I Gave Up Social Media for 30 Days
The Results & Benefits of My Social Media Fast
Whether we are aware of it or not, social media has become a key component of our lives. It fills the gaps in activity throughout the workday and multiple hours in the evenings; the typical American spends an average of 123 minutes, or 2 hours and 3 minutes, on social media sites per day.
This statistic is astounding because so many people, myself included, complain of not having enough free time during the week. Think about it, if we cut out social media, we would gain an average of 861 minutes of free time per week. It was upon realizing this that I resolved to cut social media out of my life for 30 days.
The results were surprising and amazing as I was better focused, more grateful, and more connected to myself and my surroundings.
My Reasons: Improve Mental Health & Anxiety
The main reasons for giving up social media were to clear my mind and prove to myself that I didn’t need to rely on it as something to fill my day with. I usually have trouble committing to abstaining from vices, but to help motivate myself, I bet my partner a large deluxe pizza that I could do it. I’ve always found that I am better at working towards a goal if there is a monetary bet involved.
I started the first day by deleting all the social media apps on my phone but kept my accounts active so I wouldn’t have to make new ones after the month was over. The first day wasn’t particularly tough as I was steadfast in achieving my goal. However, the first 10 days proved to be the most difficult to get through. The desire to log on and see what everyone was doing was strongest and I had the uncomfortable feeling of being out of the social media loop.
The desires to check social media subsided after the first 10 days and the positive benefits emerged. I started feeling sharper mentally and more focused on both the world around me and my goals in life. I truly had more appreciation for the world around me as without my phone to rely on, I had to be more present in my moment-to-moment life. Due to being present, I felt my general anxiety decrease.
Surprisingly, the last few days were the toughest for me; with the end in sight, the urges to get back on my phone increased. However, I was able to last the entire 30 days and I won that pizza. I was pleased with the results from my social media fast, but now I do find myself back on my phone for long stretches at a time.
Results & Lessons Learned
All in all, my experience of social media fasting was positive, but for anyone interested in trying it themselves, I don’t think cold turkey is the best way to go. Instead of going straight into cutting out social media for 30 days, I would recommend starting off by having 1 or 2 days a week without social media and gradually increasing from there.
There are also countless apps that can help you to limit screen time; my favorite app is StayFree which tracks both how often you check your phone and how much time you spend on each individual app. You can then set notifications to pop up on your phone if you’ve spent too much time on an app.
Social media isn’t inherently bad and can be used right to be both a fun and effective tool. The key to having it be a positive part of our lives is to be self-aware of our usage and to make sure we aren’t using it as a crutch to avoid being present.
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