I Quit All Social Media For 2 Weeks—Here's What Happened

For a full two weeks, between late August and early September, I made the decision to give myself a social media detox.

By Ramsha Afridi3 min read
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This meant no use of social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, and others. In fact, I even went as far as deleting all of these social media apps from my iPhone and changed the settings to "Downtime," which meant that only phone calls and apps marked as "Always Allowed" appeared on my screen.

You may be wondering why I made this decision, especially given how much our daily lives are now centered on social media and staying virtually connected to the world around us.

Generally, I have always set time limits for how much I use these services. I seldom ever posted on social media, only doing so when necessary or when I had free time. Despite my cautious social media use, I suffered from burnout and exhaustion as a result of being overstimulated by the endless notifications and distractions that these platforms provided. These feelings, along with being mentally and physically exhausted by my demanding schedule and career, resulted in a diminished sense of accomplishment and the loss of my personal goals and aspirations. 

It became apparent that I needed a fresh start, and avoiding social media for two weeks seemed to be the best course of action. So, I decided to take a much-needed break, and the results were shocking.

I Was Able To Concentrate on My Priorities

During the first few days of my social media detox, I noticed a significant difference: I was able to focus on my priorities, and my attention had improved.

The reason is simple. Social media distracts from other, more important daily activities, eventually consuming and exhausting your attention resources. Social media and many other facets of contemporary life are without a doubt destroying our ability to focus.

There is evidence from numerous studies that some social media users' brains may release more of the reward-seeking neurotransmitter dopamine when they interact on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or other social media platforms. Dopamine is flooded into the brain and sent along reward pathways when a user receives a like, retweet, or emoticon indication, essentially rewarding their social media use. A problem arises because excessive dopamine may cause compulsive pleasure-seeking, which would be harmful rather than helpful.

There is a link between behaviors like compulsively browsing through Instagram or TikTok while frantically completing other tasks and memory issues as well as attention span interruptions. According to a recent study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, these actions may have an effect on our memory and other functions.

However, because I refrained from using social media, which freed me from these interruptions, I was able to sit down without distraction, be fully present in the moment, and effectively use the limited energy I had during the day.

My Real-Life Relationships Grew Stronger

My life became a lot simpler literally just days after I stopped using social media, and I realized that the virtues of real life are much more significant and valuable than virtual life. In fact, my mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being had all improved.

I realized that the virtues of real life are much more significant and valuable than virtual life.

This meant that I instinctively turned to building my relationships in the real world because there was no emphasis on virtual interaction. I had complete control over my ability to remain in the present and was able to spend more precious time with my loved ones.

This was a significant improvement for me because I had developed an unhealthy dependence on social media to stay in touch with my friends and family, an issue that other people are also having trouble with. In the midst of the pandemic, social media use increased dramatically. According to the Global Web Index, social media usage increased in 20 countries, with more than 40% of people reporting an increase in daily use. Furthermore, young people's use of social media increased by an estimated 55%. More time on social media means less time interacting with others in real life.

I Felt Less Anxious

After one week of no social media, I noticed a massive difference in my mood: I felt positive, calm, and less anxious. The reason for this was clear, I had no alerts to check, no notifications to catch up to, no images to look at, no Instagram Stories to watch, and nothing to tweet. In fact, I barely checked my phone at all! It was liberating to no longer be subject to the demands and obligations of social networking.

We are frequently subjected to a variety of stimuli from social media, risking getting sidetracked by mindlessly scrolling through our feeds, and potentially wasting our valuable time. Social media detracts from other, more crucial daily activities, ultimately consuming and exhausting our attention. It is without a doubt that our abilities to relax and to focus are being destroyed by social media and numerous other aspects of modern life.

I Stopped Comparing Myself to Others and Felt Happier

In today's society, there is enormous pressure to live the "perfect life" online and to share our best experiences. Although this isn't necessarily a bad thing, setting unreasonable expectations can have its downsides.

Our abilities to relax and to focus are being destroyed by social media.

While I believe that social competition is healthy, it seems like it’s intensified on social media. This is because social media actively promotes extremely irrational standards of daily living, which can alienate even the most hard-working and confident people.

Ultimately one of the biggest drawbacks of social media is that we frequently find ourselves comparing our lives and ourselves to others, which just makes us feel worse. Numerous studies have demonstrated that using social media to compare yourself to others has negative consequences, including making you feel unhappy and triggering depressive symptoms. Especially since we frequently forget that social media is merely a highlight reel of a person's life and not their actual day-to-day life. 

I can, without a doubt, say that after 10 days of my social media break, I started to feel much happier, more fulfilled, and appreciative. I simply stopped spending as much time viewing picturesque and edited representations of other people's lives, which made my life feel more tranquil in the long run.

Closing Thoughts

Despite the fact that giving up social media may seem challenging in our hyper-connected society, reducing the amount of time you spend there can significantly improve your happiness and well-being.

The truth is that a lot of the time spent on social media could be used to engage in more fulfilling activities, successful endeavors, and other things the world has to offer. When we use social media excessively, it keeps us in a state of distraction and prevents us from fully experiencing life. Perhaps we all ought to detune more frequently – our well-being is far more important than anything online. 

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