What I Learned From Being Off Social Media for 7 Days

I was very inspired by The Minimalists, who have helped millions declutter their homes through their books, blog, podcasts, and documentary called Minimalism on NetFlix. Their essays have helped me declutter my home, but they also went completely off social media in January 2018. For one month, they stopped using Facebook and Pinterest, and even deleted their past Tweets. You can read their blog posting about their experience here.

So I decided to go offline for just a week, because one month seemed too long for me. I didn’t go on vacation – I stayed in town and carried out my daily routines.

I didn’t delete any social media history, but I stopped online activity. On Good Friday (March 30th), I deleted Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter apps off my cell phone (but I still checked Whatsapp, Messenger & E-mails). I posted on facebook for people to reach me via text or e-mail. And then, I said “see you later” to social media!

My Tweet to declare my offline status!

My Learnings

1. I was addicted to social media, even as a “mindful” person.

As mindful as I thought I was, I was very much addicted to social media. On the day I deleted my apps, I impulsively kept checking my phone every 15 minutes or so, even when there were no notifications coming in. I experienced a wide range of emotions: anxiety from not being able to check messages, anger over not being able to post, and fear that I would miss something important. Of course, those were just emotions, but my withdrawal symptoms were definitely there and lingered for at least 3 days.

2. I don’t need to post every “proud moment”.

The day I went offline, I was looking for something to do. I saw that my homegrown Bok Choy was doing well and I immediately took a photo. I was so proud since I had planted them in the middle of winter and they were thriving indoors. But wait! I couldn’t post it on Instagram or Facebook. I had no idea that the impulse to post right away was so strong. After my social media detox, I am now able to focus more on posting things that add “value” to others and not just instantly post something about myself (ie. trying to stop that ego-boost).

My homegrown Bok Choy grown indoors in midst of Canadian snowy winter (Feb to April).

3. I had way more time. 

I had so much time, I dived into reading 3 books that week.

4. My phone battery lasted 3x longer.

I normally charged my phone daily. When I stopped using social media, I was shocked that my phone actually lasted 3 days. But of course, that is dependent on your phone and usage. If you binge-watch YouTube, you’ll most likely still have to charge daily. I’m now at a happy median where I only charge my phone every 2 days.

My creativity, reading & time all expanded.

5. People can and will wait. 

We live in a world now that we believe everything has to be responded to right away. I realized that people can and will wait (if it’s not a work deadline or life & death related). In fact, I continued to get more followers on Twitter even though I stopped tweeting daily mindfulness tips. We’re now up to 200+ followers on @smindfulcanada since its January 2018 launch.

6. I conquered my fear of missing something important.

I had great fears that I would miss a friend’s birthday party or someone’s newborn photos. Turns out that I didn’t miss anything. In fact, if it’s that important – it would likely show up in my e-mail inbox or communicated in some other form. So my biggest fear was just an illusion and I overcame that fear! If you decide to go “offline”, just remember to post on your social media page to let family & friends know how to contact you (using good ol’ fashion ways!).

7. I became more happy and grounded.

The less social media I used, the less I was wrapped up in other people’s daily lives. This means less comparing and more about living in the moment, the way that I desired. Living my own path meant more joy and fulfillment.

So did I make it without social media for 7 days? 

Yes and No. 

Yes, I didn’t post anything for 7 days.

But also, no. I managed to make it only to Day 5 without checking Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. On Day 5, I felt disconnected from the world and because I work from home, I decided to check social media once again. I thought I would have hundreds of notifications but it turns out that there were less than 30 waiting for me on Facebook!

Woohoo! Only 26 notifications in 5 days.

And my conclusion? I now post ALOT less. I also decided to be off Instagram. 

Now I post (and you may have noticed) a lot less on Facebook. My time on Twitter is now only 5-10 minutes a day. I post and then log-off shortly after, so that I can spend time on things that matter to me the most (yoga teaching & training, cooking, spending time with my loved ones).

I am also no longer on Instagram! Sorry to my friends who are on it – my account’s there, but I’m not really there. I realized it was not adding value to me personally, since most people cross-post on both Instagram and Facebook. So I decided to no longer use it. And for me, it feels great to have one less thing to check.

And I will definitely try this 7-day social media detox again in the summer! #7DaySocialMediaDetox

Have you tried going offline? How did it affect you?

Post your comments below!

About Author

lookforjen

Jennifer Ma | Founder of Simply Mindful (www.smindful.ca) | Mindfulness Facilitator & Certified Kids Yoga Teacher | CPA, CA (Accountant) | Lives with her husband and two beautiful pets - Shetland sheepdog & chinchilla.

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