I Deleted My Social Media—Here's What Surprised Me & What Didn’t

I’ve had my social media apps deleted off my phone for almost two weeks now, and I’m not sure when I’ll download them again. I haven’t been without social media since I first made my accounts, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. While it has been a very cleansing experience, it has also been difficult at times.

I deleted the Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram apps from my phone. I kept LinkedIn because I’m in the midst of internship applications. I also kept Facebook because I need it for important information on my school clubs and activities. However, I limited myself to strictly interacting with those notifications, and I did not scroll past the first post that came up in my feed when I opened the app.

The first reason I wanted to cut back on my social media use was that I began spending far too much time on the apps when I should have been doing more productive things. I’m all for taking study breaks and making time for self-care, but social media became too distracting. I also knew that scrolling through social media wasn’t the healthiest way for me to take study breaks. It was not a form of self-care; it was actually the opposite.

Recently, I haven’t been comfortable with my body, and I realized social media might be contributing to that. Everyone knows people edit their photos, but it still affects us negatively to see everyone portrayed perfectly. I thought that spending some time away from social media, especially Instagram and Pinterest, could help my body image. While being comfortable with my body isn’t fixed by simply stopping social media use for a bit, it has helped a little. I haven’t been comparing myself to other people, and I think that’s a great step to take.

Photo credit: Motivation Media

Although taking a social media hiatus has had its upsides, parts of it have been difficult. During the week, I barely thought about using social media, so the fact that it wasn’t there to use wasn’t a problem. However, the last two weekends without social media have been a little more challenging. I’ve wanted to post stories when I’ve been out with friends, and I almost downloaded Instagram again to post a cute picture of myself.

Wanting to post on the weekends has made me reflect on why I felt the need to have a social media presence again. Why do I need to show people that I’m out with friends? Do I really need approval from other people to know that I look good? Realistically, people aren’t thinking that I didn’t post a story, so that must mean that I’m home alone. Also, if for some strange reason someone did think that, there’s no problem with staying in on the weekend. I also should be doing things I enjoy or knowing I look cute without needing the approval from others.

Although there have been a few challenges in my time without social media, it has been a great experience overall. It’s freeing to not worry about keeping up a social media appearance and checking in to make sure I didn’t miss anything in my news feed. I’ve also thought about ways to have a better relationship with social media whenever I decide to download my apps again. I need to make sure I’m not starting to rely too much on others for approval. I also need to be mindful of how it’s affecting my body image and self-esteem.

Most importantly, I now know that deleting social can be a freeing experience, and I always have the option to do that in the future.

 

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