is one to be taken lightly. So this time last week, I decided to deactivate all the apps that reduced my level of productivity or generated feelings of negativity for me. This meant no Instagram, no Twitter, no Facebook, no YouTube, no WhatsApp and no Netflix (for good measure) for a full week. I didn’t ban the use of emails as I still needed to stay in touch with PR companies and brands, but anything that rendered me unproductive or didn’t help me flourish my mind or enrich my life, had to go.
No Instagram, no Twitter, no Facebook, no YouTube, no WhatsApp and no Netflix for one full week. Here’s how I survived…..
My first day of waking up to zero notifications felt more like a relief than anything else. I felt unburdened by the usual messages and notifications that bombard my phone and mind. Since I didn’t have any WhatsApp messages to reply to, I didn’t waste any time lying in bed when I woke up. I got up for the gym at 9am and the after brunch, spent the day with the fam bam before getting stuck into some blog work. After having what I felt was a productive day, I struggled to fill the time that I would normally spend scrolling through Twitter highlights so I decided to hit the gym again in the evening – I know, twice in one day! I think it’s safe to say that day one with no social media was a success in the fitness department 🙂
I woke up as fresh as a daisy and well before my alarm since I had an early night – must have been wrecked from the two workouts! I had plans to spend the day with a friend who rescheduled for the next day so after my morning gym session and post workout fuel, I spent the day in Starbucks getting some writing done – over 16,00 words to be precise! When I got home, I filled the void with a 3 hour Joe Rogan podcast, which is always a learning experience for me. I then did some media prep before having another early night.
I hit the gym first thing in the morning – no surprise there. Then after my brunch, I met up with my friend and spent the day with him. I wasn’t spending the day exchanging voice notes with people I called my ‘friends,’ as I normally would. Instead, I was having a real life connection with a real friend which quickly made me realise that my over dependence on social media has been robbing me of my primitive desire to be around people. I want to say the third day of my social media detox was the day I realised I was a gal who didn’t need social media in my life…
Until this happened…..
While the first few days of my social media diet occasionally saw me instinctively picking up my phone to check for notifications, the reality of my situation really hit me after three nights of living in deprivation. On the third night, I had a dream – or shall I say, a nightmare that I was having a few conversations on WhatsApp. It felt so painfully real until I woke up in the middle of the night realising I was suffering withdrawal symptoms. If that isn’t serious signs of addiction, then I don’t know what is!
In at an attempt to forget the WhatsApp nightmare, I decided to take another stab of teaching myself how to swim. After months of living in a delusion and telling myself I would learn how to swim, I had gotten absolutely nowhere. One week of no social media and on the fifth day I managed to do three quarters of a length in the pool for the first time – I actually stayed afloat, kicked and stroked all at the same time! If anything at all were to come out of a no social media challenge, it is this!
Saturday. Usually the most depressing day of the week for a most singletons. But I went to the gym as per usually and spent the afternoon making a crap load of phone calls. The bulk of my day was spent with my mother before calling down to one of the girls. I had zero anxiety about not being on social media at all since I was around real humans outside my immediate family. No concerns about what Twitter trolls might be tweeting, nothing at all! – but then again, why would I? I’m a pro swimmer now! 🙂
My last day of no social media saw me spending the afternoon in Starbucks, editing the blog posts I wrote during the week. I planned for the week ahead and mentally prepared myself for rejoining the social media world. I saw another human being, which is always a positive but I’m not going to go counting my chickens just yet -WhatsApp is my first love, after all! 🙂
Reflecting on the past week….
As someone who usually spends the vast majority of time cultivating relationships on WhatsApp, I was surprised by how well I handled not being on social media for a full week – besides the weird dream I had mid-way through my challenge. Getting rid of Netflix in particular meant that I had early nights, which led to early mornings and increased productivity. I filled the time I would usually spend on social media with writing and focusing on various upcoming projects.
As for my obsession with WhatsApp? I dealt with it by spending a lot of my time connecting with people face to face or making phone calls. Overall, my week was a massive success and rejoining social media today made me realise that I wasn’t really missing much anyways! 🙂
I would 100% recommend it!
In fact, I may even make it a point to do this detox every couple of weeks. My overuse of social media was not only affecting my level of productivity, but it was also a contributing factor to my appearance anxiety. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I got a lot more done in the week that I refrained from using social media than I did in the two weeks prior to my challenge. But this had me in a better place both physically and mentally.
Have you ever done a no social media challenge? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Now that I am finally back on Twitter, you can Tweet me @FilomenaKaguako 🙂
- 10000This time last week, I was absolutely dreading writing this article, let alone actually publishing it. But after having received one of the most heart-warming gifts by a very good friend of mine, of a framed certificate to congratulate me on completing 12 months of celibacy, I took it as a sign from…