We all have habits that we’re not always consciously involved with. One of the biggest daily habits of many people nowadays is being active on social media. I was very curious about what would happen if I would break my daily habit and stopped using social media for a week. So I put it to the test, and these are my findings.
I found myself mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed killing a lot of time. I remembered myself longing to read that book, cook that recipe, or start that creative project when I was at work. But yet here I was in my spare time watching advertisements, looking at people’s lunches, vacation photos or fitness, bikini bodies. Do I really find this a nice way to spend my time? Or is social media just part of my daily habits? So I challenged myself to not use Instagram and Facebook for a whole week, to find out how I would cope. Facebook I already hardly used anymore but Instagram started to look like a tiny addiction. Whatsapp and Linkedin are of course also social media platforms. But with Whatsapp, I wanted to stay in contact with people without all the ‘Fake News’ and over-stimulation. And Linkedin I occasionally used for work business.
While I was trying to be social in real life, social media kept haunting me uncomfortably.
Breaking the habit
So Monday morning I immediately logged off from Instagram and Facebook without watching notifications. And I replaced the Instagram app on the start screen of my phone for the Headspace meditation app. In the small moments of silence or discomfort, I noticed myself grabbing my phone. And as you can already guess at unguarded moments I got the impulse to touch the Insta widget to open the app. Of course, I was logged off so I could not just get in the app. But now if I clicked on the same spot, I would open my meditation app. This shows how conditioned I became already. After 3 days Instagram started reminding me of the 27 unread notifications even though I was not even logged in. I felt almost forced to respond to this alert while I did not feel like it at all. After 9 days of not using Instagram, I even got an email with my recent activities, which normally never happens. While I was trying to be social in real life, social media kept haunting me uncomfortably.
You save so much time and attention for other beautiful things where you normally have no regard for when you are hypnotized by your phone.
Enjoying the moment
There were a couple of moments when I thought: ‘Normally I would now take a picture of this and post it on Instagram. It would take me about 15 minutes to make a series of photos, pick the best photo, crop it the right way, choose a nice filter, come up with a good caption and select a bunch of catchy hashtags.’ At these moments I do not even have a clue what a post like this is rewarding me with or what I even want to get out of it. But I do have experienced that now I had agreed with myself to not use Instagram and Facebook, I enjoyed the moments that I normally would share on social media much more. Instead, I would share what I experienced in a personal conversation or I would just absorb it by myself. You save so much time and attention for other beautiful things where you normally have no regard for when you are hypnotized by your phone.
Did I survive without social media?
It surprised me enormously, but not using social media for a whole week was far easier for me then I expected. After I finished a whole week without social media I’ve noticed that I was not sure If I even wanted to open Instagram or Facebook immediately again.. So when I am writing this it is the 9th day without social media and I will definitely log on back soon to share with you my experience (how ironic). But it is my intention to be more in the present moment and not use social media daily anymore. Social media can be much fun and get you in contact with cool people and inspirational content. But too much of a good thing can also cause laziness, insecurity, and anti-social behavior.
So what do you think? Would you survive a week without social media? If you are also curious about how I coped eating no meat for a week check out my findings of a week as a Vegetarian.