I hate to be cliché but quitting social media has had some positive effects on my life and I figured sharing my experience could help you think about your own personal social media relationship and the impact on yours.
Before I dive right into all of the good implications of quitting social media, I’ll share a bit about how I got to the point of quitting in the first place.
I’m an educated person. I understand marketing. I understand the psychology behind the likes and the engagement of social media posting, so why did I have to cut it out of my life, you ask? Here’s the thing, although I am capable of controlling what I view and I understand the reality of how social media operates, I was only viewing content where I felt like my life was falling short. I don’t think I actually realized it though, at the time.
It was not until I had been experiencing some really stressful times at work that I realized what I was doing. It kind of went like this, take a 10–15 minute break, pull up Instagram, peruse my feed and instead of feeling a reprieve from my hectic work day, I ended up feeling worse about myself. I realized that I had built a feed that had me viewing content where I thought I was falling short in life.
I completely understand, that is on me. I chose what to view and what to follow but while I was making these choices, I didn’t how it was developing my feed into one big picture of everything I thought I was missing out on. I was following content I thought was exciting and inspiring at the time or just plain made me curious. So, on Christmas Eve this past year, I decided no more social media for me since I cannot be a responsible viewer.
Now, let me be clear, I didn’t actually delete my accounts. I put them in the cloud and I can still access them when necessary. For example, I follow a lot of cooking content so I had some recipes flagged and so I’ll pop on to pull those up. And in full transparency, I do still sometimes pop in and view my feed when I’m feeling extra bored or like I am missing out (which what does that mean? How can I miss out on someone else’s life? It’s a real feeling though, I swear!).
Ok, now to the fun stuff and all the good things that have come my way since I quit regularly viewing social media:
1. I paid off all of my credit cards (minus one).
I found that I spent a lot of extra money on material items that I saw on social media. For example, cue the cute Influencer sharing her codes for: healthy protein cereal, “clean” skin care or discounts happening on Amazon. I bought into all of that because it seems fun, I’m getting a discount and it looks like it’s working for her.
In addition, I also was purchasing more at my favorite stores because I would see something cute on Instagram and go looking for it. Of course there was a sale and of course there was free shipping if I purchased a certain dollar amount. So, instead of spending $50 for the one item I was looking for, I was spending more to get the free shipping and take advantage of the sales, duh! It’s such a good deal, I would remind myself.
This is a vicious cycle to be in and once I stepped outside of the loop I was swirling in; I was able to easily pay off all but one credit card (and the one I am still working on is cut in half from what it was a couple of months ago). In my opinion, there is no better feeling than not having a credit card payment every month.
2. I lost weight.
I did not lose tons and tons of weight by any means but I did lose some. Here’s the thing, I was always participating in some kind of fitness challenge hosted by an IG fitness account and there is a constant need to post and comment on others posts. When I look back, if I didn’t comment on every person’s daily post, or make my own daily post, I feel like I wasn’t being a good participant. I was putting too much pressure on myself to be a cheerleader and participate versus focusing on my goals. I was completely missing the point.
Now that I don’t participate, I focus on me and what makes me feel good. And by readjusting the focus to myself and listening to what I need and not focusing on doing everything perfectly in a challenge, I began to see my own results.
3. I have more time!
Instead of spending time aimlessly scrolling through my feeds, I have started using that time to do things that I typically only think about, like writing this article. I have found that I really enjoy writing and I’m currently working on figuring out how to do more of it.
4. I stick to my own personal goals more consistently.
I think this is a combination of having “more” time and using that time to focus on myself instead of checking up on a bunch of strangers that I don’t personally know. Instead of thinking about doing things, I am actually doing them (even if they are baby steps) and I have been more consistent than I have ever been. It’s so easy to take a few minutes to scroll Instagram just to realize it’s been 30 or 45 minutes so in that “extra” time, I am executing those goals instead of scrolling.
At the end of the day, do I feel happier because I am not on social media? I think the short answer is yes. The long answer is, I’ve redirected the focus from looking and thinking about the things I want to accomplish to actually taking action. I have less debt, more time and over all feel healthier.
I am not perfect and there are still days that I pop into social media and fail to a few minutes of scrolling. My life has not been completely transformed but my headspace feels much better and to me, that’s the most important aspect of it all.
So, whether you’re super educated, are a master marketer and logically understand that you’re looking at highlight reels, I would still challenge you to evaluate your feed and how it may be impacting you without you even knowing.