I Deleted My Social Media for a Week. Here’s How My Life Changed.

How life without social media influenced my happiness, relationships, and productivity.

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.
Courtesy of KayWalker / Shutterstock
Courtesy of KayWalker / Shutterstock

Welcome to our special section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus). We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

Nearly every person in my generation has some form of social media. Our phones are constantly buzzing with some bit of new information, and we always seem to make time for our phones, but rarely do we make enough time for face-to-face conversations with our loved ones.

After writing my first article for Thrive, I began to seriously reevaluate my use of social media, and how it was taking away from my ability to get the most out of every day. I decided to delete Instagram and Snapchat (the only forms of social media I use) for a week to see how my productivity, happiness, and relationships might change.

The First Day

In the beginning, I definitely was very aware of my lack of social media use. While I hadn’t been a big user of Snapchat in recent years, I scrolled through Instagram frequently, and it had become a habitual distraction for my ‘in-between moments,’ moments when I wasn’t doing any particular task.

When I opened my phone, I often realized there wasn’t really anything for me to do on it, aside from making a call or sending a text (I don’t have games on my phone). I started to have more time on my hands to do other activities when I’d typically be aimlessly using social media. 

The Third Day

By the third day, I had definitely become more comfortable with the idea of my phone being a tool for communicating with friends, family, and my bosses, rather than an instinctive distraction. When I used my phone, it was to respond to a person, rather than to pick my phone up for one task and end up lost in the Instagram void for 15 minutes.

I found myself replacing social media with activities I never thought I had time for or didn’t allot enough time for, such as reading The New York Times, spending more time on my hobbies, or watching informational videos.

The Seventh Day

By the end of my initial trial period, I didn’t miss social media at all. In fact, when I later re-downloaded some of the apps, I realized I didn’t even want to be back on social media and deleted them again. Weeks later, I currently have Instagram and Snapchat on my phone again. However, the apps’ notifications are off and I have gotten so used to not using the apps that I often forget I have them.

My social media hiatus greatly helped my productivity, happiness, and interpersonal relationships. Instead of snapchatting my friends, specifically ones I had not talked to in a while, I called them on FaceTime and had a much more enriching conversation.

This experiment was incredibly eye-opening for me in terms of what was best for me and my happiness. On a night when I was at home alone, I wasn’t able to look at anyone’s Instagram or Snapchat stories, so very infrequently did I feel left out. Without social media, I felt happier and more fulfilled. If you have ever considered deleting your social media apps, I would strongly recommend trying it out. Even if you decide that you prefer to have social media, you will gain a better understanding of the purpose of social media in your life.

Subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis

You might also like...

"Love in Food in Fiji," by Sruti Bandlamuri
Well-Being//

2020 Could Be Your Best Year Yet — Just Follow These Fijian Ways of Life

by Sruti Bandlamuri
Photo by Maddie Howard
Thrive on Campus//

5 Feminist Books for Valentine’s Day Skeptics

by Madeline Howard
Jenner Images/ Getty Images
Mindful Screening//

Navigating Social Media and College

by Sloane Carlisle Kratzman
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.