What Happened When I Stopped Using Social Media for a Month

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About a month ago, Colton came to me and said that he was deleting his social media apps from his phone.  That month, the President of our church had given the youth a challenge to give social media a break for one week.  I had been spending SO. MUCH. TIME. on my phone at that time, especially since Luke’s birth and maternity leave.  I thought it would be a good idea, and I had only intended on one week without it.  Because Facebook and Instagram are necessary parts of life, right?

The first day was hard.  I know…I’m such a millennial.  I found myself getting onto my phone and clicking to where my apps used to be ALL THE TIME, especially while in bed. Literally…my thumbs would automatically go to where my apps once were! There were things that happened in my life that week that I was dying to share with other people.  Let’s be honest, mostly to show off.  I had a two month old baby!  There is always something cute to share!

When I logged onto Facebook one week later, I was surprised at how I felt.  I instantly felt jealous of every single person that I was “friends” with.  Friends, family, acquaintances.  Didn’t matter.  Suddenly, I felt angry at the entire world.  I felt uglier, fatter, poorer, less fit, less perfect.  Less than everyone and everything.  I spent the good part of my 30 minute session comparing myself to every single thing that I saw.  The rest of the day was spent in a terrible mood, and I didn’t even realize why at first.  I was more sensitive to others’ comments, less patient with my family, and more temperamental than usual.

I couldn’t believe that my mindset had changed so much in a week.  The worst part about it is this: I had probably been feeling that way for YEARS and had no idea. 

That day, I decided to quit social media…at least until I felt that I could handle it again.  It’s been about a month since that day, and I haven’t put the apps back on my phone again.  It might be a long time, if ever, that I decide to reload them.  I’ve logged into Facebook a handful of times on my computer, only to feel the same way as before.  I leave feeling worse than I did before I logged in.

After a month of reflection, I wanted to write out the best parts of not having social media at my fingertips, mostly to journal it for myself.  Here they are:

I made serious life goals…and followed through.  I asked for a change at work, and I got what I wanted.  All I needed to do was ask.  Before that, I was too scared because I thought I wasn’t good enough.  I also signed up and started studying for the GRE, researching Master’s programs, and made plans to apply by December.  Before quitting social media, I didn’t think I was smart enough. Instead, I spent more time wishing that I could be like my friends who were doing the same thing, thinking that I wasn’t good enough/had the time.

I shopped less.  I didn’t even realize that this was a problem for me.  I was so much less tempted by the people/products that I’m following on Instagram because I wasn’t looking at all of their stuff all day!  I spent more time focusing on buying what I needed, and not what I wanted.

I felt closer to my husband.  Instead of spending our nights in bed looking at our phones before going to sleep, we talk.  Instead of one of us driving and the other sifting through Facebook posts, we talk.  I’m so grateful for more time with my husband, because it’s precious at this busy time in our lives.

I spent more time with my baby.  I spent a large amount of my maternity leave holding my baby….while simultaneously holding my phone and looking at social media/catching up on Netflix/taking endless pictures of him that would be “perfect to post.”  Going back to work full time after having Luke has made me realize how precious my time with Luke and Colton is.  There are only a few hours before he goes to bed after I get home, and I wanted to soak all of that time in.  Being off of social media has allowed me to do that and build my relationship with him to be even stronger.

I stopped comparing myself to others.  I had always compared my worst to someone else’s best because, let’s be real, we all only post our best on social media.  I wasn’t being fair to myself.  Instead of choosing to focusing on everyone else’s bests, I chose to notice my own.  I have learned to be happy with my little victories, and proud of everyone else’s.

I put my health and fitness higher on my priority list.  Less time on my phone = more time for myself.  I started waking up at 5 am so that I can feed Luke, read my scriptures, and head off to the gym early before work.  And I’m pretty consistent…which is a miracle.  These early morning gym sessions have been amazing for my mental health.  I used to spend at least 30 minutes going through my phone in the morning.  Those were 30 minutes that I could have been spending bettering myself.  All of these changes inspired me to also begin really focusing on my eating habits, thus…

I lost weight.  Yes, I believe that there was/is a correlation between quitting social media and losing weight…for me.  Less comparison to others meant more confidence in my own progress.  Also less emotional eating of ice cream.

I read more.  We finally got library cards and checked out as many books as we could carry out of that place.  Colton has really spent more time reading than I have, but I’m proud of my little changes.  I wanted to spend more time reading for pleasure after I graduated, but everything else seemed more important.

I felt happier with my life.  This is the most important change.  I didn’t realize how much social media was sucking the life out of me.  I honestly feel more satisfied with myself and the progress that our little family is making.  I’m more grateful for the little things and am more forgiving of others.  I’m learning to say no more often instead of trying to please others all the time.  I’ve made a lot of progress with my emotional and mental health, which has been crucial in my postpartum days.

I love that I can connect with old fiends and family that live far away, as well as celebrate with my closer family and friends on social media.  It will always be an awesome tool for me in that way.  However, I’m grateful that I’ve been able to learn how to use it cautiously.  Social media will be a once-in-a-while thing for me from now on.  And that’s ok, even if I’m a millennial.  🙂

One thought on “What Happened When I Stopped Using Social Media for a Month

  1. Yes, yes, and yes! (Though, admittedly, I found this post through FB.). I’m trying to really cut back and have noticed huge differences. (I’ve also read 9 books since that challenge…something I haven’t done in years!). I was thinking today how FB, especially, is draining. I think part of it is that you get people’s super high highs and other’s low lows in just a few lines. Babies and divorces. Vacations and deaths. It’s a lot of emotion from A LOT of people you care about, but in a newsflashy way. How can our emotions possibly keep up. Imagine if we got all that info from even 4 people in person in a single day. We’d be emotionally wiped out. And we are. ANYWAY. Lol…and here I am spouting off my late night thoughts. All that to say, I agree with you. Haha

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