I quit social media for a week – and here’s what happened

Photo: magicatwork/ Flickr.

Photo: magicatwork/ Flickr.

“I quit social media for a week” is a pretty bold statement to make by today’s standards, but Janeen Harding thought she’d find out just how hard it really is.

I’m not going to lie, I have an obsession with social media. There, I said it. I’ve always got my phone in hand, checking apps to be nosy, or scrolling through Instagram secretly wishing my feed game was stronger.

But recently I’ve noticed that my obsession with social media has become too much and I wanted to take a step back to see if I can change this habit or – at the very least – be able to control how many times a day I check the various platforms.

As someone who’s studying journalism – and therefore as someone who has been told countless times about the importance of social media – I immediately had my doubts about this little experiment. Would I really be able to give it up for a week? Where will I get my news (yes, news!) from and how will I keep up to date with the world?

As a sort of compromise, I told myself that I will only be allowed to check apps if I really, really had to (strictly work and university-related), and with this in mind, I decided to go ahead…

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On the first day of my social media hiatus I woke up, instinctively grabbed my phone to turn off my alarm and went straight onto Facebook (oops). After the app had loaded itself and I saw how many notifications I had, it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks that I was supposed to be on a social media detox! So I quickly closed the app.

As the day went on, I started to realise more and more just how much time I spend mindlessly scrolling through my newsfeed. I struggled to entertain myself when I got bored because I’m so used to just opening Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat and closing it again when I find nothing else of interest on it.

The next day was a little bit easier as I was quite busy in uni. But during the third day, I did notice that every time I went to reach for my phone I would ball my hand up into a fist to stop myself from checking social media.

During the day, I will admit that I slipped up and had a cheeky peek on Facebook and Snapchat just to see if I’d missed anything major but – to my surprise – I hadn’t missed anything at all.

As the week went on I found that I was less anxious to find out what everyone else has getting been up to and started filling the time I’d normally use to check social media by doing the required reading for uni – as well as reading fiction novels – and properly organising my schedule for the rest of the month.

Don’t get me wrong, I was curious about the notifications I was getting (I’m only human!) but I didn’t have that overwhelming urge to check the second I received them, which honestly felt great!

Quitting social media for a week took some getting used to, but by the end of it, it felt amazing not to have that nagging feeling at the back of my mind that I may or may not be missing out on something by not keeping tabs on everyone else.

The verdict? I’d definitely recommend this little experiment if you’ve got that feeling of needing a break – even if it’s just for one week, it really can make a worthwhile difference.

Do you think you could quit social media for a week? Let us know in the comments below!