I can’t believe I made it! It was hard, but I made it!
How It Happened
A few months ago, I opened my eyes at 12 am, unable to sleep. Like a natural response to insomnia, I reached for my phone. I was scrolling through Instagram when a thought hit me. Hold up, isn’t this what kept me awake at first? Besides, how does doing this make me feel sleepier?
Then, another question hit me. Why the hell am I using Instagram? I started to think carefully.
Guess what? I came up with none! I didn’t learn much, be entertained much, or make many friends. In short, I earned nothing valuable for the time that I spent daily on this platform.
Turns out, the reason I created my Instagram account is that all of my friends did; moreover, it seemed cool to have followers and something to do on my phone in my free time. Does this sound familiar to anybody?
So, I decided on something. I didn’t temporarily deactivate the account like many times before. Instead, I opened my laptop and deleted it. Click, and all four years of posts, story highlights, DMs, and followers – gone!
I checked on myself frequently after that event to check if my life had changed in any way, and here is what I found out.
#1: Screen Time Reduced
I thought I would regret it the next day, week, or month. Usually, I’d feel this constant urge to check Instagram every hour or so, so I expected to be a little fidgety. I didn’t.
Since the app was what used to make me frequently check my phone, my phone screen time was reduced significantly. It dropped from 3 hours to perhaps a little more than 1 hour, which was mostly for productive purposes.
#2: Doing Things with Intention
Checking the phone without a reasonable purpose is quite prevalent in teenagers, or at least in my friends. I noticed them, and sometimes myself, mindlessly fishing out our phones and scrolling on social media to kill time. If only there was a way to break that destructive habit. Oh, wait!
After deleting the most addictive app on my phone, I built a habit of doing things mindfully and intentionally, and not just in using devices. I started to fully enjoy what I ate, engaged when hanging out with friends, concentrated when studying, and slept better.
#3: Finding Joy In Other Recreational Activities
Because I was no longer frequently occupied by that little magical app, I had to find other ways to entertain myself.
I picked up the Kindle that I’d forgotten on the shelf for a long time.
I called my friends to go for an afternoon stroll together.
I turned on music and danced and sang my heart out.
It was great (seriously)! After a tiring day of gluing my eyes to the computer screen, had the chance to take a break from it. I had fun, which was priceless! Because I was so busy having fun, I wouldn’t remember to check my phone every 15 minutes.
#4: Feeling Less Pressure to Do Things Against My Needs
Have you ever felt the pressure to do something just because everyone else, especially the people your age around you, do them? Have you ever bought things you don’t need and follow trends you don’t really like just because you felt the pressure to follow them?
Well, I used to, until I stopped seeing what everyone else was doing with their lives that didn’t really matter to me. No longer did I think, “I would look so cool and have more likes if I dress like that” or wonder, “Should I buy that new lipstick everyone else is trying?”
Since the external pressure was reduced, I started listening inward to discover my true needs. Why? Because only I can tell myself whether I like a certain fashion trend or agree with a particular statement or not. Thus, I came to understand myself more, and, trust me, guys, it felt amazing!
#5: Having better relationships with people “offline”
Because I could no longer see people’s lives on social media, I had to actively reach out and catch up with them. As a socially awkward teen, I’m not going to lie, it was quite hard at first. However, once I got used to it, I learned to love real social interaction more than social media.
Since there were no DMs, I had to conduct a real conversation with my friends.
Since there were no stories to check, we needed to actually talk about our days.
Since there was no comment section, I needed to commend them in person about the dress they just bought if I thought it was cute.
Building and maintaining relationships with people “offline” was somewhat more difficult, yet a lot more meaningful and stronger. I hope you will find joy in interacting with your loved ones in person like I did, even if you’re socially awkward.
These are the improvements I have observed in myself since I stopped using social media. I hope you found them mind-blowing (well, interesting is enough) and helpful.
Thank you for your time!