I Stopped Using Social Media for 3 Months. Here’s How It Changed My Life

Lifestyle

I can’t believe I made it! It was hard, but I made it!

How It Happened

A few months ago, I opened my eyes at 12 am, unable to sleep. Like a natural response to insomnia, I reached for my phone. I was scrolling through Instagram when a thought hit me. Hold up, isn’t it this what is keeping awake in the first place? Besides, how does scrolling through Instagram makes me feel any sleepier?

Then, another question hit me. Why the hell am I using Instagram? I started to think carefully.

Guess what, I came up with no reasons as to why I used the app! I didn’t learn much, was not very entertained, and had not made many friends. In short, I earned nothing valuable from the time that I spent on that platform.

Thinking about I realized that the sole reason I created my Instagram account in the first place is that all of my friends had accounts; moreover, it seemed cool to have followers and have something to do on my phone in my free time. Does this sound familiar to anybody?

So, I decided to do something. I didn’t temporarily deactivate the account like I had done many times before. Instead, I opened my laptop and deleted it. And with a single click four years worth of posts, story highlights, DMs, and followers, were all gone, just like that!

I checked on myself frequently after deleting my account to evaluate if my life had changed in any significant ways, and here is what I found out.

#1: Screen Time Reduced

I thought I would regret it the next day, week, or month. Usually, I’d feel this constant urge to check Instagram every hour or so, so I expected to be a little fidgety. However, I didn’t.

Since the app was what used to make me frequently check my phone, my phone screen time was reduced significantly as well. It dropped from three hours to perhaps a little more than one hour, and most of that time was spent on productive purposes.

#2: Finding my purpose

Checking one's phone without a reasonable purpose is quite prevalent in teenagers, or at least in my friends. I noticed them, and sometimes myself mindlessly staring at our phones and scrolling through social media to kill time. If only there was a way to break that destructive habit. Oh, wait!

After saying "goodbye" to the most addictive app on my phone, I built a habit of doing things mindfully and with an intention, and not just in using technology devices. I started to fully enjoy what I ate, became more engaged when hanging out with friends, concentrated more when studying, and slept better.

How terrific!

#3: Finding Joy In Other Recreational Activities

Because I was no longer frequently occupied by that little magical technological device, I had to find other ways to entertain myself.

I picked up the Kindle that had been forgotten on the shelf for a long time.

I called my friends to go for an afternoon stroll together.

I turned on music and danced and sang my heart out.

It was great, seriously! After a tiring day of gluing my eyes to the computer screen, having the chance to take a break from it and unwind is priceless! Because I was so busy having fun, I wouldn't even remember to check my phone every 15 minutes as I used to prior to deleting Instagram.

#4: Feeling Less Pressure To Do Things

Have you ever felt the pressure to do something just because everyone else, especially the people your age, do it? Have you ever bought things you don't need or followed trends you didn't even really like just because you felt the pressure to follow them?

Well, I used to do this until I realized that what everyone else is doing with their lives doesn't really matter to me. No longer did I think, “I would look so cool and have more likes if I dressed like that” or wonder, “Should I buy that new lipstick everyone else is trying?”

Since external pressure had been reduced, I started listening inward to discover my true needs. Why? Because only I can tell myself whether I like that fashion trend or agree with that statement or not. Thus, I came to understand myself more. Trust me guys, it felt amazing!

#5: Having better relationships with people “offline”

Because I could no longer see people's lives on social media, I had to actively reach out and catch up with them. As a socially awkward teen, I'm not gonna lie, it was quite hard at first. However, once I got used to it, I learned to love real social interaction more than social media so much more.

Since there's no DM, I had to conduct a real conversation with my friends.

Since there's no Story to check, we needed to actually talk about our days.

Since there's no Comment Section, I needed to commend them in person about the dress they just bought I thought was cute.

Building and maintaining relationships with people “offline” is somewhat more difficult, yet a lot more meaningful and rewarding. I hope you will find the joy in interacting with your loved ones in person like I did if you're socially awkward as well.

Takeaway for You

I know that it takes courage and a lot of willpower to give up social media even for a short while. Thus, if you have done or just thought about it, good job!

I hope that with all the benefits I have listed above, you could find the reason and motivation to eliminate or reduce social media usage. Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat are not entirely harmful, only when you don't know how to use them correctly and with limits.

Through this article, I'm not suggesting everyone completely get rid of social media. I'm only asking viewers, especially teenage ones, to start doing what is good for them, even when it's hard.

Your life is yours. It's your responsibility to make it a life worth living and waking up daily for.

What's Next?

Now that I have been digitally detoxed for a few months, my phone no longer controls me. It's me who controls it and everything that I have access to. As someone who used to get almost addicted to that little magic device, I would say this is a huge success. With that being said, do I want to start using them again?

Yes, yes I do. Despite the harm that it could do, social media is wonderful if you use it with a purpose.

I start to be selective of what I allow in my feeds and the people I follow. If they are not helpful for my mental health, energy, and knowledge, they cannot be shown to me.

I still keep texting apps like Snapchat and Whatsapp, but social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter will be kept away only for use on my laptop.

I have started a blog on Instagram where I write reviews about books I read (this is the link if you want to check it out). I consider this an appropriate reason to keep the app on my phone :)

How about you? Do you have a good intention in using social media?

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Nhi Tran

Nina is a Vietnamese high school student who has come to and studied in the US since she was 14. Besides journaling and reading novels, Nina enjoys spending her time daydreaming and singing when no one is home. She hopes you are having a great day and enjoying all the articles on The Teen Magazine!