October – No Social Media Challenge

Welcome to our Monthly Challenges

Did you know you subconsciously work harder when there’s an end date to your goals?

The shorter time frame keeps you actively putting effort in, particularly when it’s the end of the month.

Your Goal in October is: Avoid all social media

The Challenge

Social media can have a negative impact on mental health, which is equally if not more important than physical health, so the monthly goal is to avoid using all social media entirely.

Social media can be a great way to connect with friends, so you will have to be creative about alternatives. Perhaps exchange e-mail addresses or phone numbers, so that you can remain in touch, or even better arrange to meet up with them in real life.

Sometimes tone is hard to convey in a message and only by meeting up with someone and seeing their facial expressions as you interact can you fully appreciate their sentiment and meaning.

Cartoon illustrating the negative impact of social media and mobile phone use

Health Benefits

The real benefits are an absence of negative effects, of which there are many.

  • Using a site like Instagram where people have selected and filtered the best image, gives a false representation of beauty standards and might make you feel dissatisfied with your own body.
  • The sharing of holiday snaps or nights out by others might make you feel like your own life is not as exciting and therefore less enjoyable.
  • Images of social occasions that you were not invited to could make you feel excluded, and develop a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
  • On other sites like Facebook people are tailoring their statuses to give an unrealistic and overly positive representation of their life.
  • Posting your own content and not receiving the expected level of engagement (likes and comments from friends and family) could lead to anxiety.
  • Social media can be addictive, as dopamine is responsible for giving you a sense of pleasure when you receive a notification, which leaves you craving more.
  • Late night social media can disrupt sleep quality, and in general excessive use of social media is not the best use of your time and means you are neglecting more important things like education and work.
  • Finally, cyber-bullying is very prevalent as someone might feel like they can hide behind their computer while insulting you, or spreading rumours behind your back online.
One of the main ways social media is made addictive is with notifications – so disable them!

Tips for Quitting Social Media

  • Find alternative ways of communicating. While we talk of the negatives, there is the social side of things where it can be beneficial to keep in touch with friends. Revert back to text messages and What’s App (a messaging service, not to be confused with social media), call them up or meet up in person.
  • Delete your account. The challenge is for a month but if you want something more permanent then consider deleting your account. I deleted my Facebook account a month ago and it’s scary how often I go on auto-pilot and type it in the search bar without even thinking. I exchanged numbers where necessary, saved my pictures and told everyone I would be deleting the account. After two weeks I didn’t even miss it.
  • Disable notifications. These are sophisticated companies with researchers and engineers creating a product that’s meant to be addictive. Don’t let them distract you during the day, disable all notifications on your computer and phone.
  • Delete the app. Anything you can do to make it harder to access reduces your chance of doing so unconsciously. One survey found the average Millennial checks their phone 150 times a day! That’s 150 fewer opportunities for the app icon to distract you.
  • Focus on doing something more productive with all your extra free time, like going to the gym (and not posting sweaty selfies afterwards!).

Thanks for reading, if you want to try this challenge with friends or family then please share this content!