The Reality of Taking a Much Needed Social Media Break (My Own Story)
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Ask anyone, even your parents, about the internet or social media, and more often than not they’ll tell you that they have an account somewhere. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whichever other platforms, one person is bound to have some connection to it.
If you are lucky and are completely disconnected to the virtual world, then props to you. I have huge respect for those who choose to live life through their direct surroundings instead of a bright screen in front of them. But that was not me, at least not until the past few weeks that I decided to take a digital detox – and I’ve got to say that it was a terrific decision!
So, I took a social media break. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while, but never really got around to doing. Why? Because I liked being in a comfortable bubble, and checking my social media accounts was a part of my routine.
The one thing that definitely pushed me over the edge was the Logan Paul scandal. I felt like it was a sign from God telling me that I should be done with everything on the internet. There was way too much nonsense in the virtual world for me to comprehend.
The process and struggles
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As I’m the type of person that does things gradually, I gave myself a month’s time to keep out of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This, because I find these three the most intoxicating for me. I heard about Logan Paul on Twitter and almost everyone I followed talked about it. Facebook and Instagram, on the other hand, are just those basic instigators of low self-esteem, so it only seemed fair to cut them out of my life.
Other social media accounts that I had such as those on Tumblr and Youtube, I would go to but not as often as I used to. And I was definitely never going to check out videos on Youtube’s trending page.
I deleted the mentioned apps on my phone and during the morning of my first day, I was pleasantly surprised. I felt a sense of freedom. I woke up, checked my phone for the time, and headed straight to the bathroom for my usual morning routine. It was a lot easier than I thought. I weirdly didn’t feel the need to check anything. I wasn’t trembling to find out what was going on Facebook or Twitter.
The one bumpy ride of the journey happened after a few days. My mom and older sister seemed annoyed at me for some reason. They later revealed to me that I wasn’t bothering to like any of their pics or albums on Facebook. Or that I wasn’t checking out the videos or memes they tagged me on. Which I found absurd. But of course, I told them calmly that I was having a social media break.
The misunderstanding could’ve stopped there. Unfortunately, it didn’t. They had to ask me why I was doing it and if someone was bullying or pestering me online. They couldn’t even begin to understand what I was doing. But my answer was simple. I just didn’t feel like it anymore. Thankfully, this was when they decided to let it go and let me be.
More days passed and I was doing great. I had more time to do other things like writing and reading books, even sleeping and planning my travels for the year. And since I still had Messenger and Viber on my phone, I was able to communicate with my friends without a problem. I was up to date with the happenings with both my high school and college friends.
I had no idea what everyone else was doing, but I honestly couldn’t care any less. As long as I knew what was going on with people I’m directly connected with like my friends and family, there really was no need for me to know what every other acquaintance was doing.
I’m not going to lie. I did go back to Twitter once or twice and checked my crush’s tweets, but I promise I never scrolled down my actual timeline to see what the latest news was or who the latest “travesty” to bash was.
Though I did break my rule here and there, I realized that I no longer had a hunger or need to be updated with everything that was happening. I’m on my phone less and I’m not obsessed with having it by my side at all times.
I used to be concerned about FOMO (fear of missing out). I was always worried that I wouldn’t be able to discuss anything with my friends if I didn’t keep up with every latest trend on the internet. But the thing is, I was overestimating that very distress. Believe it or not, there are plenty of other things to talk about that don’t revolve around the wonders of the virtual world.
Social media also has the tendency to cloud your judgment about certain things. Most of the time, you’re dictated to feel a certain way. And if someone else disagrees, you feel obliged to fight back and stand your ground in the most horrific way. On top of that, excessive exposure to social media can worsen your mental wellbeing. As a person with both depression and anxiety, I can attest to this fact and since my break, I’ve felt better emotionally and mentally. The pressure to have this certain update on my life or to tweet something funny faded. Everyone didn’t need to know about my business unless I wanted them to.
The final verdict
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If there are a handful of people, even celebrities, who can do without social media, so can us. There’s more to life than a curated persona on the internet. Those who truly like you will be there for you through both the good and bad. Not the ones who double tap on your well-thought-out pictures after looking at it for a second or two.
And even if it is in human nature to do so, you should try your hardest not to compare your blooper and behind the scenes footage to someone else’s highlight reel. We never know what goes on behind closed doors. We never know what problems other people have to deal with, despite their pretty and flashy Instagram page.
The most important thing I learned is to remember to count my blessings. Remember to appreciate what I already have, because sometimes we fail to see the beauty of what’s already in front of us. A roof over our head, food on our tables, clothes to wear.
I also learned the true meaning of living in the present moment. Knowing that life can easily pass me by in the blink of an eye. So, I’m choosing to take control of it and to focus on what matters. Who knows? You might too.
Perhaps you’d like to try out a detox that focuses on the improvement of your mental and physical wellbeing? Then, why don’t you try going on a yoga and detox retreat!
*Featured image credit: dn.makeuseof.com