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  • Darshana Ananth

What I Learned from a 30-Day Social Media Detox

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

I’d be lying if I said that this is my first time trying the social media detox challenge. To be honest, it took me two consecutive fails and a mental breakdown to get it right. And finally, I was able to make it this time. I’m sure you’ve heard of this whole social media detox thing, where you quit using your social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Tik-Tok, or Twitter for 30 days or how many ever days you feel necessary. You know, take a break.

I noticed that this trend has been going on for quite some time now. It all started when people started experiencing anxiety, depression, and self-worth issues after spending unbelievable amounts of time on social media, comparing themselves to strangers on the internet. The whole purpose of this challenge is to detox your mind of all that noise online. People claimed to be more at peace with themselves after quitting social media. It is said to have boosted their real-life connections and increased mindfulness.

In the beginning, I was kinda skeptical about the benefits of this challenge. I thought to myself, ‘What if I go back to my old ways right after I finish this detox?’. That would be a bummer! Nevertheless, I went in with a positive mindset to put an end to my compulsive scrolling habit. It takes about 21 days to break a bad habit and 90 days to form a good one. Hence, I choose to go on a 30-day social media detox.

Social Apps I Use

The social media platforms that I use are Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube. These were the only ones, however, none were as problematic as compared to Instagram. This fella took up too much of my time. I’m equally guilty of using it way too much. In fact, I wanted to try this challenge to curb my compulsive checking and scrolling on Instagram. The other social media platforms were relatively easy to quit.

Now, coming to what I did to start this detox. There are three ways to do this. You can either uninstall the apps from your phone, log out of your accounts (if you want the app to stay), or hide the apps into irrelevant folders and make them hard to access. If you’re a bit feeble-minded, I would suggest that you uninstall the apps to stay consistent. I chose to log out of my personal account because I still wanted to stay active and manage my blog’s Instagram page. This was fine for me as I didn’t follow many people on my blog’s Instagram account. (P.S.: I would never visit the explore page to stay true to the challenge)

The Process & Challenges

The first few days were easy as the excitement of starting a challenge kicked in. It was pretty good for one whole week. After that, I had the slightest urge to take a peek. The FOMO (fear of missing out) was real you guys! Anyway, I managed to put that feeling to bed.

The following weeks were relatively easy because I forgot what it felt like to scroll through useless stuff for hours. I was easily getting used to not using Instagram or any other social platform to kill time. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything towards the end of the detox and finished off the challenge with a bang!

The Social Experiment

Some of you may not really be aware of how these platforms are engineered and designed to keep you hooked. On a scientific note, your brain produces a hormone called dopamine whenever you post a photo on your socials and get favorable feedback from your audience. Dopamine is released whenever you feel happy or get rewarded. This results in people turning to social media time and again to satisfy their dopamine cravings.

Social media giants keep their platforms fresh and welcoming to make sure that every time you come back, there’s something new waiting for you. While these social pools can be a source of inspiration for many, it has its downsides when used in excess. I don’t even want to get into the whole unrealistic standards of beauty and how it has engraved a comparison mindset among youth. You can check out my previous post on self-worth below, if you fancy a short read.

Replace your old habits

Now, that I have completed this challenge, let me share a few things that helped me along the way. I wouldn’t say that the whole experience was a piece of cake because I did face a few hiccups here and there. The first step was to replace the time I used to spend on my phone with a new habit. For this, I signed up for a new course online that I’ve been wanting to take, I started reading more, tried out some sewing and much more. So, every time I was about to reach for my phone out of habit, I would remind myself that I have so many other things I’d rather be doing.

How I Benefitted

  1. Engaged in meaningful conversations with friends & family

  2. Didn’t feel the need to constantly check on what others were up to

  3. I got more clarity on my core values in life

  4. I didn’t have random comparison meltdowns

  5. My self-worth shot up

  6. I got to try new things which were way more fulfilling

  7. I started living in the present moment

  8. I enjoy solitude and don’t find the need to be on my phone to fill the idleness

  9. I started sleeping early as I didn’t have anything to scroll through before bedtime

Alright, by no means was this post an agenda to bash social media. I understand that many use it to stay in touch with friends and family which is totally awesome. If there was one thing that I’d want you to take away from this read is that ‘Moderation is the way to go’. Whatever works best for you, go for it. A social media detox from time to time is quite refreshing, to be honest.

So, for the final question ‘Will I be going back to using social media?’ Maybe. Maybe not. It depends. Now that I’ve gotten the taste of offline, I’m sure that I won’t use it like how I used to. And I’m confident I can happily go months without using it. In conclusion, this was a fun experience and you should give it a try too.

Take care.

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