Facebook seems to reign the internet world, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s one of the most used apps with an estimated 169.76 million unique mobile users. New phones now come out with Facebook already installed and ready to go and to log into most other apps or websites, your facebook login will do just fine.
A lot of us have become social media zombies. The first thing we check in the morning and the last thing we say goodnight to is our online community. Every single achievement, announcement, event, and thought is posted up online throughout the day for all of our friends and followers to see. It has basically become a way of life.
I am SO guilty… I’m one of them. I’m a facebook junkie. I check my notifications as soon as I wake up and Facebook is open throughout the day to see what everyone is up to.
So I took up a challenge. No facebook for a week.
Reasons for Deactivating Facebook
Too much time spent scrolling
For real, it kind of took over my life.
As soon as I opened my eyes in the morning, I would check my Facebook notifications and spend an hour (sometimes longer!) of my morning lying in bed, scrolling through friends’ posts and silly memes. I could hardly find time to get anything done because I would be replacing my “get things done” time with Facebook time. Talk about procrastination. Sometimes I would even skip the gym if it got to be too late!
I didn’t quite realize it in the moment, but all my social media browsing was putting my goals and daily to-do’s on the back burner.
Haunted by the past
There’s a handy, dandy little tool on Facebook nowadays that makes it super easy to see what you’ve been up to this time last year- it’s called Facebook Memories.
It’s not necessarily a bad tool. It’s great for all of the heartwarming, happy times that we all love to be reminded of. But the other side of it is seeing all those photos with those with whom you’ve grown apart- Old relationships, ex-BFF’s, old places you no longer frequent.
Fun fact about me: I’m super sentimental. Another fun fact: I moved almost 500 miles away from my hometown because of a lot of not-so-fun relationship issues. Both of those reasons, as well as having easy access to old friends and memories via Facebook made it INCREDIBLY hard for me to move forward with my new town and new life.
Envying the picture-perfect lives
This person just got married, another one just bought a house, and some other friend just had twins! What you don’t see, however, is that this person broke out into a huge fight with their significant other before the wedding, another one is stuck with a huge monthly mortgage, and some other friend doesn’t have the family support they need.
All we see on social media is what others want us to see, which is usually just the good stuff. The “congratulations!” stuff.
I would get stuck on that picture-perfect life envy-train sometimes and begin to compare my life to others’ lives. Unfortunately that led to a lot of anger and resentment, and all-around negative feelings. Why couldn’t my life be like that? I’m doing such and such, I’m seemingly working harder than they are, why can’t I have all of that too?
Struggled with loneliness
Facebook is great for connecting with friends, both old and new. The more time I put into Facebook, however, the less time I put into face-to-face interactions. I’m already an introvert as is, and probably as antisocial as they come.
Part of me used facebook to fill that social void. But once I logged off, that loneliness crept in ten fold. I realized that I was completely alone and hadn’t spent any real quality time with anyone. Just like that, I would log right back into Facebook. Vicious circle.
I won’t lie, it was a rough week. My old morning routine still had me reaching for the phone. In my down time, I would still click on that little, blue “F” icon just to immediately feel that sinking feeling that I wasn’t connected to that part of the online world anymore. But let me tell you, it got easier, and I almost didn’t reactivate my account.
Benefits of deactivating Facebook
Having nothing to scroll through in the mornings meant that I either laid in bed and stared at the walls, or I crawled out of bed and started my day. I’m sure you can figure out what my decision was most mornings! A healthier routine began to fall into place. My weekly meal prep actually got prepped, my dog got more fresh air and walks, and I had more time for actual hobbies. Useless stories and memes no longer took over my time. My life took over my time.
More in tune with the nature-ey world
I live in this beautiful city full of beautiful nature and architecture, but I’m normally too indulged in my phone to actually see it. Once my phone was down, I fell in love with my surroundings again.
I remember one car ride specifically, I had my phone in my hand and mindlessly clicked on the Facebook icon, forgetting that I had said my goodbyes to the app. I put my phone down, slightly frustrated at myself, but instantly caught myself staring at the beautiful trees and painted skies, completely in awe, as if it were the first time seeing it all again.
Or another time during the week, we went to this gorgeous state park that just so happens to be right down the road from home.
I caught myself trying to open up Facebook to check myself in, or kill a little bit of free time in between activities. Honestly, it was refreshing to have all of that locked away. Instead, I took in my surroundings and thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed the environment I was in. The time away from the social media world and the quality time I spent with nature and my fiance that day was absolutely wonderful.
More in tune with the people around me
Remember how I mentioned I’m not a social butterfly? Like, at all? Well, when you don’t really have anything to fiddle with, such as Facebook, you’re forced to interact with the people around you.
Totally not a bad thing!
I finally spoke with a lot of people who I see on a daily basis. Being locked way in the internet world gave off an anti-social vibe to the people around me, I’m sure. But with my phone down, and a smile on my face, I met a few awesome people this week that I had no idea were so awesome before.
No more comparing myself to others
…mostly. We all do it! We all think the grass is greener on the other side, and it’s even worse on social media. You see everybody’s achievements and happy moments, but you don’t see the struggles it took for them to get there. Sometimes that green-eyed monster can creep up and you start comparing your life to theirs.
When you don’t have that opening into others’ lives anymore, it’s much easier to stay in your own lane and focus on your own goals. And even better, you’re focusing on your own goals FOR YOU. Not to post up on social media. Not for everyone else. For you.
Overall, I was so much happier that week. Since then I’ve reactivated my account, but I’ve noticed I don’t use it as often as I used to. And as a blogger, I like to keep my social media open. But the challenge opened my eyes and helped me realize how important it is to manage my social media time for my mental health and wellbeing.
How would your life be different without social media?