7-Day digital detox: My week without social media

08 Jan 2020
By Grace J., Student at Bournemouth University

When I realised my phone was the first thing I looked at in the morning and the last thing before going to sleep, I knew something had to change. Social media is highly addictive. Too much phone use has been linked to increased anxiety and bad sleep.

I slept really well, which is such a bonus.

So, I decided to cut back. Could I go a week without social media? And, by cutting back, could I feel more content and happier? There was only one way to find out.

Monday: ‘I’m sceptical…’

So today is the day that I’ve decided to go through with a digital detox for the whole week. I’m sceptical about how this is going to go as a week seems like a long time without social media, but I am definitely up for the challenge.

I thought, as I’m back from university for Christmas, it would be a good time to do it as it means I get to spend more time with my family before going back.

Tuesday: ‘I slept really well’

I slept really well, which is such a bonus.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I spent so much longer deciding what to wear as usually I would go on Instagram or Pinterest to help me choose. This time it was just me. However, eventually I decided to go for the most basic outfit of jeans and a jumper.

Secondly, I went to bed early because I wasn’t staring at my phone, constantly refreshing Facebook until the early hours – I’m sure we’ve all been there! So, I slept really well, which is such a bonus.

Wednesday: ‘I called my friends’

Today I’m missing social media and seeing what my favourite youtubers are up to at the moment, so my mom suggested we go out for lunch. The whole time at the café I did not think about my phone once. It was really lovely to have a catch up with her and talk about how university is going and find out what she has been up to recently. I reckon I’ll leave my phone at home more often after this week because it’s nice to feel present and listen to what is going on with others.

I called my friends instead as I couldn’t message them on social media this week and had one of my favourite conversations with them. It just goes to show how much impact actually hearing their voice can have on your conversation.

Thursday: ‘I felt peaceful’

I’ve noticed I feel like I have a lot more time than I am used to, when in reality I have the same amount, I’m just not on my phone for most of it! So, this morning I decided to go for a run, which is somewhat unusual for me, but as I had the time I thought why not?

Today I felt peaceful because I didn’t have notifications through my phone that I had the urge to check the moment I woke up. Instead, I felt I could get ready at my own pace and feel more relaxed as there wasn’t a constant distraction.

Friday: ‘Books are getting me to sleep quicker’

Over the last year, I have been reaching for my phone over books. However, as I do not have my phone this week it has been the opposite and I’ve come to realise how much I miss reading. Currently, I am reading Notes on a Nervous Planet, which I highly recommend. Books have also been getting me to sleep quicker, which if you struggle to fall asleep like me, I totally recommend picking up a good book rather than your phone.

I’ve not been missing social media as much as I did at the start of the week and have been getting the hang of making decisions on my own rather than sending a message to a friend to help me. I’m definitely getting used to it.

Saturday: ‘I have more time on my hands’

As I have exams coming up when I go back to university, I have a lot of revision I need to do. By not having my phone and feeling like I have more time on my hands, this has benefitted me hugely as I have been getting lots done.

Speaking of getting a lot done, I’ve been sorting out my room and getting rid of old things. It made everything feel cleaner, which I loved.

Sunday: ‘Many positives came from this’

So, I’ve reached the end of my digital detox week! I wasn’t sure if I would be able to without going on social media for at least a little bit, but I did and I’m proud of myself.

I didn’t find it as hard as I thought I would and found myself thinking about social media less and less throughout the week. I will reach for my phone less after this week for sure as I know it has benefited me greatly. I highly encourage anyone to try a digital detox for a week, or however long you decide, as many positives come from it.

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I'm in my first year of Psychology, where my interests lie in developmental and clinical. I love the beach, horses and want to live in Sydney after finishing my degre