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What Deleting Social Media Taught Me

The trend of deleting social medial is all the rage online. People claiming all sorts of benefits and advantages to either deleting all their distracting apps or just not using their phone at all, and encouraging others to do the same thing too. When deciding to delete social media, I didn't fall into the hype because of what I read online, but rather because my final exams were coming up and I wanted to focus. Just as simple as that!

So sometime in mid-June, I deleted the 3 most distracting apps from my phone; Instagram, Twitter, and 小红书 (a Chinese app similar to Pinterest/Instagram) and gave myself 3 weeks to go without, and this is what I learnt!

Usually, I get to the end of my day and wonder where all my time went. How is it already 8pm? When did it get so dark outside? When you think about it, you may only spend your time scrolling through your apps in 10 minute increments, but those 10 minutes add up fast during the day. They eat up your time and before you know it, you've reached the end of the day with nothing to show for it. I found that whenever I was bored, I'd switch through those 3 apps just for something to do and those 10 minutes would become hours very soon, and it would be a scramble to get something done that should have been done ages ago.

I found that by deleting social media, I was less rushed and could take my time in doing what I wanted to. The first couple of days were honestly painfully long, but on day 3, I woke up and got into the swing of my new routine.

When I study, I set a timer on my phone and put it somewhere I can't reach. To do this, I use the app Forest because if you exit out of the app, the tree you select to grow will die. Sadly, an update to the app now means you can exit out of the app, use your phone as normal with the timer still running in the back and your tree won't die! So, I found that when a lecture was on the boring or difficult side, I was able to "give myself a small break" and scroll through Twitter or update my Instagram story, which meant I was ultimately getting nothing done.

Not having these apps anymore meant that even if something was hard or not that interesting, I literally had to force myself into continuing. Again, the first few days were hard but after giving it some time, I was able to adjust. If I found my mind drifting off, I'd have a stretch and motivate myself to keep going with a snack (or several!)

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love to update my stories with basically everything I'm doing, cooking, eating, where I'm going etc. Part of it is because I live in China and want to share my experiences online, but another part is because I just love taking photos and find satisfaction in people commenting on the photos and whatnot.

This gets exhausting - every blogger and their mum has spoken about how stressful and tiring it can be to keep up with both your everyday life and your online life on top of that, and I get those feelings very often. Getting rid of Instagram was a relief because I didn't need to share what I ate or did that day. I didn't think "How many people have viewed my story today?" or "What time is it, I need to post something", or anything along those lines. I could just do anything and leave it at that!

Having re-downloaded my Instagram has made me realise that I genuinely enjoy capturing everything, but it still shouldn't be at my expense.

One of the things about social media that draws me in and keeps me hooked is how I like feeling like I'm on top of the news and trends and whatnot. Twitter can find out the breaking story or latest meme before anything else, and finding out about something as soon as it drops is a weird enjoyment of mine. But when I got rid of Twitter and got out of that bubble, I was left with the realisation that it really doesn't matter!

In fact, going back on Twitter has put it in even greater perspective, as I see that getting most of my information from social media (and ultimately from other people, strangers, and their opinions) is really a disservice to myself. Sometimes it's fine to just not know anything, and after the events of May/June, it's important to log off for a while.

As well as all of this, I found myself way more productive and happier overall! Removing the pressure of just your presence simply being online was amazing, and I would definitely delete my social media again or even make a habit out of doing it regularly! Being left alone with just my thoughts and no one else's opinions let me know myself more and I enjoyed that too.

Have you ever deleted social media? What did you learn?

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