I’ve decided to quit social media for the whole of August 2020.
Yes. I did it willingly.
No, I’m not sure if it’s a good idea or not.
For the whole thirty one days of August I will not use or even look at Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I’m only keeping Goodreads (to track my reading), my book blog and certain messaging apps so I can contact people.
I found myself becoming addicted to my feeds and it became a way for me to numb my boredom, pain and to manage my anxiety when I worked myself up – that, needless to say, is not healthy.
It got to the point where I found myself picking up my phone when I was talking to people and just scrolling through Instagram and I didn’t even realise I was doing it. So I decided to give it up.
On here I’m going to chronicle my struggles almost like a diary or a journal so you can understand what it feels like, even maybe imagine yourself doing it.
Day 1 – August 1st
At approximately 9am this morning I deleted twitter, facebook and Instagram from my phone.
It felt weird.
Within one hour I was already picking up my phone to open up Instagram and check my feed and like a few posts, and then I remembered I can’t do that anymore.
However, as the day progressed the “need” to check my social media accounts subsided and I even managed to write two blog posts for my book blog and conceive of the idea for this blog (hello!)
I already feel more productive without it.
But at the same time it feels too early to really be making statements like that.
Day 2 – August 2nd
I forgot I still had Snapchat on my phone so I had to delete that, remember when snapchat was a thing? And we were all obsessed with streaks, and that we could check who was snapping who the most with the best friends feature?
Boy, early Snapchat was the best.
I haven’t used it in about year though so I forgot I had it, but I’ve made sure it’s off my phone now. I’m not even sure I’ll redownload it be honest with you, it seems like such a pointless app now.
Poor snapchat, you can’t blame them, it’s hard to compete against Facebook owned Instagram.
I felt a bit better without any social media apps today, except for early in the morning, I found that when I was eating breakfast I wanted to scroll through Twitter’s trending page or Instagram’s explore page – which begs the question, when did scrolling through my phone at breakfast become normal?
I haven’t always done that, and I can’t remember when I started, but I know I do it and the compulsion I felt this morning to do it was so strong that I know it must be part of my normal routine.
That’s kind of scary isn’t it?
Day 3 – August 3rd
Today I realised I was an idiot and forgot to log out of my social media accounts on my laptop. So I had to do that today.
I haven’t blocked facebook, twitter or instagram as sites on my laptop yet as I want to see if I can resist the temptation to go on my accounts or try to log in.
So far, so good but it’s only been one bloody day and I’m congratulating myself on something that really shouldn’t be that difficult.
Day 4 – August 4th
One thing I have noticed also is how reliant I am on social media during the night.
Due to my mental health problems I suffer from sleeping issues: I struggle to go to sleep, to stay asleep, I have nightmares and I often get quite anxious at night.
And now I realise how much I relied on endless scrolling to bore me into sleep.
That’s right, I use Instagram’s explore page to send me to sleep.
Now I’m glad I don’t have social media to send me to sleep at night, it means I’ve replaced it with reading and I’m more active in the day to try and tire myself out more.
However, it also means I’m not sleeping as well as I’ve suddenly changed my night routine, which sucks.
So whilst I think this has been good for me so far, it’s also been hard in ways I haven’t anticipated and that annoys me.
Day 5 – August 5th
Today I had my first panic attack since I started this cleanse.
It wasn’t pretty.
As I was building up to the panic attack I reached for my phone to distract myself with social media feeds and pictures, and then I remembered I couldn’t do that. And it made me panic more.
Obviously, I survived the panic attack.
But I found not having that method of calming myself down or distracting myself when I panicked really difficult, and afterwards when I was coming down I wanted pointless entertainment to help clear my mind – like the stuff you find on social media.
I’m not sure how I feel about today, I don’t like the fact social media is one of my methods I use to manage my mental health, but at the same time can I afford to picky?
I don’t know what to think about, it’s weird.
Day 6 – August 6th
I’ve encountered a problem.
So when I said I was going on this cleanse I didn’t really set any rules or boundaries other than I wasn’t going on social media apart from Goodreads, my blogs and messaging apps.
But I didn’t consider what I needed for my blogs.
I have blog post ideas for this blog and my book blog, but for certain ideas I need to research and reference some stuff going on on social media.
So now I’ve encountered this problem: am I allowed on social media if it’s just to research?
I don’t know.
I think I might be a bit of an arse and looking for a way to cheat, but another part of me really wants to start writing and posting these concepts and I can’t do that without referencing social media posts!
Well, I could, but the posts wouldn’t be as good without it.
Day 7 – August 7th
I still haven’t solved my problem from yesterday.
As well as that today was really boring so I found myself really attracted to the idea of social media. So instead I turned to Youtube.
And I spent too much time watching Yotube videos
And now I’m wondering if Youtube is just going to fill the void social media left.
In some ways I don’t think it does, because there is some wonderful, meaningful and educational content on Youtube, but there’s also a lot of trash.
So does it make it better if I only watch the ‘meaningful’ content on Youtube? Or can I watch the ‘trashy’ stuff too? And if I watch the ‘trashy’ stuff is it the same as endlessly scrolling?
I don’t know – that’s becoming a common theme on this bog.
In the week of 20-27th of July I spent an average of 5 hours and 13 minutes on my phone which is nothing short of disgusting.
Since the start of this cleanse I have generally reduced my hours. On August 1st I spent a total of 2 hours and 46 minutes on my phone, and on August 2nd 5 hours and 34 minutes.
See more figures below:
So since I’ve quit social media it appears my average daily screen-time has dropped quite dramatically, with the exception of August 2nd, which I can explain as I read a whole ebook copy on my phone that day.
But what I most pleased about it I’m picking up my phone way less, I’m only picking it up now when I have reason to and that’s really encouraging to see.
So far I’m happy with how I’m managing this.
My average screentime and pickups have gone down, and this cleanse is forcing me to reconsider how much I rely on social media for help in my day to day life.
Whilst I don’t feel happy or at peace with having no social media yet, I’m hoping I will feel better about it in the coming weeks as I grow used to life without it.