Deleting Snapchat Was My Top Self Care Move
I’ve been Snapchat free for over a month now, and for the most part, I don’t miss it. In fact, I consider deleting the app to be one of the best things I’ve done for myself in the past year.
All social media is designed to be addicting, but in my opinion, Snapchat is the most insidious app. As a stressed-out college student who – at least at that time – was in a relationship, the temporary nature of the content played on my top weaknesses: busyness, fear of missing out, and insecurity.
I probably opened Snapchat at least once every waking hour of the day. Most of the time, I didn’t even realize I was doing it. I’d find myself unlocking my phone, opening my social media folder, tapping Snapchat, and seeing my own blank face on the screen before realizing, “I don’t remember coming here.” Opening the app was complete muscle memory.
In hindsight, I figured out that I wasn’t opening the app with any intention to see what was on there. Instead, I realized it had become my default mode to not be present in any given task. I always had to multitask or distract myself.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
I get FOMO over everything. I have to read all the books, watch all the YouTube videos, and sit through all the Snapchat stories to know who’s doing what where and with who and why wasn’t I invited? I’d binge-watch stories and refresh immediately afterwards, staring at that dancing ghost icon in impatience. I needed to know more.
Except, of course, I didn’t. Seeing what all my friends and family were doing every hour of the day made me feel horrible. While they were out on the beach or having a coffee date, I was staring at my phone in determination to know everything about other people’s lives without actually doing anything in my own.
I grew up with zero confidence. It wasn’t until I got a long-term boyfriend in college that I gained any lasting self-worth. But because he became my pillar of self-worth, I grew dependent on him. I grew distrustful of anyone who came near him, especially other girls. I was the insecure girlfriend who not-so-subtly asked a dozen questions before he went out without me.
And, of course, I was the insecure girlfriend who looked at Snapchat stories from every angle to see if my then-boyfriend was where he was “supposed to be” at the time. The app consumed my mind. Some people Snapchat entire events: concerts, parties, etc. I knew there would be ‘evidence’ of where he was and what he was doing, and I knew I could find it at a single refresh of the dancing ghost.
The consequences of my insecurity are especially horrifying to me. I cringe thinking back to my unhealthy, obsessive habits. But I’m grateful for my decision to have let go of the checking habit and the app completely. Daily life and my mental health have improved beyond measure for me.
I’m more focused on tasks. I can sit and work for hours without feeling the need to escape or have a secondary task going on in the background. My default mode now is to be present.
I don’t feel the need to know what everyone is doing every day. The highlights and important events of life usually make it to Facebook updates, Instagram posts, or direct conversation. I don’t need to know from a random update on Snapchat that John and Jane got eggs benedict for brunch on Sunday. But I do love finding out that they got engaged right after brunch, from a formal post on Instagram.
My ex and I are no longer together, but we were still dating when I first deleted Snapchat. And it was so freeing and meaningful to our relationship to know I couldn’t check in on him during my moments of weakness. I chose to give up that invasive access. I grew to be more trusting and compassionate with him. Though we’re separate now, I value the healthy, post-Snap period of our relationship.
Life isn’t amazing now. I’m not free from all social media temptations. But I’m glad Snapchat was a clean break for me. It was the most consuming social media platform I’ve ever used, and choosing to remove myself from it was the best decision I’ve made for my self care and health.