The Five-Day Social Media Challenge

I went five days without social media, and here’s how it went.

Image of iPhone screen with social media apps
Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

A few weeks ago, I didn’t have the motivation to write or keep up with routines. Instead of finding new ways to overcome my lack of motivation, I fell victim to it. I spent two days mindlessly scrolling on my phone for hours.

Although I was unmotivated, I was bothered that I wasn’t working towards my goals. It bothered me that I was wasting my time doing nothing. My need to work toward my goals helped me think of something I could write about in the future.

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

The next day I tossed my phone aside.

The challenge was to avoid social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. The goal was to catch my mind when it wandered and focus on replacing negative distractions with productive alternatives.

By the end of the week, I discovered scary truths that I was determined to rewrite.

Day One: The Discovery of the Trigger Thumb

The first couple of hours without clutching my phone went great. I immediately started working on completing productive chores. I cleaned the entire house in less than two hours, and I felt accomplished.

Because I finished so early, I decided to reflect and even do additional things such as dry the dishes and put them away instead of leaving them out. I felt proud, but because I finished early, I had to figure out what I was going to do for the rest of the day.

When the afternoon rolled around, the motivation to write dissipated, and I felt the need to log into social media.

Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

Day Two: The Invisible Pressure

When I woke up in the morning, I was determined to stay constantly aware of my trigger thumb. I meditated, read some motivating literature, and worked on my projects. I felt accomplished because I went the entire day without mindlessly logging into social media.

However, I noticed two scary things about myself:

  • my mind constantly felt the need to “retreat” whenever I was bored, unmotivated, uninterested, or stressed.
  • I was itching to tune into what everyone else was doing. I somehow felt this invisible pressure to stay in the loop.

There were moments when my boyfriend would ask me if I’d seen what he sent me on TikTok. I would reply with, —

No love, I’m taking a break from social media.

Immediately after saying that, I would feel anxious to find out what it was. This feeling was comparable to someone screaming out loud, — hey, what’s that?!

The hardest part was fighting the urge to look. By the second day, I was battling curiosity and mustering the will to stay focused.

Day Three: The Wandering Mind

I was determined to focus my attention on my mind. I challenged myself to write how I felt during tasks, feelings of boredom, and stress.

I wrote more on this day than I had in months. I conversed with myself for a few hours before I got tasks done. I wrote down some things that made me feel less anxious and stressed after I completed them.

Some of them were:

  • Making the house tidy and neat — I felt significantly less stressed out, knowing everything was clean.
  • Writing and talking to myself helped me find the root of my distractions — instead of forcing myself to write, I challenged myself to find inspiration in alternative places.
  • Avoidance makes my anxiety and stress worse — instead of avoiding the problem, I challenged myself to face it head-on.
Image of two hands passing and accepting a black paper shaped heart.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Day Four: Reconnecting with Myself

At this point, the urge to stay up to date went away. My trigger thumb was gone. Some positives were that I wasn’t clutching onto my phone 24/7.

For the first time in a while, I felt happy with myself and my state of mind. Before this challenge, I felt anxious and stressed. By the fourth day, I felt as if I reconnected with an old friend.

I realized that it had been a while since I checked in with myself.

Day Five: Concluding Thoughts

While I was searching for alternative positive ways to distract myself, I noticed three things:

  • I listen to music or watch movies whenever I’m showering, eating, or doing chores. There’s never a time when I’m not distracting my mind with my phone.
  • My emotionally overloaded mind needs to be listened to, understood, and appreciated.
  • Meditation and reflection aren’t enough. Constant awareness is needed to achieve a peaceful state of mind before, during, and after daily activities.

My challenge to you

In the beginning, I assumed that my habits weren’t that bad. I attempted to dilute the truth when my habits ultimately led me to burnout. After completing the five-day challenge, I stood away from social media for the remainder of the following week.

Those five days allowed me to discover, reflect, and reconnect with myself in more ways than one. I realized that all it takes is a little time, patience, and awareness to discover things you didn’t know were there before.

Since this challenge helped me, I want to challenge you to log out of social media for five days. Do this and tell me how your experience went and what you learned!

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