Social media. it's a blessing and a curse. Sure, it's great to be able to keep in touch with friends and family, but at the same time, it never stops. Unlike a phone call or text conversation, social media is active at all times of the day, whether you're online or not. It can be addictive. It sucks you in as you post in hopes that someone "likes" what you're saying or comments on your latest picture and creates a pressure to document your every move. However, if you're on social media all the time, no matter how many things you post, are you really living?
This is not to say that I never find myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or Facebook because I do. In fact, I once hit a point where I was so into it that I would just unlock my phone and connect to Instagram without a thought or hesitation. However, I realized earlier this year that there was no point in it.
I was so obsessed with watching life on my phone screen that I didn't pay attention to the world around me.
In January, I deleted Twitter and Instagram. I limited my Facebook use to 10 minutes daily. I chose to disconnect myself from a world that I felt like I could never escape. I did this in hopes of proving to myself that I truly could exist without going online to document my every move...and I'm so glad I did.
Taking a "vacation" from social media allowed me to devote the time I would normally spend scrolling through my feed to more fulfilling activities like reading for pleasure and actually talking to friends. I realized that when I wasn't busy looking at everyone else's "highlight reels," I could develop a greater appreciation and acceptance of my own life.
With limited exposure to retouched photos and people's happiest moments, I was able to remind myself that NO one has it all figured out, despite what their online profiles may lead you to believe.
Since I'm more secure with myself and my own life, my use of social media since my "vacation" looks dramatically different.
I no longer receive phone notifications when someone "likes" a photo or sends me a friend request. I post irregularly and without hesitation because I'm okay with being genuine and real on my accounts.
If I take a picture I like, I'll post it, but I'm not looking at social engagement statistics all the time. I rarely go on Twitter and while I have reactivated all of my accounts on various platforms, I spend way less time catching up with my feed and still regularly use that free time to practice self-care.
While my online detox was temporary, it was certainly worth my time. I found the less time I spend on my phone, the more time I can enjoy the beauty of nature, the company of those around me, and the joy that comes from staying in the present moment. Instead of capturing the good to show the world that I was there, I'm actually living the good and making the most of my days.