Some days, I can’t figure out if social media is the best or worst invention of our time — maybe it’s both. At one point, though, I started to wonder if my addiction to it was making me a little bit depressed. We all know that a person’s Facebook page or Instagram account isn’t really an accurate reflection of what their real life is like, but that won’t necessarily stop you from getting down on yourself when it looks like everyone else is living the dream. So I did something radical: I quit social media for a whole week, and it was actually a great decision.
I missed a friend’s birthday. Whoops. Turns out I was relying on Facebook to be not only my calendar, but also my personal assistant who reminded me about upcoming events. Luckily, friends don’t seem to mind if you forget to text them on their birthday as long as you show up to their party.
I took just as many pictures. Pics (including selfies!) aren’t just for sharing! Taking photos was just as fun even though I knew no one else was going to be seeing them — at least not that week. Plus, looking through old pictures is a great way to bring back good memories and reminisce, so I kept on taking them.
I got a little out of the loop with my friends. People assume you know things about their lives because they’ve posted the details online. So, unlike everyone else, I didn’t know about my friend’s breakup until she brought it up in person. “I put it on Facebook!” was her excuse for not telling me sooner.
I was suddenly super annoyed with everyone who was still hooked on social media. No, I don’t want to help you with a witty phrase to go along with your check-in, or discuss a celebrity’s horrifyingly terrible tweet, or tell you which IG filter I recommend pairing with your bourbon. You can’t really escape social media unless everyone you’re around is taking a break, too.
I was bored in my downtime. My downtime generally just consists of a few minutes here and there throughout the day between loads of chaos. How the hell else was I supposed to keep busy for, like, 3 minutes? What did people do before? Sit alone with their thoughts? That sounded awful.
I experienced less FOMO. You can’t be bummed about what you’re missing out on when you don’t know it’s happening. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
I spent less money online. Probably just because I was spending less time online in general. I really do love online shopping, though, so it probably would have creeped back in to my weekly routine, even if I had continued my social media hiatus.
I stopped judging myself so harshly. Being a well-rounded person makes you interesting. but if you look online at people who spend their entire day working out or baking or doing interior design, of course they’re going to be better than you at those things! You can’t judge yourself based off of strangers who have dedicated their entire lives to one hobby, but it can be difficult not to when you’re constantly looking at pictures of their success.
I felt my emotional well-being was better off. Comparing myself to other people less was definitely something I had to do for my emotional well-being, and I had to cut myself off from social media for a minute to get that done. Sometimes you have emotional reactions to things that don’t logically make sense, and that’s OK. You just have to find a way to get over it.
I went right back to my old habits afterwards (almost). To be completely honest, I took a break while writing this article to scroll through Insta. So yes, I’m back on social media pretty hard. The one permanent change I did make, however, is that now I hardly ever go on Pinterest. By taking a break, I realized that was the app that was really bumming me out and making me feel bad about myself. Don’t get me wrong — I think Pinterest is a great app, but it’s just not for me right now. If you feel like you might need a social media cleanse, I recommend giving it a shot. You might find that you don’t need to go back on all of them.