Is it possible to give up Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat for seven whole days? Our lifestyle writer did a social media detox – and lived to tell her tale
Hello, my name is Shairah and I am addicted to social media.
Seriously, the fixation is real. I display all the signs of an addict – excess consumption; dependence; withdrawal symptoms; denial – and if I had to try, ‘Stockholm syndrome’ wouldn’t even begin to describe my relationship with social media. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have held me captive – and I am powerless in their tyranny.
Okay, that may be a tad dramatic, but you get my drift. In this day and age, who isn’t addicted to social media? But as it happens, I like a challenge. And boy, have I done some challenging things before: race up 75 stories in a gruelling vertical marathon? Check. Survive a three-day juice cleanse? Check. Endure a four-hour root canal? Check – and yes, it was as painful as it sounds. So it’s only fitting that I challenged myself to do the unthinkable: give up social media for a week.
So did I succeed? Or did I succumb to the lure of selfies, #OOTDs, and stalking my crush on his Instagram account? Read on to find out. (Spoiler alert: this story has a happy ending.)
I started my self-imposed social media detox on a Saturday morning – after scrolling through my Instagram feed for an hour and consequently hating myself for not looking beautiful/stylish/fit enough. I knew the only way I was going to ace this was to go the full monty. So before I could change my mind, I deleted Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat from my phone.
Not gonna lie: I had a brief moment of panic and regret (“What have I done?!”) – so I spent the rest of the day wolfing down Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby to distract myself. (Spoiler alert #2: I might also have put on a little weight, thanks to this detox).
Bored; restless; cranky: boy, was I a mess 48-hours into my social media detox hell – a clear sign that I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Also, I didn’t know what to do with my hands: if I can’t use them to grab my phone and scroll through my Facebook feed, what is the point of life?! #firstworldproblems
Monday morning came, and I felt nervous that I wouldn’t make it through the workday without slacking off on Facebook (don’t tell my boss). It didn’t help that my colleagues were so incredulous: “You’re doing what? I could never give up social media.” Yeah… thanks, guys.
But I press on, like the soldier that I am.
I’m ashamed to admit it: after fastidiously sticking to my detox for three whole days, I fell off the wagon. Oh Facebook, thou art a true temptress. Clearly, I have no self-control – but I steel my resolve to pursue this to the end, no matter how hard it may be.
Day 5 and 6
More than halfway through my detox, a moment of enlightenment finally hit me: staying away from social media actually feels… freeing. For once, I wasn’t going green-eyed over an Instagrammer’s perfect #OOTD and didn’t feel the usual crushing sense of FOMO when someone posts a photo of a dinner party I wasn’t invited to – because I had shut myself off from all that trivial crap and focused on more important things… like meeting my deadlines at work (are you reading this, boss?).
As I’m writing this, I’m on the final day. So how do I feel? A little smug that I actually beat the odds (take that, all you cynics!)… but mostly relieved I can finally go back to the status quo. Hey, I’m only human.
So let’s review: I accomplished a seven-day social media detox (with only a minor relapse) and actually lived to tell the tale. This is what I learnt: abstaining from social media isn’t as impossible as everyone makes it out to be – really. It just takes a little self-control and distraction in the form of ice cream. More importantly, I’ve realised that the world won’t come to an end if you haven’t ‘liked’ every photo on Facebook or read every single Buzzfeed article.
So do yourself a favour; put your phone and step away from the virtual black hole that is social media once in a while. No one is going to miss your umpteenth selfie of the day – that much I can promise you.