Like almost everyone in this world, I’m completely immersed in social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat — you name it, chances are I’ve scrolled through it in the last hour.
There’s just something so rewarding about posting a fire Instagram selfie and getting a bunch of likes – whether they’re from followers you know or not.
But as confidence-boosting as social media can be, it can also be toxic as hell. Ever break up with significant other and wonder why you can’t stop thinking about your former relationship because his or her face is all over your newsfeed? It sucks.
Luckily, Facebook took pity on us and was able to create a magical “unfollow” button, helping you out a little bit, but still. Every time I posted something, I felt as though people were judging at me, and truth be told – it freaked me out.
I fell into the social media trap because “it was what everyone else was doing.” I soon realized it wasn’t entirely healthy, though, and I needed to dial it down.
I knew stepping away from social media wouldn’t be impossible to do, but I couldn’t understood why I was delaying the decision to walk away.
Finally, after noticing a lot of my ideas were being copied and familiar visitors were becoming too familiar on my pages, I knew it was the right time. Not only did I deactivate all my social media accounts, but I also erased the apps entirely off my phone — allowing no room for distraction or temptation.
The first week was easy. I’d wake up more rested in the mornings because I wasn’t up unreasonable hours the night prior, scrolling and re-scrolling through the stagnant feed, hoping for a change of display.
The same happened in the morning. I was able to wake up and get myself together for the day, without immediately blinding my eyes with my LED phone display.
After the first week went by, I found myself feeling out of touch. My friends were constantly texting me saying, “Hey, I just went to message you on Facebook and couldn’t find you?” or, “I just posted my pictures from the semester and I couldn’t tag you! Did you delete?”
I was being bombarded with emotional panic. I was surprised people noticed so quickly. I would tell them I deactivated for awhile, and they would instantly respond, “WHY???”
Well, here’s exactly why:
When you spend more time looking down than looking up, you’re missing out on a lot more of life than you realize.
When you have more anxiety if a picture will get you over 200 likes than if your bills are paid for the month, your priorities are seriously off.
When you care more about your image online than you do about your image offline, you’re only helping your followers, not yourself.
When you’re more concerned about documenting something as opposed to completely living it, you’re not truly getting the full experience.
I wouldn’t say I was suffering from all of those dilemmas, but I knew many people who were. As fabulous as social media can be in terms of connecting people, it can also cause so much anxiety and unhealthy feelings.
My advice: Deactivate your accounts for a while. Clear your mind and cleanse your social-media-addicted soul.
Start with just a few days if you’re struggling. It may eventually turn into a couple of weeks, months or years. If people truly care about how you’re doing, there are plenty of alternate ways of contacting someone — emails, text messages, phone calls. Let’s not forget, face-to-face conversation also still exists.
Stay strong! Hit that delete button. I promise you, you’ll be glad you did, even if it’s only temporary.