How To Quit Social Media For Good

28 November 2023 |
Episode 23 |
41:02

Episode summary

Thinking about leaving social media? Not sure exactly how to go about it? In this episode, I share a 7-step game plan to help you quit social media for good, so that you can take back control of your time, improve your wellbeing, and focus on living your best life, in real life.
 

Episode notes

In this episode, I talk about:

  • The rising trend of quitting social media
  • The most common reasons for deciding to quit social media
  • Why giving up social media is so hard
  • The 7-step game plan to help you successfully quit social media, including:
    1. Understanding your personal “why” for quitting
    2. Defining what quitting means for you
    3. Deciding which social media platforms to quit
    4. Setting a realistic quit date
    5. Preparing yourself and your connections for your departure
    6. Removing social media from your life on quit day
    7. Living your best life without social media

Resources and tools mentioned:

 

Episode transcript

Expand to read a transcript of this episode

[00:00:34] Hey guys, welcome back to The Digital Diet Podcast. I hope you are having a great day and I hope you’re keeping warm. The weather has suddenly turned here in London. It is definitely Ugg boot season, which I am super excited about because I love being snuggly and cosy in my Uggs, basically for the whole of winter! But the gloves are out too, the beanie hat is out, and it’s this time of year where it gets so cold that the weather can make you just want to stay at home and cosy up, and do nothing except watch a lot of TV, and probably scroll social media.

[00:01:13] And if you’ve been listening for a little while, then you’ll know that we’ve been doing a little social media mini series for the last couple of months. It starts back at episode 13, and this is the final episode. So, who knew there would actually be so much to say about social media? And the crazy thing is, I still think we’ve only really scratched the surface. It’s only really been the basics. It’s changing all the time. There will be more, it’s not that we’ll never talk about social media again. But what if all the drama of social media was something that you never had to worry about ever again? What if it was a distant memory for you? Something that you just no longer identify with or can no longer relate to? Because that’s a real possibility after listening to today’s episode, which is all about how to quit social media for good.

[00:02:06] We have been on a real journey these last 10 episodes, exploring the highs and the lows of being a social media user, and I think what’s clear is that some of those lows are real low. If social media was a person in your life, and that person had the ability to make you behave differently or negatively; they had the ability to influence your emotions and your moods on a daily basis and on a whim; they took up all your time so you couldn’t get anything important done or spend that time with other people that might be important to you in your life; or they were someone that made you doubt yourself and question your life choices and achievements – and they were making money out of you while this was happening. Without hesitation, you would say that’s a bad friend.

[00:02:51] No matter what other good things they did for you and good things they brought to your life, that would just not be someone that you would need in your life. That would be an abusive, completely unbalanced, and controlling relationship. You would think, run away as fast as you can! And I don’t say that to be dramatic but, when you put it like that, there is quite a compelling case to quit social media for good. And that might explain why it’s becoming an increasingly common decision.

[00:03:19] At last check, there was 81.5 million Google search results for quitting social media, which is mind boggling. And I think the decision to quit social media for good is really a power move. It’s not easy to do, it’s not even always a popular choice with the other people in your life, they want you to stay on social networks because you’re part of their experience. But when you go for that power move, it’s really taking a stance and consciously rejecting big tech and what it’s doing to us as humans. It is reclaiming control of your life.

[00:03:52] And, anecdotally, from what I can tell, the people that do it almost never look back. And I say almost because, of course, one of the most popular ways to share in this day and age is social media. So, the irony of watching a video on YouTube of someone telling you how great life is after quitting social media isn’t lost on me. It’s also quite a clickbait style headline, “I quit social media, here’s what I learned.” It obviously stokes up intrigue, but it stokes up intrigue because it’s something that I think people are thinking about and considering more and more, as time goes on and we start to learn and understand more about the effects that social media is having on us as human beings.

[00:04:34] Now in terms of those videos, I guess technically there are many ways for it to get there without the actual person in the video touching YouTube directly; maybe they’ve got a team that’s working for them. I really want to believe that the overall message and the intention in sharing a video like that is good. The point is meant to be, life on the other side of social media is better than you could possibly imagine. And while we know that there are people who dramatically quit social media and come back a few weeks or a few months later, there is definitely a solid proportion of people who don’t.

[00:05:09] And that’s all well and good. But I think what you really want to know is, how? How do you get to the other side? Because these videos can be really motivating, they can be really inspiring, and they can remind you that, although it might not seem like it, it is possible not only to live without social media, but to thrive without it. But you need a guide. You need a play by play set of instructions, because the force of social media is strong. The grip that it has on you, the way that it has woven itself into almost every single area of your life, means that it’s not that easy to overcome.

[00:05:47] We’ve spent many episodes talking about the dopamine reward system, the way that the platforms are designed, how you’ve internalised the triggers for going on social media. You’re really battling against something that has become much bigger than you ever possibly thought that it would. So, social media is not just gonna lie down and let you go without a fight. And most likely if you’ve ever looked into how to quit, you’ll have found a couple of online articles, maybe a couple of books or parts of books, possibly some of those videos, and hopefully now you will have found this podcast, if you’re new. So, if you’ve decided that it’s time to break up with social media for good, and enough is enough, then this is my suggested game plan for you.

[00:06:30] Step #1, be clear about why you’re quitting social media. Because mindset is absolutely everything in this battle. You have to be crystal clear on your reasons for not wanting social media to be part of your life. Because when things get tough, or you feel tempted, you’re going to need to remind yourself of these reasons. And so you have to have a really strong why, it’s absolutely critical.

[00:06:59] Think about it like this: imagine that your weakness in life is double chocolate chip cookies, and you are trying to lose weight, and you’ve decided, right, I have to give up my love of double chocolate chip cookies. But then you’re in the office, or you’re at a party, and someone is passing those cookies around. The temptation to eat one is going to be outrageously strong. And it would be really easy to give in, in that moment, and make what you think is a one-time exception. But it’s a slippery slope, and as you know, willpower is hard at the best of times. It’s even harder when you’re tired, and your brain will always find it easier to slip back into habits by default, because it requires less cognitive effort.

[00:07:42] So faced with those double chocolate chip cookies, and faced with a decision, you have to keep reminding yourself of your long-term goal in order to stay strong. But you can’t do that effectively if you don’t know the why. Losing weight is the goal, but there are so many reasons why you might want to do that. Maybe you’ve got a holiday coming up, or summer is coming up and you feel like you want to fit into your holiday clothes or fit into your bikini, and look good on the beach. Maybe you’ve got a big event or a milestone coming up like a wedding, you’re getting married and you really just want to look your best for your big day. Maybe it’s health reasons, maybe you need to lose weight to reverse metabolic disease, like diabetes, or just to avoid cardiovascular issues in general.

[00:08:27] The 30-second satisfaction of eating that cookie should pale in comparison to a really strong why. It doesn’t mean that it will be easy to resist, but it’s much more motivating, when you’ve got a strong why, to stick with a decision that you’ve made that is meant to be in pursuit of a long-term goal, and is meant to benefit you overall. And I think asking yourself this question also helps you to interrogate whether you’re quitting social media for the right reasons. Because that reason has to be personal.

[00:08:58] You can’t quit social media because it seems cool and everyone else is doing it, or because someone in your life told you that you had to. You have to get really deep and you have to get really personal. Because it’s that that you’re going to have to hold on to, in those toughest moments when you first quit social media and you’re feeling tempted to get back online. And it doesn’t matter what the reason is, it just matters that it’s personal to you.

[00:09:22] Those reasons can be very similar to the reasons that people decide to take a break, which is often the first stepping stone toward quitting social media altogether. Typically, it’s that social media isn’t making you feel good, and it’s having a really negative impact on your mental or your emotional wellbeing. Sometimes it’s because social media is just too much of a distraction and it’s affecting your productivity and your focus. Or it could just be a massive time suck and it’s draining away the very precious and limited time that we all have, and ideally you’d want to use that time for something that is much more meaningful and much more important to you. Whatever the reason is, you need to know it before you do anything else when it comes to quitting social media. So get really, really deep, sit with yourself, sit with your thoughts, and think about why you want to quit.

[00:10:13] Step #2 is to define what quitting is for you. Now, I’m not suggesting that you get to rewrite the dictionary definition, but people can mean different things when they talk about quitting. For most people, it’s going to mean no longer having an account or a profile set up on all social media platforms or specific ones. It’s going to mean not actively maintaining a presence or trying to cultivate a following or cultivate connections. And it’s going to mean having no access, or at least restricted access, to certain features. So not being able to like posts, not being able to make comments, not being able to use the direct messaging features. And of course, obviously not posting your own content either.

[00:10:59] In a lot of scenarios, you’ll still be able to view social media content if someone shares a direct link to a post with you and login isn’t required. So, we can all watch YouTube and TikTok videos without logging in, but you wouldn’t be able to comment on them or like them without having an account. And there are other platforms that won’t even allow you to get the sharing link for content or to view content that’s shared with you without being a registered user. So that’s really what I think we’re talking about for most people.

[00:11:28] And right at the other extreme end, is not viewing content or sharing content from social media at all. That means refusing to follow links, even if a user account isn’t required, as is the case with YouTube or TikTok. It’s a complete and utter rejection of anything connected with social media. This is a really personal decision. It’s really going to depend on the effects that social media is having on you and your life and, ultimately, where you see yourself on the other side of this. But I think, for the purposes of today’s episode, what most people will be thinking about when they talk about quitting is that first definition, because complete and utter cut off is, in my view, almost impossible without rejecting technology and the internet completely.

[00:12:15] You’d have to go Mormon style, completely off grid, live in a village with no connection to anything, in order to really be able to stick to that 100% of the time. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I just don’t think it’s practical if you’re living a modern lifestyle, in a modern village, a modern city, a modern town. I know for myself that I just wouldn’t give up social media completely. I can definitely see a scenario and see a time when I would not have accounts on lots of the major platforms. But I know that I use YouTube for so much life stuff. I use it to find recipes to cook. I use it for a lot of DIY, so I’ve tried to figure out why my tumble dryer is not heating up, and I discovered in my grand old age that actually I’m supposed to defluff the tumble dryer!

[00:13:06] I’ve had times when the washing machine has packed in and it’s stopped mid-cycle, and it’s full of water and it won’t let me open the door, and I don’t know how to drain it. And I found the answer by going on YouTube. I use YouTube for so much business stuff and learning, where sometimes being able to watch a screen recording, a tutorial of how to use specific software is much, much easier and quicker to understand than trying to follow a written set of instructions. So, for me, I know that it’s not something that I could do. I couldn’t completely remove social media from my life in that sense, and I think a lot of people will be the same. So, for the purposes of the episode, when we talk about quitting social media, we’re really talking about not holding accounts, and not having profiles that you’re maintaining on social media platforms.

[00:13:58] Which brings me to Step #3, which is to decide if you’re going to quit all social media platforms or just specific platforms. And again, this really comes down to two factors, the personal ones and the practical ones. Obviously, the biggest benefit is going to come from saying adios, Auf Wiedersehen to all social media platforms, in all their forms, in all their glory. But, as I’ve said, I don’t always think it’s practical. It’s not even always sensible, and I’m a realist! I want to be able to do things that I can sustain. So I think for most people if one or two platforms are causing most of your problems, then focusing on those one or two platforms and quitting those, will probably offer you the biggest benefit, and you should probably see the most improvement in your wellbeing by just quitting those two platforms.

[00:14:51] It’s going to be really personal which ones they are. But that comes from being aware of and looking at your screen time breakdown and how much time you’re spending on platforms, and again, being really clear about your why for quitting social media. From a practical perspective, it’s just not always going to be possible or sensible to quit social media platforms in their entirety. And for myself, the best example I can give you of this is LinkedIn. It’s just a personal opinion, but even if I gave up social media tomorrow, I would probably still keep a LinkedIn profile.

[00:15:24] As a professional profile, I feel like it’s a slightly different domain to the way that I use other platforms. And having that LinkedIn profile somehow just gives people a sense of your professional credibility. I have seen LinkedIn details requested in job applications. I have gone and looked up people on LinkedIn that I have been working with or I’m thinking about working with. And it just gives you a degree of confidence about their authenticity and their professionalism. So when people are looking for you, I imagine if they don’t find a LinkedIn profile, it’s not always going to be as easy for them to get a sense of who you are versus perhaps some of the other candidates that you might be coming up against.

[00:16:08] Again, if you are looking for jobs or you’re just very career oriented, it’s a good place to be. It’s a place where you can find jobs. It’s a place where recruiters and companies can find you and headhunt you. LinkedIn has a learning platform so you can access learning to boost your skills. And of course, there are other ways and other places to find jobs and be found. I’m not trying to suggest that this is the only place. We all managed to find jobs and get work, and work managed to find us before the advent of LinkedIn. But I just know, for me, that it’s a pretty big one that I’m not sure I’m yet ready to give up, because I’m not sure that I would want it to cost me the possibility of an opportunity.

[00:16:50] But that’s a very personal view. There is a writer and journalist called Ryan Ferguson, who wrote a really interesting blog post about why he’s quit social media and his experiences. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. But one of the things that he said that really stuck with me in there was he said, “In the span of human history, billions of people have found jobs without LinkedIn. I will too, if the need ever arises. However,” – and I think this is the crucial bit – “I’m content in my current job. So why do I need LinkedIn? Those who are happily married do not keep their Tinder profiles, tweaking content to increase matches. So why do people in comfortable jobs obsess over LinkedIn? I struggle to find an answer.”

[00:17:35] And I think that that is a really important point that underscores how personal this decision needs to be. For Ryan, it’s fine. He’s happy in his job. He doesn’t need, or feel the need, to have LinkedIn on tap for the purposes of his career. For me, I still need it to network, to connect with people, to find work, to advertise work even when I’ve been looking for people to join different teams. So it really comes down to what role each platform plays in your life. And I think this also highlights a really important distinction between personal and professional accounts, because in my mind I mostly conceive of LinkedIn as a professional account, even though I guess it’s a personal profile. But I do know that on other platforms, the lines get a bit more blurry.

[00:18:23] So, for example, I have a few Facebook business pages connected with different businesses and different projects that I’m involved in. And it’s impossible to have one of those without a personal account. A person has to be the page admin, otherwise you can’t create a business page. And I think I would have deleted my Facebook account years ago, if that wasn’t the case. I’m not active on Facebook anymore. I forget that it’s there most of the time. I sort of bypass my personal profile and log straight into the business pages, when I even bother to use those. But it just shows you how the ecosystem is sometimes created to almost entrap you and keep you there, against your will, by giving you certain things that you do need but not necessarily the degree of control you would like about the things that you don’t need, in order to keep the bits that you do.

[00:19:11] And not every platform does that. Newer platforms like Instagram don’t require this, so it becomes possible to have a personal account and to have a separate business or professional or club account, whatever it might be. And you can even obviously have somebody manage business accounts for you, if you have a social media person that works on your team, or if you have a social media company that works for you. It’s possible to be completely hands off from social media, even as someone running a business. Leah Perlman, who was a Facebook employee who worked on the team that created the Facebook like button, later left the firm and opened her own small business. And she hired somebody else to handle her social media accounts because dealing with all the dopamine fun made her unhappy, and she recognised and realised that.

[00:20:03] So, I think give some thought to what’s most likely to work for you. Give some thought to whether you want to quit all the platforms or some of them. And I think go back to your why because that’s really going to steer you and help you make the decision that’s going to be right for you both personally and practically.

[00:20:22] Step #4 is to pick a quit date and stick to it. Now, I strongly suggest that you don’t simply wake up one morning and decide that you’re going to quit social media and then just delete everything. And I know that there are people out there that favour and advocate for the cold turkey approach or the band aid approach, just rip it off and get on with it. But I honestly think that these are the same people that find themselves back on social media within a matter of days or weeks or even months. Much like when we talked about taking a break in the previous episode, if you want to quit for good, if you want to make that decision be a sustainable one, there has to be some preparation and some planning involved.

[00:21:07] So I recommend that you decide on a date in the future that will be your quit date. I would recommend that it’s at least one week away, but it could be up to a month away, depending on how many platforms you plan to quit or how active you’ve been over the years, because that will give you enough time to prepare yourself and to prepare your connections, and give everyone enough notice before you disappear for good. And once you’ve picked a quit date, that’s it, that’s a bold move. Mark the date in your calendar and let the countdown begin. That date, as I said, can be at any time that you want it to be but, if it helps, some people also find it useful to tie that date in with something else that’s happening in life.

[00:21:50] So, a popular time would be New Year; people make New Year’s resolutions that they’re going to quit social media. If that gives you the extra momentum and the extra motivation that you need, it can’t be a bad thing. Sometimes people decide that it’s going to be by the time of their next birthday, or they’re going to do it when they start a new job, or if they’re starting up a business and they don’t want the distraction. Honestly, this is tough to do. I’m not trying to pretend that it isn’t. So anything that gives you that little extra push and that little extra motivation is going to help. Because all we want you to do is have that quit date and stick to it, not to reach the quit date and then realise that actually maybe you need another week or two, or you’re not quite ready. So pick something that feels reasonable and comfortable, but not so comfortable that you won’t actually do it and it’s too far in the future. As I said, a week to a month is probably about right.

[00:22:44] Step #5 is to prepare yourself and to prepare your connections. So the first thing that I think you should do is update your profile description and put up a final post on each of the platforms that you’re going to be quitting. You need to let people know that you’re not going to be available on social media anymore. You can thank them for their time and their engagement with you, especially if you’re someone that’s been particularly active or you’ve received a lot of support from the social media community over the years. And you may have seen this yourself when big figures or just people that have a large following leave social media. It feels a bit like a courtesy, I would say, to just thank the community for what they provided, because at the end of the day, that’s what social media was meant to be for. It was meant to be about connecting you with people, and so if there are people that have followed your work, or supported your work, or supported you personally, it’s always a nice little touch, I think, just to recognise that, and acknowledge it, and thank people for it.

[00:23:46] And then the other thing that you need to do, is to tell people where and how they can get in touch with you once you go dark. You don’t have to explain why you’re leaving, unless you really feel that that’s something you want to offer. I think sometimes it can be quite cathartic to do it or it can preempt the inevitable questions that might come when you put up a post like this, so that people aren’t then saying in the comments, “well, why are you doing this?” And you get drawn into a kind of long back and forth and a long narrative. But it’s very personal, so again, you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone, you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

[00:24:20] So update your profile description, make your final post, and again, I would do this anywhere from a week to a month before your quit date. So pretty much as soon as you’ve made the decision, so that you’re giving people enough time to see it, enough time to come across it, enough time to note down how to get in touch with you if they need to.

[00:24:39] The next thing that you need to do to prepare is to download any information that you want to have and you want to save. Before you completely wipe your accounts, download photos, download videos, download contact information. And I know that this might feel a bit like a chore initially, but you’ll definitely appreciate it in the long run, because there will be things, particularly pictures I think, that are timeless and will be lost forever to you if you delete your account without taking them down. And the more of your life that you’ve documented on social media, the more important this step is going to be.

[00:25:16] I’m old enough to remember the time when you used to have to get your photos developed. You took pictures on a camera, you didn’t take them on your phone, the quality wasn’t good enough. You took the film to a shop, the shop developed your photos, including all the rubbish ones, and then you got them back. And you actually had them printed in your hand to hold, you could put them up on the wall, you could put them in frames, whatever. We don’t have that anymore. People tend to use social media platforms as their place where they document their lives in photographs, in videos. They document what they were doing and, not wrongly, but we assume that that will be there forever, right? That’s the place that we store all those memories and we’ll always be able to access them.

[00:25:58] But if you quit social media and you close down your account, you will lose access to those things. There’s no way to get them back. If you come back to social media after quitting, you decide to return, you’ll be creating a new account. You don’t get your old account back. So make sure that anything that you think you are going to want, you download and save somewhere else. So save it on a Google Drive, on a Dropbox, wherever it is that you like to store your files. So that you don’t lose your memories, because I think that is so, so precious.

[00:26:29] And I think when it comes to contacts, that there are some contacts that you will invariably have on social media where you have no other means of connecting with them. You’ve never needed it before. There are people that you just meet when you’re traveling, for example, or that you met one time at a conference. You connected with them on social media because that’s kind of the done thing these days. People stopped swapping business cards or asking for telephone numbers and email addresses and just went, “oh, are you on Instagram or are you on LinkedIn?” and then you connected. So, it’s really important that you download those contact details or you find out what the alternative contact details are for those people, so that you don’t lose those connections.

[00:27:08] Some of these platforms have made it super easy for you to download all of your data with one click. I’ll see if I can find some videos to put in the show notes for the most popular platforms. It’s not always in the most obvious place, and there are of course some platforms where they haven’t made it easy at all, probably because they don’t want you to leave, but it’s not impossible. So I know, although it feels like a big chore, set aside some time, maybe a weekend, maybe two weekends, but don’t give up. Make sure that you take away anything that is actually meaningful and important to you before you close down your account for good.

[00:27:42] And the last part of planning and preparation is to decide and plan what you’re going to do with your newfound freedom. Because stopping using social media is going to give you so much free time. You need to know what you’re going to do to fill it. Now maybe you already know, maybe it ties back to your why for quitting social media in the first place. But if it doesn’t intuitively tie back to that, then you should know that boredom and the withdrawal symptoms that you feel are really hard to manage, and they’re really, really common feelings. So taking up a new hobby or rediscovering an old passion can sometimes be a really helpful way to combat those feelings that are uncomfortable to sit with.

[00:28:24] Plus, of course, when you shut down your social media accounts, you are closing yourself off to what has been a really quick and easy, cheap source of dopamine. And your brain is going to be super uncomfortable and it’s going to be looking for another dopamine hit. When you’ve cut it off from its main dealer, you’re going to have to supply it from somewhere else. That desire to hop back on social media is a habit. It’s going to be so well ingrained that the desire to do it is going to be really, really strong. Much stronger, probably, than you’re even expecting. And it’s asking a lot of your willpower to just resist that temptation and sit with the uncomfortable feelings.

[00:29:02] So I always say, think about what it is you’re going to do with your free time. What is social media giving back to you? And how are you going to make the most of that newfound time? There are great new hobbies that you can pick up. You can start cooking, you can start reading, you can play music, you could write, you can journal, you can take up a sport, start hiking, go climbing, adopt a pet, start gardening, travel more. Just find the passion that really, really speaks to you, and then go after it with gusto. Book those tickets, book that class, sign up to the gym or that sports club, buy a whole stack of books to read, whatever it is, just get it ready so that you’ve got everything on hand and you’re ready to go as soon as you hit quit day.

[00:29:51] Step #6 is your quit day actions. So, you have arrived, right? The countdown is finished, it is quit day, you can see the day in your diary. Here’s what you need to do. Number one, you need to go in and delete your accounts. Don’t just delete the apps because that does not remove your data. It doesn’t shut down your account and it also means that it will be very, very easy for you to get back on social media if you slip up. Again, the social platforms don’t make this as easy or as obvious as they could do because they don’t want you to leave. So I will again try to find some videos that just show you where those controls are on the most popular platforms.

[00:30:32] You will probably be prompted several times to make sure that you want to do it. And in some cases, yes, if you were accidentally about to delete your account, you would want to know that you were about to lose access to everything and all your data would be deleted. But the cynic in me kind of thinks this is the social media platforms testing your resolve, like, “are you sure you really want to do this because you really will not be able to get this back, you will not be able to access all the connections you had, you’d have to start from scratch, you will not be able to access all your content.” And it’s normal at this point, I think, to get cold feet, to have a little wobble, because it makes it seem like it’s really serious.

[00:31:12] And that’s why you do the whole of the planning and the preparation step. That’s why you don’t just wake up one morning and decide to quit. Because you now know that you have a way to maintain contact with all of your connections. You now know that you have saved all your photos, and all your videos and memories of all the great times that you’ve had. So it’s okay to go ahead and press that button. So go ahead and do it, delete your account, but make a moment of it; press the button and then breathe.

[00:31:42] Now that your account is deleted, you don’t need the apps anymore. So you can also now go ahead and delete the apps from your devices, mostly your phone or your tablet. You can go in and you can delete your browsing history, if you are using a computer, remove the cookies, remove bookmarks that are associated with social media. And then if you really, really, really want an added layer of security, which I think if you prepared enough you won’t need, but just in case you need it, you can install various blockers that will restrict your access to social media apps and to social media websites. I’ve talked about them in previous episodes, so I will put a link to a few in the show notes, but that is really making it hard for you to get back on social media. Because now you have to go in and you have to unblock or unrestrict access. And then you have to download the app again. And then you have to sign up and create a new account. And those three whole steps are much, much harder than when you just used to tap on the icon and fire up your social media profile.

[00:32:47] And once you’ve done all of that, you’re free. Which means it’s time to treat yourself and it’s time to celebrate. Because let’s face it, what you are doing might sound simple, but it’s actually really, really hard. Everyone is on social media, or at least that’s what it feels like. And that means giving up social media, even with all of this preparation, and all of this thinking, and a really strong and clear why, is going to make you feel a little bit disconnected. It’s going to make you feel a little bit separate from the rest of the world. And you’re going to feel a little bit like something is missing, because something is different. But the rewards are absolutely worth it.

[00:33:26] So in order to navigate these very mixed emotions that you might be feeling, and in honour of giving up social media, which is really hard to do, you deserve to treat yourself. Go and have your favourite meal. Go and watch your favourite movie. Take a holiday. Whatever reward you need to give yourself, to give yourself the pat on the back that you deserve for having just done something that is super hard to do in this day and age. You deserve it. Go out and get that ice cream that you’ve been craving. Take yourself on a little shopping spree to celebrate your new outlook on life. I don’t care what it is, but just know that you’ve done something that very few people will ever do and you deserve to reward yourself for that.

[00:34:09] And the final step, Step #7, is to just start living your best life, baby. Start living your best life and document it in the old fashioned way. Because hopefully now that you’re on the other side, you are doing all of those things that social media was holding you back from. And if you identified things to do during the preparation stage, then that should be giving you a place to channel all your energy whenever things start to feel a bit uncomfortable, or you feel tempted to go back on social media. And once the initial few days and weeks pass, which is when it will be most uncomfortable, you should start to feel the benefits and the effects of having quit social media get stronger every day.

[00:34:49] And you may be tempted to share this, right? And weirdly, your intuition will want you to go on social media and tell everybody how great life without social media is, which is how we end up with those videos on YouTube, which I described. But you can still share it the old fashioned way, right? You can still talk to people, talk to friends, talk to family, talk to colleagues, and tell them what you’re experiencing. You don’t have to broadcast it. There are ways to share it without using social media, so I talked about some of those articles as well, which has become really popular with blogging. You don’t have to touch a social media platform to do that.

[00:35:23] But better still, keep a journal. Now if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, then you’ll know that I’m a big fan of journalling. I think it really helps you to get inside of your own head, deconstruct your thoughts, get them out of your head, and make sense of them. You can start to see patterns, you can start to connect the dots. And I think that this can be a really good way to not just help you grieve the loss of social media from your life, and all of those negative and uncomfortable feelings and anxieties that come up, but also help you start to really become aware of the positive effects. The things that you can now do, the things that you’re now feeling, because there will be so many of them.

[00:36:04] And I think if you start to journal on a daily basis – you don’t have to take very long, it doesn’t have to be complicated – just open up a notebook and write whatever comes to you, whatever you’re thinking, whatever you’re feeling. But I guarantee you that you will have a much greater and much more heightened awareness of how incredible your life is on the other side, if you start to document it and take notes, and you can see it written down on paper in front of you, instead of it just swirling round your head.

[00:36:31] So there you have it, that is the 7-step game plan to help you quit social media for good. And, if the stories are to be believed, most people who push past that uncomfortable first bit often never look back, and they report this new perspective on life and everything that it has to offer. Quitting social media is ambitious, to say the least, but it is completely achievable. And, I will say this, just to be completely honest and be realistic, nothing is permanent. If, further down the line, you have a need to, or you want to start using social media again, then there’s also no shame in doing so. It’s just different strokes for different folks.

[00:37:10] I’ve already said that I don’t think I would quit social media. But, clearly, in my capacity as a Digital Wellness Coach and a human being, I really want to have a better relationship with social media where I have more control over what role it plays in my life, and how I use it. And so at different times in your life, social media may have different effects on you, you may have different uses for it, and that’s okay. Life isn’t static, life changes. So if you do go back on social media, then also just remember that there are tons of useful and practical tips about navigating it in a way that isn’t detrimental to your wellbeing throughout the other 10 episodes of this little social media mini series.

[00:37:50] So, if you do quit and you manage to stick it out, amazing. That is a huge feat. But if you find that you need to go back on social media, don’t beat yourself up. It doesn’t mean that you have to go straight back to square one and find yourself back in the place that made you want to quit in the first place. There is also a happy medium.

[00:38:09] That’s it for today’s episode and also brings us to the end of our mini social media series. There’s no official challenge this week, but obviously if quitting social media is something that you’ve been toying with in your mind, then I really hope that you found this play-by-play, step-by-step plan helpful, and that you’re feeling empowered to make the break away. It’s something I’ve never personally attempted because I don’t think it would quite work for me in my life and the things that I do, but I definitely love the idea. So I would love to hear from you if you’re thinking about it.

[00:38:43] I’d love to know what your reasoning is, what’s your why, and crucially how you find things on the other side. Is your life better? Is it really the way that all these videos and articles describe? And the place to let me know and to discuss the episode is in The Digital Diet Lounge, which is my dedicated community space for all things digital wellness. I will put a link to it in the show notes, and you can find the show notes over on my website at thedigitaldietcoach.com/023.

[00:39:14] I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode and the whole of the social media miniseries in general. I know that it’s been a real deep dive that we have had and we’ve been really, really focused. It is December already at the end of the week, so as we start to wind down for the year and we start to roll into Christmas, I’m going to be keeping it light hearted for the next few episodes. There’ll still be all the usual practical hints and tips, but there are some really quirky stories that I’ve encountered since entering the digital wellness space, which I’d really love to share with you all. And although a lot of them are actually quite funny and quite hilarious, at least in my opinion, I think there are some great messages and some takeaways at the heart of them. They are great cautionary tales, and it’s a really fun way to look at some of the modern day dilemmas that technology poses. So if you haven’t already done so, make sure that you subscribe to the podcast wherever you’re listening, so that you automatically get notified when those episodes drop and you don’t miss a thing.

[00:40:16] I know you’re busy and your time is incredibly valuable. So, as always, I thank you for choosing to spend a little of your day with me and I’ll see you next time.

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Marisha Pink

Meet Marisha

Marisha Pink is a Certified Digital Wellness Coach who is on a mission to empower women everywhere to live life more intentionally in an age of digital distractions. She helps women create healthier digital habits that better balance the technology in their lives, so that they can take back control of their time, reclaim their happiness, and live their best lives offline.

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