Social Media Cleanse
I’ll be the first to say it - we are all addicted to social media. I am a grade A offender, and I am fully aware of this. I use instagram, snapchat, twitter, facebook - you name it, I probably have the app on my phone. Through my experience, it is safe to say that social media has both pros and cons.
The pros can absolutely be seen. Technology has allowed us to do so much at our fingertips, and for that I am very grateful. Keeping in touch when you’re forced to be at a distance is actually doable. I know a lot of people criticize this, but in reality, it’s very hard to keep up with the lives of ‘x’ many people, and social media allows you to do so very conveniently. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good old-fashioned phone call, but social media helps you see the little things here and there. Social media also allows you to explore your strengths. If it weren’t for social media, I definitely would not have found my love for writing, photography, and art in general. I am also very proficient with HTML (thank you, myspace) and technology as a whole. Another advantage is that you are exposed to the opinions/perspectives of others that you may not have gathered on your own. When used in moderation, social media can be a great addition to your social life.
For every glass half-full, there is a glass half-empty. In other words, social media absolutely has its cons. We’re exposed to it at a pretty young age - I would say I started when I was in fifth or sixth grade. At that age, we’re little sponges and absorb everything we see and hear. Add a few years to that, and then we start to apply it to what we do and how we act. What I’m trying to get at here is that social media can really influence how we view ourselves. Social media literally forces you to rely on the opinions of others, and sometimes this can get to the point of being your only source of self-approval. I would be lying if i said I didn’t have my moments. There would be days that if I didn’t get a certain amount of likes on a post, I genuinely felt DISLIKED. I know it sounds completely ridiculous, but when you’re caught in the daily routine, it can really take a toll on your psychological health. I’m obviously not a professional, but I am sure social media and depression share a link. Another problem with social media is while you are exposed to great ideas and role models, you are also exposed to standards and comparisons. This can lead to feelings of inferiority and jealousy - two very self-destructive emotions. Social media also takes the place of in-person interactions, which can be really detrimental in relationships. I have experienced this first-hand. Unfortunately, it seems there are more cons than pros, BUT you have to remember - this is when social media is used in excess.
I’m getting to the point, I promise. so, I titled this post 'social media breaks’, and I did so for a reason. I am the type of person that constantly feels the need to answer to other people. When I feel like I have let others down, I experience a deep sense of internal disappointment, and it’s truthfully awful. It’s something about myself that I need to work on, because if there is one thing that is evident in life: It’s that you can’t please everyone. The reason I mentioned this is because notifications are my worst enemy. That little red symbol is enough to make me want to slam my phone into a wall, sometimes. I know that sounds a little over-the-top aggressive, but it forces me to be on my phone all the time, and I’m honestly so sick of it. So, how do you eliminate the magnetic pull of your iPhone?
Take a social media break. Put. the. phone. down. For some people, this is second nature. And let me tell you, I ENVY YOU if you are one of those people. I just don’t have it in me to leave my phone unattended to for hours at a time. But believe me, it’s something I am working on. every once in a while, I like to do a full social media cleanse. This usually means any form of social networking goes untouched for 'x" amount of time. It can be really hard at first - the FOMO (fear of missing out) is real. But once you do it, it’s actually such a breath of fresh air to be disconnected from the “real” world. It doesn’t have to be a full-time commitment, it could just be using social media less. for me, I have to do an all-out, “cold turkey” cleanse - but I am also an extremist. I’m definitely an 'all or nothing’ type of person. For those of you who feel the need or want to take the challenge, here are some tips:
1) 'Do not disturb’ is your best friend. For those of you who don’t know what this is, 'Do Not Disturb’ is a setting on your iphone that makes is so that your phone does not show any notifications unless it is unlocked or you are looking at the lock screen. (I have it set so that calls come through because if someone is calling, I know it’s important.) For non-iPhone users, I'm sure there is an App or setting for this. It’s instrumental for me, given that my phone lighting up is the #1 distraction that comes with having a smartphone.
2) Turn off notifications. I do this all the time, not just on my breaks. Instagram and Twitter, I have notifications for when I am actually using the App, but not on my home page. It’s just too distracting. My emails, however, I have notifications for, since those are generally something I need to be opening.
3) Delete your social media apps. Sometimes, I really do need to do this when I am on a social media cleanse. It’s way more of a hassle to go through and redownload the Apps, so that is my incentive to stay off my phone. and it’s only temporary!
4) Be aware of your phone usage. Sometimes, we’re on our phones or checking them without even realizing it! Be conscious of how often you are on it, and try to minimize the time when you can.
5) Tell someone. This is probably the most important one. I know when I tell someone I’m participating in the break, it’s more of a commitment to stick to (because I don’t want to seem pathetic by not adhering to my word). They can also help monitor when you mindlessly go to use your phone.
Now I know some of you are going to read this and think I’m absolutely insane, but the addiction is a sad reality. Did you know that (according to (the huffington post) social media can be as addictive as drugs and alcohol? This is because the positive feelings you associate with social media interaction drive your brain to want more. Just like substances! crazy, right? And a little scary, honestly.
If you stuck with me for this long, you’re a trooper. This issue is something I’ve become very self-aware of in the past year or so. Luckily, social media is a hobby of mine, and I have learned to not let it determine my self-worth. However, it’s something I want to have less of in my life. It’s more than obvious that you miss out on the more important things by looking down at your phone.
Hope this helps, and the best of luck to you!
Would you consider yourself a social media addict? If so, how have you worked to change that?