Join Stacie as she shares her results from just one week without social media. If you've ever wondered if you should take a break from social media, but you're just not convinced it's worth it, this podcast episode is for you!
You can read more about my no social media challenge over on the blog. And get access to the absolute BEST resources for quitting social media too!
Why I decided to do a no social media challenge for 30 days:
This is my very first “no social media challenge” of my life. I’m typically not very good at full abstinence of ANYTHING; I tend to be the type that rebels against the rules I place upon myself, so I tend to the “everything in moderation” type. Every time a group of friends does Whole30, I’m always the first to say, “Nope, that’s not for me…” because as soon as I tell myself “no sugar”, all I want is sugar!
But after working really hard to grow an online business – and succeeding by many standards – I found my dream job instead. And with the freedom that comes with a steady paycheck, I could pull back from marketing my business via social media.
My use of social media went WAY down, but I still wanted more. I wanted more freedom, more focus, more presence in my real life. Social media just felt like a heavy weight on my shoulders. And I was still spending at least 15 hours a week on my phone, which is just WAY too much time - especially when there are other things I’d rather be doing, like writing, creating, podcasting, and just having more fun (gasp!).
I decided to give myself the gift of a full-on no social media challenge for the month of January when I recorded this podcast on why to quit social media forever.
Full disclosure: I haven’t decided whether I will completely walk away from social media for good. I probably won’t, but I do expect to have a completely transformed relationship with social media by the end of this 30 days. More to come on this!
Even with just one week of no social media, I feel less “fractured” and more present, less distracted, and more focused. I occasionally feel a pang of FOMO-related anxiety, but mostly I feel less anxious, which I suspect is from not being able to compare myself to others as easily and thus not feeling like I’m missing out or behind or any of the other nonsense we can tell ourselves when we see the highlight reels of other people’s lives.
Because this is a new experience for me and I’ve gotten a ton of questions about it, I journaled out my daily experiences from my one week of my no social media challenge, but I also summarized my results for those of you short on time!
The TLDR summary from the first week of my no social media challenge:
Day zero of my no social media challenge:
It's 9:30 pm on New Year’s Eve and I just uninstalled the Facebook and Instagram apps from my phone.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit anxious.
Social media has become a bit of a crutch. It's how I stay connected but also how I waste my time, how I numb my feelings, how I pretend to have loads of friends or feel busy when I really just feel lonely or bored – which by the way – are totally normal human feelings we all have at times.
Sometimes I worry I might make myself more lonely with this experiment. And I've never been great at commitments like this. Will I be able to stick it out?
Day one of my no social media challenge:
It's the first day without social media, and wow is this weird! I've realized how incredibly often I open my phone and try to click on Instagram or Facebook. It's like I'm a zombie; I don't even realize I'm doing it. And the only thing that snaps me out of it is not having the apps to click on. Who knew it would be so powerful to just remove the apps?!
As I start this month social media free, my biggest hope is to rid my life of so much distraction and wasted time. I want more deep focus and concentration. More reading, more flow. Can I get it?
Day two of my no social media challenge:
It is SUPER weird to get so few notifications on my phone now. I'm slowly starting to realize that our phones keep us stuck on stand-by, just waiting for a little acknowledgement that we're actually important and that people like us. This is my first time since I've been on social media to take a real break, and it's already changing my habits in a good way.
My phone just isn't as exciting when I don't have slot machine apps at the ready, you know? There's nothing new to see, so I do the things I REALLY want to do instead -- like read, write, or even just do nothing and let myself be a little bit bored. What a concept!
Also Facebook is mad at me for not opening the app and has started sending me emails: “This friend you never talk to” posted a new photo! Nice try, Facebook!
Day three of my no social media challenge:
Today is my first day back at work after a two week holiday. Like most everyone, I have my own intentions for the year - one being that I continue to walk 4 miles a day and workout 15-30 minutes daily. I know that may seem like a lot, but movement is my way of dealing with pandemic anxiety, and taking even just a few days off over break made me feel “bleh.”
What surprised me most today was that I was dressed and out the door to walk my dog WAY faster than before the holiday break – which I attribute to not having social media to distract me.
I walked almost 2 miles and got back home, ate a leisurely breakfast, worked out, and got dressed for work in record time.
Will this lack of distraction and ability to stay more focused and stay true to my own intentions stick throughout the 30 days? Only time will tell!
So far, I’ve only been a bit annoyed about the challenge when I heard something really helpful on a podcast that I wanted to share with someone who recently posted about struggling with meditating in a Facebook group. I’ll admit that I felt a little compelled to cheat, but I didn’t. And life went on. But it’s important for me to take note of what I actually do miss, and I find it funny that helping people in groups is part of that so far.
Day four of my no social media challenge:
Things are starting to feel more “normal” though I still get the occasional twinge of FOMO. I am still opening my phone more than I’d like, but then I realize there’s nothing new to see and actually do the things I really want to do, like call a friend or family member.
When I think about the 15 hours a week I was spending on my phone before I started this challenge, I now realize how much time I was scrolling instead of doing what I really wanted to be doing. Scrolling is just so easy, so passive, and so dang addictive. Scrolling puts me in a trance. But I’ll admit that it feels way better to be more present and focused. A part of me thinks I may become addicted to NOT being on social media now.
Day five of my no social media challenge:
I feel more focused, less torn in a million directions, than I have for years. There’s just something about not having an endless supply of content tugging at your attention – along with just WAY fewer notifications - that makes me feel more free than I have in a while.
It’s also nice to notice what I miss (my fav Facebook groups, sharing memes with friends) and what I don’t (compare and despair, mindless scrolling that lasts FAR too long).
At this point, I don’t know that I’ll add the apps back to my phone ever again. While I miss the connection with a few key people, I also know that there are better, more intentional ways to connect that don’t compromise my own peace and freedom.
Day six of my no social media challenge:
I find myself getting bored more often. But that’s a REALLY good thing, because when I’m bored, I’m more apt to think about what I really want to do in the moment, versus getting sucked into a meaningless scroll.
I’ve written more, read more, and actually found the time I always thought I didn’t have to reach out to my real friends and family vs. just connecting with my Instagram friends. It's embarrassing for me to admit I do this!
Occasionally, something unexpected happens: I get anxious. And now I don’t have my go-to “soother” of scrolling where I tend to get a hit of dopamine with some quick praise in the form of comments or likes. I’ve started to really ask myself how I can help soothe myself without this dopamine hit of my phone.
Day seven of my no social media challenge:
Instagram sent me an email today: “You have 8 unread messages.” ← Instagram knows what it’s doing – they’re trying to set off a big old FOMO alarm with that email. But I’m committed. And it will all be there in February, right?
I’ll admit though: If I was still actively trying to get clients, this would likely cause me MAJOR anxiety. But I have lots of thoughts and ideas for my entrepreneurs who want to stop spending their whole dang lives on social media…coming soon over here so get on my email list already!
But all in all, one week in and I feel better than I have in a long time. There are occasional moments where I get annoyed, but mostly I feel free. I feel like I think more clearly. And I really, really like the person I am when I’m not wasting 15 hours a week on my phone.
The other funny side effect I wasn’t expecting: I am spending more time on my phone reading articles I’m interested in – either for research for my business or just fun things, like the latest fan theories for my new show obsession Yellowjackets. I gotta admit: I don’t hate that at all!