My Holiday Without Social Media  And How It Affected My Life

My Holiday Without Social Media

It was literally the best and worst holiday I have ever had. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m addicted to aimlessly scrolling through Twitter or googling every inane fact that crosses my mind. So having to live for three weeks without the internet was hell. If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been these past few weeks: off the grid…and it wasn’t as good as all those life coaches make it out to be.

butterfly_outlineSocial

My social media poison of choice is Twitter. I use it to keep up with pop culture shenanigans, book news (and drama), worldwide news and waste time. This might sound weird but it physically hurt not knowing what some of favourite celebrities were up to. I had this recurring nightmare of one of them dying and I wouldn’t know about it because I didn’t have the internet and no one in my family cares about the same people as I do. The horror.

I don’t normally post on Instagram but I love scrolling through my discover feed and suffering from FOMO. That didn’t stop me from taking thousands of pictures with my cousins and my family. Pictures that I’ll back up online and never look at again.

Youtube

One of my favourite things to do on the internet is watch Youtube videos, especially makeup tutorials, sometimes I’ll watch gameplay walkthroughs and apartment tours but makeup tutorials are my hermetia. I had the forethought to download a few indulgent ones before I left but eventually they weren’t enough to sustain my addiction. I watched them over and over again until I knew every single eye shadow blend, every winged eyeliner move, every joke about matching foundation and all that was left was a gaping hole in my chest screaming for more.

What I didn’t miss about the Makeup Youtuber community was the drama and the racism. Racism is an on-going discussion in this community. Some of the biggest names are racist bigots and constantly getting outed for their racist ways but there’s always an excuse to support their favourite white gay™ racist fave but that’s a discussion for another time.

Google

“When rain falls from the sky, does it gradually disintegrate and reaches the earth as droplets instead of one huge drop of water?” – a weird thought that I would have loved to google but couldn’t. I get so many random thoughts and questions every day that I don’t know the answer to. Google would have helped me a lot. When I was listening to a song I so desperately wanted to sing along with but I didn’t know the lyrics; I couldn’t google them for a sing off session. I couldn’t google reviews of media I consumed to see if anyone would validate my opinion with their think-piece.

Blogging and Books

I missed updating my Goodreads shelf and adding all the books that I want to read, have read or I’m currently reading. I feel woefully behind on new releases and overall book drama. Is it weird that I missed the occasional drama of the book community???

Blogging – I missed blogging. Sometimes this feels stressful and I don’t want to think about it but I had so many post ideas while I was away that I can’t wait to share with you.

Mental Health

I’d love to say my mental health was better without the social media influence because sometimes I get affected by the things that I see on the internet but there wasn’t a huge improvement. Anything has the potential to be a trigger for my eating disorder, mood disregulation and anxiety.

Some of my coping mechanisms rely a lot on the internet and some of my triggers are on the internet. Watching Youtube videos and reading fanfiction online are two of my favourite coping mechanisms for evading stress and anxiety and without the internet I just had my thoughts and books. Certain social media posts on Twitter and Instagram can trigger my mental illness bringing up feelings of not being good enough, not doing enough and not trying hard enough.

Benefits:

  • My battery life lasted so much without constant use of the internet. I used my phone mostly to read eBooks and play games.
  • I saved so much money on airtime and data. Data is insanely expensive in South Africa and criminally so in Zimbabwe.
  • It was a positive and a negative for my mental health.

Is this something that I will (forcibly) try again? Definitely not. Although I’m not completely addicted to the internet, this holiday really did put my internet use into perspective for me. I’ll try not to be online so much anymore especially on Twitter and Instagram.

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Have you ever taken a social media or internet detox before? Either voluntary or involuntary such as mine. If not, would you ever consider it?

23 thoughts on “My Holiday Without Social Media  And How It Affected My Life

  1. Thank you for talking about your experience, Sakhile! I go on voluntary Twitter hiatus sometimes when I feel like my mental health is suffering from being on there but otherwise I’m just constantly on the internet and I wouldn’t know what to do without it. I don’t use other social media other than Twitter and Goodreads and I can do without those I guess but not being able to google stuff I need or read the news would be awful. Also I rely on the internet to communicate with my friends and family since we don’t live in the same countries. In other words, I’d be totally lost without it, so I don’t think I’d ever consider doing a full voluntary detox. Cutting back a little in some areas would be nice though.

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    1. I’m never doing a full detox ever again, whether voluntary or not. I need the internet. I could do without other social media apps but not Twitter, I’m not even that active on there, I just scroll endlessly

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  2. Oof honestly I’ve done both and I don’t mind going offline if it’s my choice, but when it’s not and it’s just down to the fact that I’m without WiFi and I don’t use my data. It sorta sucks, as I love being online BUT I’ve come to realise that I shouldn’t be online constantly. Twitter is also my poison and at times a strong one, as I’m easily distracted on there hehe.

    I’ve been experimenting with having Wednesdays as social media free days. So far i succeeded on one, and failed the last one since I totally forgot. I’m not too worried as long as I manage to to go 3/4 weds free from social media. I’d not be able to do a week long or month long detox though, but a day detox is enough for me to just have a break, breathe and remember that I don’t need to be on it constantly.

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    1. That sounds like a good idea. I’m going to try that, going offline for one day. I think my biggest problem (excluding Twitter) is that I want to Google everything: tv shows, books, articles and I end up getting sucked into this endless cycle of hell

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      1. oof yeah I get that, I mean I’m just offline aka social media so: instagram, twitter, goodreads but I may still go on Pinterest since I class it as a search engine and I’ll be on Discord still

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  3. I definitely missed you! I was wondering where you were for a while now! Glad that you’re back!
    I couldn’t imagine going three weeks without social media. I think I have a problem. I remember last year when I took a small break because something personal had happened but I kept sneaking back on and scrolling through twitter 😅 now if I get annoyed by it, I just mute people. I remember one time our internet was down and our tv connection because there were works on the power lines near where I work — that was about three weeks too I think and if I wanted to go online I had to use my own data which sucked 🙄 But I agree: getting off social media isn’t as amazing as everyone says it is
    And I’m the same: I google so much, every time something pops into my head.
    super happy you’re back now! 😘💕

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  4. “I couldn’t google reviews of media I consumed to see if anyone would validate my opinion with their think-piece.” I feel called out!
    This is such an interesting post, much more nuanced than most posts I’ve read about social media detoxes. A lot of them are all sunshine and unicorns, so I appreciate your honesty. I could do a social media detox, I’m not that active anyway. But being completely offline would be much harder. I’d miss blogging so much!

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  5. Reading your post reminded me of the time I decided to stay out of social media. 😂😂😂 I tried but I think it lasted for 6 days. I couldn’t deal with the FOMO of being offline on twitter and Instagram. This two platforms are my poison. It is true that I’m using this platforms to distract myself. I don’t want to even talk about how much data I use per month. When I run out I even use my mum’s phone as hotspot for my obsession of being online. Yeah this is getting out of control but I have to come to realize that I don’t have to be online all the time so I have to search for a hobbie so I read hard copies instead of ebooks, I buy myself data for a month and if the data runs out. I don’t top it up until when there’s a need such as checking my emails and talking to friends.

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    1. I’m the same! When I think about how much I have spent on data just this month (and it’s not even over) it makes me cringe.

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  6. Although I hate doing it, I’m always on Twitter to keep up with the news and when I take a day off I always feel better, but then feel out of the loop if something happens. And blogging would definitely be hard as well but that’s awesome you were able to take a break and feel better in the end x

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  7. The closest I’ve taken what could count as a social media detox was after a category five hurricane hit us in 2017! Power went out, and so did everything else and I think it lasted around two or three weeks so I know the feeling. Then, after that it was just getting some signal on a random window and hoping it would be strong enough to connect with everyone on the interwebs! In a way it was horrible because of what we were going through and not knowing about your family outside the island really sucked, BUT at the same time it was a nice experience because it helped me read like the seven books I had left on my physical TBR and also some ebooks I had been stuck with for some time! I also wrote lots of reviews and well, that’s the only good side of it! But, to be honest, I’d only consider taking another social media detox—this time voluntarily—if it means I’ll be traveling and be busy as a tourist somewhere with no phone signal and barely any wifi like I did this summer! THAT WAY it is kind of fun.

    Anyway, sorry you had such a hard time without sm. I know the feeling. I can’t help scrolling through twitter all the time either, lol.

    ~L. @ Reviews by Leeve

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  8. This is an interesting perspective and definitely something we should all think about from time to time! I don’t know if I could go three weeks without social and internet but it would be interesting to try sometime!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have a love-hate relationship with the internet. I tell my self I need to back away and I can, but often find my self missing the interaction with internet friends. Just wish I could find a better balance I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

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