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I'm Gen Z, and I quit social media. I'm less anxious and have more time now.

Man holding puppy
The author deleted all his social media apps and after a year, is not going back to them.Courtesy of the author
  • A year ago I realized how high my screen time was on my phone.

  • I slowly started deleting social media apps; X was the hardest to get rid of.

  • I feel better without them and I'm never going back to social media.

A year ago, I checked the screen time setting on my phone and was horrified. I had a full-time job, a collection of hobbies, and many friends I would see regularly, and yet my daily screen time sat at a pretty consistent 10 hours.

I didn't understand how I could spend that much time on my phone each day. Thankfully, I could see all of that, too. Three hours a day on X three hours on TikTok, an hour on Instagram, an hour on Facebook. Every single day.

And for what reason? Well, I couldn't think of one. So I quit.

I deleted social media apps

I decided I'd had enough, and so I started deleting the apps. Not all in one go, I might add. I started with Facebook: I didn't use it as much as the others, so it couldn't be too hard.

That went OK, so then I tried Instagram. Again, I managed. It was an unusual feeling going to click on an app that was no longer there and that took some work just to stop doing automatically.

I moved a news app to its place and would unintentionally open that about 15 times a day, my brain subconsciously thinking it could reach Instagram. I had to do this with each, replacing every social media app with one that would at least give me something worthwhile to read or do.

X was the hardest nut to crack, and I underestimated how difficult it would be. When I look back now, I don't even really understand what I was doing on there. Was I worried I would miss a key piece of news? The latest topical joke?

I have more time to do other things

It doesn't feel like I've missed anything now that I've gotten over it. But the FOMO was, without doubt, the worst part about quitting.

Growing up as Gen Z in the era of social media has made leaving it behind tough. All my friends still use it, as does nearly everyone else I speak to. When I tell them I quit, I usually receive a raised eyebrow followed by a "Really?"

It's been like overcoming an addiction. Though social media addictions aren't considered the same as serious addictions such as drugs or alcohol, they change the balance of chemicals in your brain in the same way.

I actually experienced relapses, which might seem surprising. But I would, from time to time, re-download one of the apps. Or log on my laptop. It took a lot of time to cut it out altogether, and often, I'd have to use special apps that locked me out of my phone or blocked software on my laptop.

It seemed ridiculous that quitting these apps was such hard work. But having gone through it, it's been absolutely worth it.

The change in my anxiety levels has been particularly noticeable. I'm not suggesting it's a cure for anxiety, but I now no longer need to know everything that everyone is doing all the time.

Instagram and Facebook, where people post constantly about the most interesting part of their lives, had exacerbated this. The constant comparisons to others on these platforms caused part of the anxiety, leaving me feeling inadequate. I've been able to shake that off too.

Not only that, but I now feel like I have more time to do genuinely enriching things. I read more; I get more out of exercise. Even when it comes to TV and films, I am far more immersed in what's happening. I didn't do it for work, but I'm more efficient at that now as well.

I don't miss social media, and I have absolutely no plans to go back.

Read the original article on Business Insider