Giving up Social Media for a Week

This week I decided to give up Social Media.

I’ve felt so disconnected from my friends, family, and with God recently, and I feel like I can attribute a lot of that to pulling out my phone. Instead of living the moment, I’m thinking about what cool picture I could take or what someone else I don’t actually know is doing right this moment. I cannot be alone in this, can I? This “connection” we have – between screens and showing each other our best lives – isn’t real at all. 

Don’t get me wrong – I love being able to see hallmarks in the lives of people I still care about, but I can get so bogged down in comparison and shame and the fact that I spent over six hours on Instagram last week that I just had to take a breather.

I wanted to focus on what I replaced my social media time with. Not just jumping into something just as tragic or forced, but things like going outside or doing Bible study or reading for fun.

SUNDAY

I immediately tried to open up my social media folder on my phone. Thankfully on Saturday night I moved the folder, but still.

And when opening up my computer, I immediately typed “fac” into the search bar. Ugh.

Let’s talk about what I did instead. This isn’t meant to be bragging or trying to fill the void of social media this week, but I think its amazing how dang freeing it can be.

  • I went through my YouTube subscriptions, unsubscribing from the people who I don’t regularly watch
  • I went bowling and didn’t pull out my phone. “Last week me” would have snapped a photo and made a self-deprecating comment about how horrible of a bowler I am, but I didn’t. I just enjoyed being a bad bowler and being present with someone I enjoy spending time with.
  • Took a walk amongst the trees changing colors and just enjoyed it
  • Did my Bible study that I’ve been putting off for far too long (oops)
  • Sat down and read for three hours and got sucked into a book

Catching my drift here? I spent a lot more time in the moment than curating the moment. Do I need to add more italics for you to see? I hope not.

“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” Proverbs 14:30

MONDAY

When I’m at work and need a break, I typically head to social media. This is definitely a challenge today.

My sweet friend Hannah (of The Cake By Hannah) sends out a “Sweet Thoughts” weekly devotional (sign up here if you’re interested in receiving it too!), and I was reading before jumping into work for the day. I thought I’d share, especially because it fits so well with this week’s challenge:

Do the best with your own- whatever it is. Don’t compare. Don’t compare what you have. Don’t compare your talents. Don’t compare your families. Don’t compare your homes or cars or anything. Don’t do it! Don’t look to the right or to the left. Do not envy. Be grateful for what’s in front of you, for what’s been given to you, and also access what’s been made available to you if you would only take steps of faith toward it. God doesn’t hold out on anybody- not one. You are abundantly blessed. Not just the person on Instagram who looks like they have it all together. Not just that business owner who makes more money than you. Nope, you too! YOU. And, the more you recognize how abundantly blessed you are, the more you honor the Lord and play witness for him to the world around you. 

What did I do today instead of scrolling?

I came to the conclusion that I should just keep my phone in my purse. I keep picking it up and then putting it back down.

TUESDAY

Is it weird that I haven’t told anyone yet that I’ve given up social media? It feels like a cool little secret. 

What did I do today?

  • Saw a movie (Bohemian Rhapsody – 10/10 would recommend)
  • Sat and ate dinner with two of my good friends playing Cards Against Humanity. Instead of posting a picture to the interwebs of it, I sent it directly to friends to show that they were missed.

WEDNESDAY

It feels like second nature to not be checking social media now. The question is now how many notifications will I have when I get back? Will I have tons of messages from friends seeing something and thinking of me, or will I have an empty tab? While it sounds silly to think about, it’s kind of a weird feeling.

How did I spend my time today?

  • I sorted through and labeled my Polaroid photos
  • Watched a movie on Netflix with no distractions — Candy Jar
  • Went to bed early (and didn’t lay in bed scrolling)

THURSDAY

Happy Thanksgiving! It felt a little weird today not seeing everyone’s Thanksgiving posts, but I kind of liked it. I liked being able to put up Christmas decorations for hours (literally hours) and not check my phone. When I did get a “Happy Thanksgiving” text, it was more special because it was targeted toward me and not just the masses.

What did I do today instead of social media?

  • Put up Christmas decorations
  • Spent quite a bit of time tweaking things around the blog
  • Ate my weight in mashed potatoes

FRIDAY

I love a good four day weekend. After a little bit of a sleep in, my parents and I went to go see the new Fantastic Beasts movie.

How did I spend my time?

  • Finished my 52nd book — An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green! For all of you concerned with my choosing of 50 instead of 52 books as my goal for the year, you’re welcome. 
  • Our apartment complex had a big kickoff to Christmas event with a band, food trucks, and LOTS of dogs
  • Sorted through clothes I’ve been piling to take to sell

Almost done!

SATURDAY

As last Saturday I started this challenge, I told myself that once I had this post scheduled I would allow myself to get back on.

But before then, I got some stuff done:

  • I went on a mile and a half walk around the neighborhood
  • Went to sell clothes and get them out of my apartment
  • Instead of putting something up on social media to ask, I thought about which person I figured would have an answer (and guess what? they did!)

Here are some general lessons I learned this week:

  • This week allowed me to be more present and involved with the people around me
  • I checked off a few things on my to-do list that I’ve had for a while (like selling the clothes, organizing Polaroid photos, etc.)
  • At the beginning I was nervous about all the things I was missing (and I may have missed a lot), but I’m more okay with that now
  • Sleep hasn’t been any better, I don’t think. I assumed the lack of blue light would help, but I still stare at a screen at work so I’m not sure that helped much.
  • I don’t miss social media as much as I thought I would

My general hope is that I’ll be on social media less – which tangibly means…

  • Lowering my social media limit on my phone (with the caveat that text messages count as social media time)
  • Giving myself a break more often when I need it
  • Go through my social media accounts and unfollow people I don’t feel a connection with (like I mentioned in this post a while back)
  • Planning time with friends where we all agree to put our phones away

Any other ideas? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear!


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