From celebrities to professional psychologists telling us all to take social media cleanses, the concept has been widespread for a while now. From Selena Gomez to Kylie Jenner, many are choosing to delete all social media from their devices, for whatever amount of time desired, and have claimed to back refreshed and relaxed in a way social media wouldn’t allow it before.
Because of this, we have decided to do our own social media cleanse and record the results for you, in order to let you know whether it is truly worth it. For a week, I deleted all social media apps off of my phone and laptop and asked my friends and family to try to refrain from mentioning it around me. The goal was to truly not have access to social media for the entire time in order to see how much it really affects my everyday life and overall wellbeing. Keep reading to find out what happened.
I missed social media (so, so much).
Especially the first few days on my cleanse, I was missing all my social media platforms incredibly. I felt boredom like no other. When, in reality, I really didn’t have to be bored at all. I had so many other tasks to occupy myself, including important school deadlines, yet still, I was bored. All I wanted to do was scroll through my Instagram feed or check Snapchat stories.
This was definitely a good reality check o just how attached I was to my social media apps. It seemed like the moment my brain wasn’t fully engaged in something, my hand would automatically reach for my phone, subconsciously scroll to where my (previously undeleted) Instagram would be located, and stop with a sinking feeling at the realization of its absence.
I Read More.
Then, on around day 2 of not having access to any social media, I finally began to occupy myself with other, perhaps more productive, things. I woke up and got out of bed immediately when I would usually lay there for at least 20 minutes checking all my feeds, I did some yoga, even worked out with less of a mental fight (I guess I used my social media as a distraction to not work out before). What I was most happy about was that I finally got around to starting all those novels I had told myself I’d start forever ago.
Reading had been an undying love as a past time for me as a child, and it seemed the older I got the harder it was for me to really focus on a book. This cleanse was exactly what I needed to kickstart this hobby I’d been trying to get back into for ages.
More present quality time.
Once I got over the initial bump of the first few days of my cleanse, something I noticed was that I was having such better conversations, hangouts and overall quality time with myself and my friends. I found I was forced to talk to those around me way more. On the bus, in class, at work and even at brunch. And because I didn’t have the constant distracting pull of my phone, I was so presently with those I was spending time with.
Even though my friends would go to their Snapchat or Twitter after a while of hanging out, I kept the conversation and jokes flowing and even had to come up with something fun to do to keep us occupied. No longer was our conversation focuses on who liked whose photo or trying to take an Insta-worthy picture of each other or our meals. So this is what the older generations did when they chilled with friends. Huh. It felt different, in a really good way.
Another great pro of this cleanse was that I found myself procrastinating way, way less. I suppose because I didn’t have many distractions or easy way outs of not doing work anymore. When I set a time to do my work, I actually did it at that time. Most importantly, I found my focus improved more than I thought was even possible! Even though I still had the urge to stop my work and look at my phone, knowing I didn’t have anything that interesting on there in the first place helped me focus a lot better.
Since I was barely going on my phone, except to text or check my emails, my pre-sleep phone time was cut down drastically. I always knew that going on technology before bed made it harder for your brain to shit down when it came time to sleep, but until this cleanse I truly didn’t realize how effective this trick was. I was falling in no time which is really something that made a difference to my overall wellbeing. Even after the cleanse is over, this is something I will be doing for good.
Now, I don’t know if this is a problem for everyone, but my incessant need to shop was not actually a part of my personality, but rather a reaction to the constant exposure to consumer culture and advertising I was bombarded with on my social media. I almost always felt like shopping. If I saw a cute skirt an Instagrammer I like had, I would immediately go to see where I could buy it. Or cute acrylics in a story? I was immediately filled with dread over my non-manicured fingers, feeling like I needed these nails or new shoes to keep up.
I stopped comparing myself to others.
I believe that one of the results from this cleanse that improved my life the most was that I found myself no longer comparing myself to others. Because of this, my confidence was boosted and I found myself so much happier. Social media is a staged and planned glimpse into the highlight reel of other peoples lives that I found myself constantly comparing my average, everyday moments too. I constantly felt like I wasn’t wearing nice enough clothes, hanging out with cool enough people, doing adventurous things or just living enough in general.
While doing this cleanse, I felt the most at peace just living my life and not worrying about who was watching or what other people were thinking about it. I truly believe this is the way life should be lived, without the constant social pressure. And it felt amazing.
This cleanse was definitely a great experience. I needed this cleanse to reset my habits on social media and how I used it and I believe that everyone who has social media will benefit from taking a break.