What My Social Media Detox Taught Me

What My Social Media Detox Taught Me

We can do better than placing something so stressful as first in our lives.

407
views

I deleted my social media platforms during spring break because I wasn't spending my week tanning on the beach or exploring a new city. I was going to spend my spring break in my parents' new home up north – in a much colder climate than Atlanta, in a house that was often empty as my family was at work and school, in a small, sleepy neighborhood spared from the big sights that spring-breakers flocked to. I figured that I didn't want to spend my precious time off mindlessly scrolling through my feed and being sucker-punched with jealousy every time I saw another beach picture.

Deleting Instagram and Snapchat was a way for me to try to connect to living in the moment and maintain the gratitude for what I had. Besides, I convinced myself I had better things to do than surfing the internet. I had books to read, TV shows to binge, and, most of all, sleep to catch up on. In my ideal week of relaxation, the stress and time-consuming nature of social media did not factor into it. Deleting the apps from my phone should have been simple.

Except, of course, it wasn't.

Even without the time-sucking apps, I was still drawn to my phone. I found myself missing the social media platforms, missing the sense of being connected with other people and the glimpses I got into their lives. There were often times when I would wonder why I hadn't heard from my classmates - and, with a shock, I realized it was because I had deleted one of our connections. I hadn't checked Instagram for six days. For all I know, they could have died! Although I deleted social media to avoid procrastination, I still found ways to waste my time on my phone. I looked through all of my photos and old messages. I surfed Google (who does that anymore?). If there's any consolation that reinstalling the applications was a good idea, it is that I am a hardcore, do-or-die master procrastinator, who will inevitably waste her precious moments, whether on Instagram or elsewhere.

The real problems started when I reinstalled the apps right before spring break ended. Even before clicking "install", I couldn't stop thinking about what I'd missed, to the point where it would distract me from being present in the moment with my family. As soon as I had Instagram up and running on my phone, I was hit with a sense of dread and anxiety. Photo after photo that had gone unnoticed for days trickled through my feed. Miami. Mountains. Michigan. Pictures of friends and family and food that made me instantly jealous. Everyone and their cousin were posting spring break pictures. I desperately checked my camera roll for anything I could post, but the only thing I found were videos of my brother and pictures of books. My mind started rushing a mile a minute as I started contemplating all the people I needed to get back to, the posts I had to create. The intense pressure of staying afloat in the tsunami of curated perfection.

And indeed, as I scrolled through my feed, each post looked utterly perfected to create a dream-version of the situation. When I looked at social media in a new light, every moment seemed superficial, altered to present an ideal image to the world. How many of the posts on my feed were every-day moments that were simply edited and photoshopped? Thinking back to the moments I had over this week, there is no doubt that, if I could portray them in a certain light, I could pretend that I was having the time of my life. In the virtual world where anything is shown at its best, what is truly the difference between a beach trip and a staycation? (Disclaimer: I had a lovely spring break, regardless of whether I posted anything on social media or not. This is an important fact to remember.)

Although my first reaction was incredulity that each photo seemed so fake, my second reaction was an intense sense of jealousy. It didn't matter that I had very similar experiences to the posted pictures if I could only portray them in a certain light. After all, I had the basics of all social media posts this spring break. Time with loved ones. Outings. Good food. But then I pulled up Instagram and start playing the comparison game (man, this girl went to the movies with her parents when we just stayed home to watch Netflix?), and became the loser in my own beautiful life. Feeling so envious when looking at other people's feeds has taught me that social media sucks our gratitude.

Instagram and Snapchat do very little in harvesting joy, and instead, allow us to see all we're missing out on. They transform our lives into the comparison and competition between others that they were never meant to become. In fact, when I deleted the applications, I noticed I was much more appreciative without them. Without knowing what my friends were up to, I could no longer compare our circumstances. My experiences throughout my week no longer competed with my classmates for the ultimate spring break, but simply resorted to what they were: a date with my mom to lunch and a basketball game with my brother and dad. Moments of warmth and love untainted by competition and envy.

My detox taught me one thing above all: social media is toxic. It is anxiety-producing, stressful and overwhelming. Yet, all the while, I appreciate some of its aspects. I love how I can connect with my friends through it, whether by DM or by tagging each other in memes. I love how I can keep up with the lives of my friends all over Europe and beyond. I love how some of the accounts that I follow inspire me and laughing at the memes on the "search" section on Instagram.

Although I won't be permanently deleting them for the moment, I definitely feel that I need to consider how social media interacts with my life. This break, I've learned to engage in the real, no matter how ordinary – soaking up the sunlight without a filter, and making amazing food without the necessity to post a picture. My life was no longer viewed through a camera or a screen, but I was living it to the fullest by spending my time in ways that built me up rather than stressed me out. I read the entirety of Me Before You (would highly recommend), played frisbee with my brother, or had a deep conversation with my mom.

The world didn't know these things, and, as far I'm concerned, the world didn't need to know them. I don't know how I'm going to concretely limit my screen-time and stay grounded in the real, but I do know that it is important for guarding who I am and what I value: that social media must remain second in my heart, whereas this life – this beautiful, wonderful, curious and fascinating life – must remain first.

Popular Right Now

20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!
943432
views

After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvUCbnwzySKgbKiB_...



14. Some activities on my bucket list are...


This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...



What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

How To Know That You're In A New York State Of Mind

"New York is the city that other cities can only dream of being."

21
views

A New York State of Mind does not mean you reside in the city, it is a way of life that you live, in which only some people can handle. Here's how to know if you are in a New York State of Mind.

You've got goals, baby.

Setting your mind on your goals, knowing that you'll achieve them is the number one step. You'll do anything to pursue your goals, which is what any good New Yorker would do.

You're not afraid to be alone.

New York is one of the largest cities in the world, which might make it one of the most lonely. Being okay with being alone is a trait only some can hold.

You keep life moving at a fast pace.

You want to do things, and you want them now. Like the queen Ariana Grande says, "I want it, I got it."

You are accepting of all people.

People are people, and everyone deserves the same love as one another, and if you're in a New York State of Mind, you know that.

You know that failure is not an option.

If you fail at something, you don't just quit and give up, you simply find a new, and better way to do that task.

You stay authentic to yourself.

You know who you are, you don't need to prove yourself to anyone. If they appreciate you and want you in their corner, they should make that clear to you.

You have a plan for everything.

You are prepared for whatever is it that is coming at you.

You know the sky isn't the limit, because you're reaching for the stars.

People will think you're crazy, or your dreams are too big. If you're in the right state of mind, you simply ignore them. There's no point in dwelling on other people's thoughts, when you know what you want.


Possessing these personality traits, shows that you are in fact in a New York State of Mind. If you are, you're a bad ass who knows who you are and what you want, and you'll get it, no matter what obstacles life throws your way.

Related Content

Facebook Comments