Social media can pick us up, but it can also bring us down. When it starts to impact your mental health it’s time to go on a break from it.
It’s no secret that I have a love-hate relationship with technology. Like most people I rely on it. It’s a way to communicate with the world, to share my thoughts, and to learn about writing opportunities.
For that reason, I probably spend too much time scrolling through my Twitter and Instagram feed. I use my laptop for work, and when I’m not doing that, I’m looking on my phone.
In other words, my eyes just don’t get a break, and it’s becoming exhausting. I knew that a social media detox was in order but I underestimated just how difficult it would be to completely shut off.
There were definitely moments when I longed to be on Twitter and see what everyone else was doing and if I was missing out of anything. Yet I got through it. And I learned so much from the experience.
At first, I was worried about the idea of spending more time alone. Usually, I’m interacting with others either through texting or social media, so to give that up would be tough, to say the least.
But it was easier than I thought. Being in your own company is refreshing. There’s less pressure on what to say to someone and how you are coming across; there’s more time to indulge in activities you really enjoy.
I often turn to social media when I feel bored, so I concentrated on doing things to distract myself. I realized that I had more time to read, write stories, listen to music, go for walks, and generally unwind in my own thoughts.
Without the interruption of social media notifications, I could get a lot more ticked off on my to-do list. Sometimes I feel a lot of pressure to write satisfactory posts and tweets, and this detox relieved me of that stress. There was definitely less weighing on my mind, that’s for sure.
For most of us, the first we do when we open our eyes in the morning is reach for our phone and scroll through our social media accounts. And even though we may not realize it, we’re falling into the same, dull routine.
So instead of waking up and checking Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, I decided to change everything. I wanted to freshen up my routine, so my mornings became productive and set me in the right mood for the rest of the day.
So I started meditating. I’ll admit, I knew little about meditating, to begin with. But after hearing so many stories that it’s great for the mind and body, I thought that there was no harm in trying it for myself.
Once I got up out of bed the temptation to check social media dwindled and I knew that I was going to impact positively from this experience. I made breakfast, drank peppermint tea, and thought about my plans.
In a notebook, I wrote down some thoughts and ideas that proved to be very useful and something I usually never resort to doing first thing in the morning. Still, there’s a first for everything.
For my first meditation session, it lasted around 10 minutes. I can get distracted easily, but I found that keeping it short worked in my favor. It cleared my head and prepared me for what was going to be a busy day. I could already feel a weight being lifted from my shoulders.
I think many of us fail to recognize just how much time we dedicate to checking in on the lives of complete strangers. These are people we barely know anything about, yet we spend a lot of time looking at their social media accounts and reading about their recent breakup or what they had for lunch!
If we spent more time thinking about our own personal matters and checking in on our close friends and family members, then maybe we would get more out of life.
Among other things, I started working out more. Giving up social media meant that there was more time for me to concentrate on the things that matter, which includes losing weight and reaching my goals.
For possibly the first time in my life, I felt more dedicated than I had ever been. I think the main reason for that is I wasn’t comparing myself to other people who I see on social media.
I just concentrated on myself and what I wanted to get out of this. There’s a long way to go until I see any dramatic results, but I can already see that I’ve changed my mindset to a more optimistic one.
To tell you the truth, I’m not quitting social media for good. Considering I rely on it for work related opportunities and connecting with friends, I wouldn’t be able to completely banish it from my routine.
But I’ve made it my goal to gradually reduce the amount of time I use my phone in general. The less time I spend staring at a screen and the more time I spend out in the real world, the better!
Coralle is a freelance writer and blogger who talks about various topics from relationships, love, health and freelance writing. She's currently writing a book.
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