A personal experience: 40 days without social media

As you all may or may not have know, I decided to give up social media for Lent this year. This was mildly challenging since I am taking a course in social media (great planning, Jul!). But that was just it – I wanted to challenge myself with giving up something that I used every single day. One of the readings we had on how social media and screen time correlated to depression, anxiety and worse really inspired me to see what life was like without it. Being fully honest, I don’t believe that I was depressed or had tons of anxiety before this, so I was just eager to see if I would be more happy without it.

How to read the graphs below:

  • The lightest of blues: None
  • The following darker shade of blue: Mild
  • The next darker: Moderate
  • The darkest: Severe

Disclaimer: While this app is simple, I didn’t feel as though it was always the most accurate. As you see above, there were only four categories to describe how I felt throughout the day. While I didn’t feel “depressed” during any of these days, I related my responses to any sadness I felt during that particular day. The same thing goes with anxiety – nothing was overwhelming, but I again related it to any type of anxious feeling I had that day.

While there isn’t an extreme difference in any of the categories so far, you can see that my “depressed” and “irritability” points clearly improved over this period of time, from the shades of blue starting out darker and transitioning to a lighter shade. I do also find myself sleeping better, which is likely a result of no screen time right before I go to bed.

I originally started keeping a small journal of how I felt throughout the day and if I thought about social media, reached for it, etc. I started to forget to write in this journal and at first, I was bummed that I had missed a few days and therefore this wouldn’t be accurate. But after thinking about it, I thought it was pretty telling that it wasn’t even a thought that popped into my head throughout the day after the first two weeks.

At this point, I have just a few days left without my social media apps. The only things that I miss are the funny or cute videos I used to watch, or big moments in people’s lives that I care about. This has been a fun test for me, and I’m already thinking of how I will scale down my time on these apps as well as how many people I follow when I return.

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1 Response to A personal experience: 40 days without social media

  1. sydhavely says:

    Your 40 days in the wilderness weren’t so bad, were they, as you initially imagined? Cutting the social media cord has advantages and certain disadvantages as your charts show. Yet, you have emerged from your Lent silence a wiser woman and a better friend to your colleagues and family. Good for you. And thanks for taking the course. No one has done this experiment before to my knowledge.

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