That's right. Ten consecutive days without scrolling through my feed or checking direct messages or seeing any memes.
I spent ten days away from the world of arguments in the "comments" section, having the fear of constantly missing out, and watching other people live their lives.
And I liked it.
Social media is a first-world staple. How would we ever live without it? We use it to communicate, to learn from our peers, to record our memories. We use it as a tool for business, advertising, and so much more. There are so many good things about social media.
But like many good things as there are about it, no one can deny the negatives. Something changes psychologically when we use social media. We can become depressed or anxious, seeing the great things other people are doing and the adventures they're going on. We can become addicted, and it can harm our real-life relationships with friends and family.
I felt myself going down that road. I was slipping into the mindset of constantly being aware of how little I was doing with my life, as opposed to other people I saw on Instagram and Snapchat stories. I wanted it to stop. I didn't want to allow social media to control my feelings and my actions. So I decided to take a week-long break from social media.
When I first started my social media break, I noticed myself strongly wanting to click open Instagram. Checking it had become a habit. On the second day, I moved Instagram to a place where I couldn't see it and turned off notifications.
But it wasn't all smooth sailing from there.
For the first few days, all I felt was an empty hole where my media used to be. I wanted so badly to see what my friends had posted. I felt like I was missing out, which was the exact feeling I was trying to avoid.
Those feelings changed over the course of the week.
Pretty quickly, I realized that I had a lot of free time. Like, an excessive amount of free time. At first, I felt bad, for having wasted so much of my time doing something that ultimately, is pointless.
Then, after a while, my perspective shifted. I no longer saw the hole as something to stumble upon, but as something to fill. I started using my time to do the things I actually liked. I finished projects that I had previously abandoned, and I did more things that were productive and healthy.
Not only did my time management improve, but I felt the mental benefits as well. I stopped dwelling on the fact that old friends were having fun without me. Fomo stopped being such a big part of my life. I was able to enjoy my life without the negative effects of social media hurting me.
I ended up extending my social media break to almost two weeks. I almost didn't want to go back to Instagram at all. But I did. And when I did, I knew how to handle it. I was no longer addicted, and I didn't feel any of the bad feelings I had felt before. I had learned moderation.
I'm not saying everybody should go delete Instagram and lose Snapchat streaks. But taking a break from social media is a worthwhile way to spend your time. It's a chance to reevaluate the things in your life that are dragging you down and assess your habits and addictions. It's definitely something I have repeated and will repeat again because the good it can bring is worth the sacrifice.