What I Learned by Quitting Social Media for 30 Days

Sulabh Gupta

Ever since smart phones have arrived, we have been addicted to the social media. If we walked as much as our thumb travels scrolling up on our social media feeds daily, there will be no overweight health problems.

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Social media can help us connect with our friends and family, learn about new ideas and cultures, share our fun adventure-filled trips and keep us entertained. At the same time, social media is a time-sink that can keep us from doing anything productive with our day if we are not cognizant about the time we spend browsing through the different social media feeds.

A couple of months ago, I realized that I was spending too much time on social media, so I decided to detox and uninstalled every social media app from my phone – Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn for 30 days. I also logged out of all the sites on my laptop and used a website blocking tool to make sure that I don’t login on impulse to these social media websites.

Over the past few years social media has been my main source of news around the world, so I configured my Google News app accordingly to receive headlines of what is going around in the world.

What was surprising to me was that once I decided that I am committed to this social media detox for 30 days, it was not that difficult to follow. Sure, in the beginning, I would sometime open my phone on instinct and scroll through looking for these apps only to realize in a couple of seconds that I uninstalled them.

This 30-day social media detox had an astounding impact on my productivity, daily routine and my mental health as well. Below are some interesting observations from my 30 days without social media.

Faster Bathroom Routine

While this may sound funny, but it couldn’t be more true. My day started with me sitting on the toilet trying to freshen up and scrolling through my social media feeds endlessly. What I convinced myself as multitasking between checking my social media notifications and my poop routine was actually just an excuse to sit longer browsing through my phone.

To be honest, it was pretty boring sitting on the toilet with nothing to browse anymore but in a couple of days I realized that I cut my potty time to half than before. What this made me realize is how meaninglessly I had been wasting the first 30-45 mins of my day.

Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it. – Richard Whately

My Book Reading Skyrocketed

I recently wrote an article on News Break about “5 books that can help you transform your life”, if you like reading books, you should check the recommendations in that article.

I have always liked reading. I make sure to have an ongoing book that I can lean on whenever I have some spare time – mostly just before I fall asleep. During my 30-day detox, I felt I had a lot more time to spare and I utilized those short periods of time that were typically spent browsing through my phone to read a few pages of a novel. I was easily able to finish one decent sized novel per week. As I came closer to the end of the 30-day period, I missed my phone less and less.

I Felt Happier

I didn’t realize until recently, but I felt a lot happier than usual during my social media detox period. I think it was probably because I didn’t spend several hours of my day looking at other people’s supposedly awesome lives and feeling like I am the only one with all the problems.

Quitting social media for a few days made me realize how much negativity social media throws towards us.. I didn’t have to read comments on news posts where everyone was trying to bring each other down and arguing with someone who doesn’t agree with their opinions.

Post-Detox Period

Once the 30-days were over, I logged into my social media accounts and gave myself full access with no time restrictions as a reward for 1 day. I no longer use Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram and I have reduced my use of Facebook significantly.

Of course, I no longer have to go through extreme measures like having my partner put a parental lock on my phone to avoid me from using social media apps or to block websites on my laptop but I felt the 30-day detox helped me put in perspective how much control social media has on our lives. It is true that we should try and control social media but unfortunately it is the other way around for most of us.

Final Words

Giving up social media for 30 days was not easy but to my surprise not too difficult as well. I made sure that I had some fixes like book reading to get me through those periods of time that were left empty. There were a few technical hassles in the beginning like certain websites that I signed up for using Facebook login required me to sign-in using Facebook, but luckily for me for most of the websites I use Gmail to sign-in. However, going forward, I plan to create email-based logins rather than signing in through another application just to save a couple of minutes during sign-up.

Another thing I observed was that it was not my laptop that was the biggest culprit for my excess time spent on social media, it was my smart phone. I have now started to keep my phone on silent and I put it away whenever I need to focus on some activity that requires my undivided attention.

If you ever try it, it is also important that people around you support you on your detox journey. I was lucky to have a partner who was willing to limit her use of social media to support me. As a result, I didn’t hear any video or someone’s story when she would see it. She made sure that whenever she is browsing the social media, she had her earphones on and made sure not to discuss anything she saw online. Not having the support of the people around you kind of defeats the purpose and makes it tenfold difficult so make sure you get buy-ins from the people around you before committing to a social-media detox.

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