I have officially ended my social media detox, which started at the end of December. I had a lot of reflections and observations while doing this detox, thus if you want to read about my thoughts on what should you focus on if you want to succeed, check out the first part of this article.
This experiment was, surprisingly, both easy and hard at the same time. I loved how much more simple my life turned out to be when I wasn’t spending all my time scrolling through my phone, making sure I responded to all the messages, and anxiously watching the news. I rediscovered all the things that I used to love doing in my free time, and all the things that make me “me”. I’ve learned a lot about myself and the people around me, to whom I didn’t pay enough attention before. However, with all these amazing benefits, came a lot of temptation and FOMO, which I had to learn to deal with. I had to find new ways of entertainment, relaxation, and education, which was hard because there used to be a little device in my pocket that played all these roles in my life.
But, I’m aware that you’re here solely because you want to know what can you get from doing a social media detox. Humans are very rational and acquisitive beings and we need a clear benefit we can get, in order to consciously decide to go through a challenge. These days, there are a lot of people who recommend spending less time on social media and glued to our screens, but that is not enough. In order to quit something so addicting and gratifying as social media, we need a tangible benefit that we’ll get when we succeed. Therefore, I’m not going to keep you waiting any longer. Here are the benefits of doing a social media detox that I observed in the process of doing this experiment:
As I’ve written in the first part of this article, the biggest and most obvious benefit of a social media detox is the extra time. According to a report from We are social, an average user spends about 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media.
Imagine having extra 2 hours and 24 minutes to your day, because that’s basically how I felt during this detox. I couldn’t complain anymore that I didn’t have enough time to do something, because that excuse wasn’t valid anymore and I actually loved that this was the case.
Therefore, I decided to use this extra time for all the things I always wanted to do: I read A LOT of books, I journaled, I stretched, I meditated, and I even relaxed by doing jigsaw puzzles. Time availability stopped being an impediment and suddenly everything became possible. With these extra hours in my day, I stopped being so impatient and became more relaxed about unexpected situations, that would otherwise bring my heart rate up to 100. I took more time to catch up with my friends and family, worked on my passion projects, and got my recommended amount of sleep.
If having extra time was the only benefit of doing a social media detox, it still would be enough to persuade me to do it again.
“Comparison is the thief of joy”Theodore Roosevelt
The fact that rising cases of depression, anxiety, and suicides were observed at the same time when people started to use social media daily is no coincidence. The biggest reason why social media usage has such a tremendous effect is the constant comparison it evokes. Social media users show only the brightest, most polished, and highly edited versions of their lives, and, understandably, the viewers can’t help but compare themselves to these standards and get insecure about their own lives.
After about a week of this detox, I realized that I haven’t been looking into a mirror a lot, I haven’t felt the need to be more productive, and I just felt more comfortable in my own skin. My life felt – for lack of a better word – sufficient. As I didn’t have that constant reminder that I could be prettier, more successful, or more productive, I felt completely fine with what I already had. There were a lot fewer desires to buy something new or throw out any of the things I own. I felt I was enough.
More energy (and battery)
I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels exhausted after spending an hour on Instagram or YouTube. That’s because our minds are not built for processing that much information and stimuli in such a short period of time. Ads, pictures, voiceovers, captions, videos – all the above attack our mind like someone screaming through a megaphone, right into our ear. This is just something that evolution hasn’t had enough time to deal with and make us more resilient. But we have to ask ourselves: do we really want to be more resilient?
I felt a lot less tired during this past month – which it’s partially because I could get more sleep and also because my mind spent a lot less energy on processing information. And then, it turned out that my phone felt exactly the same. Never before have my phone battery lasted me for two days, which is proof that our phones are not bad – we just use them wrong.
Our phones are huge sources of distraction. They are an endless supply of entertainment and the only thing stopping us are 2 taps of our finger. Who wouldn’t get distracted?
I struggle a lot with my focus, which is one of the reasons I meditate, but quitting social media turned out to be much more effective in improving my focus, than an hour of meditation ever was. Sure, at the beginning I still had the impulse to grab my phone and the temptation to reinstall my social media apps, but within the first couple of days, these desires started to fade away, I was more focused and my workflow became uninterrupted.
There were a lot more smaller benefits of this social media detox, but I think I’ve written enough to convince you to try. I will talk more about this experiment in the next week’s podcast episode, so click here to listen to Being Better. But if you prefer to read than to listen, and you want to learn how to make sure you don’t fail at this challenge, read the first part of this article here.