What would happen if you were to disappear?
These apps are becoming part of our DNA, something that was made to make our lives more interesting and interactive has turned into something almost unbearable. Although it is easier to blame these platforms for making our lives a lot more stressful, it wouldn’t be fair not to include that part of the problem is us as well. We tell ourselves that “social media is our world now,” and “I need it so that I can stay up to date.” While these thoughts are true to some extent, there is something that we can do to escape the madness and manage our time better on these platforms. Taking a break or a well-deserved hiatus off social media can bring some unique benefits to our lives and show us the true control we often hide in ourselves. This is something that is easier said than done but for most of us it probably seems like the right thing to do. This is the chance to take a spiritual retreat to find out more about ourselves and see how we can adapt to a life without social networks. With my experience of taking two years off social media I’ll introduce to you the three core stages of the journey along with some of the things I’ve learned during my time away.
As a young adult I’ve experienced times of stress whether it was worrying amounts of schoolwork, finding a job, or even dealing with social anxiety. Once I deleted three of the most used apps I had on my phone, I felt an instant pit in my stomach. It’s normal to be scared when trying something new, for many of us when we put theses fascinating apps in the trash, we’ll instantly get nervous. You’ll have withdrawals that you’ve never had before. I mean nobody said that this process was going to be easy, if anything this will not be a short-term journey by no means. Don’t worry, the first few weeks or even months will be difficult, but after that, your life will get easier. Some of the situations that you’ll miss are having inside jokes with your friends; once your friend sends you a link of a funny Instagram post, you’ll no longer be able to open it. Your friends will question you; they’ll think your “doing the most,” and will even stop sharing information with you. These hurdles are all temporary during the process and you’ll realize later why these experiences are important to have. Another obstacle that you will have to face is boredom. We spend most of our days on our phones, you’ll start to question yourself while you have downtime and may catch yourself grabbing your phone and putting it right back down realizing that there is nothing for you to check for. While this may sound tiresome, you’ll become more present and have more conversations with interesting people when you’re out and about. Take these times of boredom to read a book or venture out and learn a new skill, spending time with yourself and improving yourself is better than spending time swiping through celebrities’ profiles for hours at a time.
Adjusting without even realizing
As months pass by, you’ll start adjusting to life without social media. The days will go by slower but with more value towards your time and built-up stress that you once had will start fading away. From time to time, you’ll think about your once popular account and you’ll wonder about the people you used to follow. Although those ideas seem like something you don’t want to think about, there is a level of maturity that comes with those thoughts, allowing you to become more accepting rather than feeling resentful. While the adjustment process takes time to initiate, there are some benefits that you’ll discover along the way. One of those benefits includes the time you spend away from your phone. You’ll develop a passion for personal activities rather than feeling addicted to your phone 24/7. When adjusting, you’ll not even think twice about picking up your phone. Your phone becomes a device that is only used when needed to be used. There will still be times spent communicating with friends and family, but there won’t be any need to stay on your phone after those interactions are finished. Another benefit that will surprise you is your unintentional need of not wanting to be the first to hear about the news. When spending more than enough time on social media, your mind gets filled with celebrity news and unmotivating posts about how people are living their lives. Once those posts are not reachable to your daily life, your mind becomes clearer and more productive. If social media was your service provider for the latest breaking news, then try downloading a news and weather app that’s not filled with other people’s opinions but more so filled with information. As humans, we tend to dwell upon the negative effects of change in our life, without even realizing we adjust, and those negative thoughts become something that worries us no more.
What You Will Learn
The amount of knowledge about yourself that you will obtain is unexplainable. The amount of control that you have in your life is something that you determine. When your hiatus comes to an end, you will have a realization about what you can control and what you can’t when it comes to your online life. Before this journey, if you were somebody who took harsh comments personally, now you may find it easier to filter out these comments, and instead of responding you will gladly delete the comment and continue with your day peacefully. If your time away was weeks, months, or years, you won't be in a rush to download those apps again. This hiatus can be looked at as a healing process and for many it may be something that you will continue to add into your life. One of the last lessons that you’ll learn when your journey is coming to an end is that social media isn’t everything. Whether you have these platforms to promote your business or to catch up with friends, it’s something that you can survive without.
My two-year time away from social media taught me many things and has allowed me to feel some control in my online life. I’m guilty of coming back to these apps and using them more than I should on multiple occasions, but I have no problem stopping myself when I feel an app is taking over my life. This journey can be as long as you want it to be, but the longer you spend time with yourself, the more in tune you’ll be with the world. Try this method out and meditate on the results, life will still have its ups and downs, but those obstacles will decrease while you are online. I leave my readers with a quote from author Brian Solls about social media that says, “Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.”