I have quit social media two times in my life: 1) when no one liked my status about playing beer pong in my pajamas, and I decided to do it on a dare 2) when I was going through a life coaching program, and I wanted to focus my energy toward my current efforts.
The first time I quit social media, I was 20 years old and in a happy place. Ironically, a few months later, I had a massive (first) panic attack that landed me in the emergency room. This continued for a few months, and being detached social media was definitely the best thing for me.
I had previously spent a month alone in Italy, and I used social media as a constant crutch. I posted pictures of everything I did, chatted with people at night and refused to immerse myself in the “aloneness” of my adventure.
I don’t blame myself. I was 20, after all, and who is that mindful at that age?
The second time — much more mindful, and much more anxious — I deleted it all. This move was necessary in order to focus on the changes I was trying to make.
Whenever we have a moment alone, what’s the first thing we do? Scroll Instagram, check Facebook and read Tweets.
Why is it so hard for us to be alone, even for a few minutes? It’s awkward to be alone with your thoughts until you can develop a relationship with yourself. The first part is the hardest.
Before I list the benefits of quitting social media, I will let you know I currently “exist” on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, but so does Lena Dunham (Instagram). The star recently revealed she deleted Twitter off of her phone because of the barrage of body-shaming remarks.
Social media can be a great place to market yourself, share stories and receive positive affirmation. But if you’re on social media and feeling negative emotions or being told negative things, it’s time to get off. It’s also time to unplug if you’re in a transitional period of your life.
You have to get off your screen in order to fully commit to your life. It needs you.
If you’ve fallen into the category of “maybe I should get off social media,” take a 30-day detox from your screen. From my experience, you will find:
- More mental space (and less cat pictures, memes, etc.)
- More time (all of those five-minute Instagram scrolls truly do add up)
- Focus inward rather than outward
- Ability to hear your inner thoughts
- Less negativity, and more time to improve yourself
After 30 days, if you do not miss the scrolls and the counting of likes, I’d recommend staying off. The first time I quit social media, I was off for 13 months. I probably grew up the most during that time.
If you feel social media is a positive place for you to catch up with friends and share experiences (or latte Insta photos), here five ways to keep it that way:
- Do not look at social media when you wake up. You’ve just awoken, and it’s time to be internal with yourself before you’re external.
- Do not look at social media when you are sad or feeling left out. FOMO is real.
- Do not stalk ex-lovers, ex-best friends, etc.
- Ask yourself “Why?” before you make a post. Are you sharing to feel more secure with yourself? Or are you being genuine? (Looking at you, selfies.)
- Do not comment negatively on anyone’s page, post, article, etc. Please, use your manners. You were raised better.
I hope you either utilize social media mindfully or take a break to be more in tune with yourself.