I finally had had enough. I deleted social media from my phone. The mindless scrolling was taking a toll on my mental health and my productivity.
We read all about how our phones are sucking the life out of us and causing us to disconnect from our reality, but I finally was seeing the effects to a point where I couldn’t even pinpoint what was wrong with me. I was walking through the days and weeks in a fog. Not understanding why I was in a mood or anxious. I snapped at my husband, my daughters, my students, and my co-workers. My disconnect with my own mental wellness was coming out angry.
I finally had to take a morning and just meditate and pray about what was going on inside my head. When I took the time to check in with myself I had the sudden realization of all the anger and hate I was seeing on my social media feed was infiltrating and settling into my subconscious.
What I Did About It
I had been talking about deleting social media off my phone for months by the time I finally pulled the trigger. (Not just deleting it off my screen, but the entire app.) I didn’t want to have access to it at all. The only way I wanted to access Facebook would be through my computer.
Full disclosure: I left Instagram and Facebook Messenger on my phone. I felt like I was not as tempted to mindlessly scroll or be distracted by those two things. I also use Facebook messenger for my side business and for an accountability group. Eventually, I did put a time limit on Instagram. I noticed that if I started getting into “suggested posts” I would end up in another rabbit hole of emotionally charged posts.
Why I Did It
In my mind, Facebook was my biggest weakness. I would come home and spend hours on my phone looking through Facebook, checking out the “drama” in different groups, and looking through old memories with friends who I no longer speak with… then I would look up and realize it was time for bed for my kids. Did I even interact with them and did I give them a hug or kiss before I became absorbed in my phone? Did I even ask my husband how his day was?
I didn’t start to realize how much this mindless scrolling was affecting my mental health until I broke down crying at work to a coworker. The amount of pressure I was feeling as a teacher finally got to me, but I didn’t know where it was coming from. I knew it wasn’t my administration making me feel this way, and I knew it wasn’t my team of teachers. It was the pressure of different school groups and parent groups that I was in, seeing their posts or comments was taking a toll on me. Not to mention family and friends that would post things about education that would break my heart.
It was then that I realized I had to delete social media.
Mental Health Benefits
The first few days of not having Facebook on my phone I was at a loss of what to do with my hands and my time.
My husband and I would sit on the couch to watch our nightly show and instead of picking up my phone to look at Facebook, I sat there actually watching the show! (What a concept!?) My husband and I would talk about things we had heard on a podcast we both listen to.
My attitude towards my daughters improved because I was interacting with them and playing with them. Their attitudes also changed towards me. Their willingness to listen increased since I was taking the time to listen to them.
My work with my students became more enjoyable since I wasn’t looking mindlessly at negative education posts.
Sticking With It
Of course, we all say we should spend less time on our phones. However, what do we really do about it? Maybe we are good about not overriding our timers for a few weeks, or putting our phone far away so we aren’t tempted by it. Then a few weeks pass and we feel good about ourselves. So we reward ourselves with being on our phone more; only to find ourselves right back where we started.
I have been tempted to log in from the web browser on my phone. But all of the extra steps to get logged in have deterred me from checking in on Facebook. The timer for my other social media reminds me that I have spent my allotted time there and it’s time to do something else with my life. Deleting social media altogether is the next step.
The reward of having my time back to be productive and take time to enjoy the things I love is proving to be stronger than the need to watch my life while staring at a screen. I am trying new crafting projects, reading books for fun instead of listening to them, playing with my family, and the list goes on.
I am not 100% sure the reason why we don’t feel like we can delete Facebook.
Maybe it’s FOMO. Or that we will miss something important. It could be the fear that we will lose contact with friends or family.
I’m here to tell you that you aren’t missing out on anything. Now, I only log into Facebook for 5 minutes every 3 days because the majority of the things I need to know I just call or text those people. I know who my real friends and family are because I see them face to face, talk to them or text them.
This is your invite to delete the social media completely off your phone for two weeks to see if you notice a difference in your own mental health.
Read more about prioritizing your mental health HERE.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of The We Spot, it’s employees, sponsors, or affiliates.