In recent weeks I’ve become aware of my social media habits and the effect that they’ve been having on my mental health. I noticed that I was waking up and checking notifications. Getting into bed at night and checking notifications. Making coffee with my phone open on social media on the countertop. I’ve never been the sort of person to be on social media all the time. But with life now meaning that we’re constantly inside, social media has become a way to feel outdoors.
Recently I’ve noticed just how toxic social media has been for my health. And I wasn’t comfortable with how much time I was spending on my phone scrolling through social media. So I decided to take action by deleting both Twitter and Instagram from my phone. Sit tight, this is a pretty hefty post…
Did I Remove Social Media From My Life Completely?
Well long story short, no I didn’t go completely silent on the social media front when I deleted the two apps. I allowed myself to still use both websites on my laptop whenever I wanted. I didn’t want to completely stop using social media. I’m a content creator after all and I need to still be present on my socials. The reason behind deleting the apps was to simply reduce my screen time and to give myself time to reflect on my sudden social media obsession.
A Few Other Reasons Why I Decided To Remove The Apps
Aside from the main reason, another big reason for removing them was that I was noticing how social media was making me look at blogging in a negative way. It was as if because I wasn’t happy with how much time I was spending on social media, I then wasn’t happy when it came to writing blog posts. I was finding that social media was draining the energy out of me. So when it came to sitting down to write a blog post I’d be too exhausted and feel too miserable to write anything. And then there’s the whole ‘reflecting on my blog content’ thing as well. When you’re feeling negative towards one aspect of your blog (in my case my social media) you start to think negatively towards everything related to it. I found myself trapped in a box of negativity towards blogging, and I wasn’t okay with it!
What I Noticed When I Deleted The Apps
The first thing that I noticed was that I really wasn’t a big Instagram fan. I didn’t miss it at all. I’ve been quite vocal about my indifference towards the app before. It’s just not really my thing. Possibly the only reason I have it is because it’s such an important platform for bloggers to have. Even if you only post on it every now and then. The second thing I noticed was that I was completely obsessed with Twitter. I found myself automatically going to click on where the app used to be on my phone constantly. I’d unlock my phone and instantly go to click where the Twitter app was. I’d check my phone for notifications all the time and then remember that I’d deleted the app. I was genuinely embarrassed at how much clicking on the app seemed to be an automatic thing for me.
How Often Did I Visit the Twitter and Instagram Websites?
To be completely honest, not that often. By not having the apps I found that I was visiting the sites a lot less frequently. Before, I would spend my time mindlessly scrolling through the apps throughout the day. Maybe even for an hour at a time. But when it came to visiting the websites on my mac, I was active about 10-15 times a day for about 30 seconds – 1 minute at a time. A huge slash in screen time!
I’m actually so annoyed with myself for letting it get so bad. I was never someone who lived for social media, especially before I had my blog. In fact, I hadn’t even used Twitter for about 5 years before I made my blog account. So it’s frustrating to me to think that I’ve changed in that sense. And I’d say it was a change for the worse as well. However, I’m glad that it’s something that I’ve acknowledged and something that I’m changing right now.
I Did Keep One Social Media App Though…
Although I deleted Twitter and Instagram, there was one app that I decided to keep…Pinterest. Ever since I started putting effort into my Pinterest account I’ve been really enjoying my time on the app. As a creative person, I love designing new pins and sharing them on the website. I think because it’s not necessarily a social media platform, and is more of a search engine, it doesn’t come with the same level of negativity as the other apps. You aren’t looking for likes, you aren’t comparing yourself to those that you follow etc. Yeah sure it’s a numbers game in the sense that you’re ultimately looking to get clicks to your blog from Pinterest. But the pressure that comes with Twitter and Instagram doesn’t seem to translate over to Pinterest. And that’s something that I really appreciate.
Since getting into Pinterest I’ve managed to have my most successful months of blogging ever. So I think that was a big factor when it came to deleting my apps. If I was enjoying using the app AND seeing results when it comes to my blog then there really wasn’t any reason why I needed to delete Pinterest, was there? In fact, I think Pinterest has actually been bringing positivity into my life!
Reflecting On The Experience So Far
After just a couple of days of not having the two apps I started to notice that I was feeling a lot more positive. My life no longer revolved around them. I was no longer waking up and mindlessly scrolling through Twitter. I’ve actually been waking up and going for a run…something I never thought I’d be saying. I’m still adjusting to the whole thing and sometimes I just get the urge to tweet in the moment and don’t have my laptop near me. But I’m definitely seeing the whole thing as a positive change.
Will I Continue with The Social Media App Free Life?
I’m not sure if this new change will be something that I’ll continue with in the long haul. But for now it’s incredibly beneficial to me. I might reinstall Instagram again because I’ll be posting a few photos every now and then. Plus Instagram isn’t something that I spend hours on. But I can definitely see Twitter not making a permanent comeback on my phone anytime soon. I’m still guilty of clicking on the space on my phone where the app used to be so I think until I stop doing that I’ll avoid downloading it!
What are your thoughts on social media? Is it something that you find yourself spending more time than you’d like to admit on? Have you ever taken a social media break before? I’d love to know your thoughts on the matter. And if any of you are looking to take a social media break for your mental health I would 100% recommend giving this a go.
Read next: 5 Ways That I’m Spending My Time.
*Photography by Georgia de Lotz and Ben Kolde via Unsplash.