I Took a Break from Social Media, and This is Why you Should too.
The year was 2005, and i was a young college freshman moving from New York City to Texas to start what would be the best time of my life. Along with all the new and exciting things college had to offer, there was one more thing that added to the excitement, it was called Myspace. Myspace, for the kids who never got to experience its sheer simplicity, was the platform to be apart of in the early 2000's. You got to choose your top five best friends, look at other people profiles, weed out the weirdos in your message box claiming to be African princes, it was a magical time. It was also the start of what would be the obsession we now know as social media. Of course back in the early 2000's, it was plain ole naive fun, no one was thinking about making money from social media, the word influencer did not exists (I hate that term), and everyone had a social life outside of their phones.
Fast forward thirteen years give or take, and social media has grown to be bigger than a platform, it is a way of life for most people, and the only way to be seen and heard for many more. Since i first signed up for Myspace, and later transitioned to facebook (when it was only for college kids), and then Instagram, never has there been a time where i wasn't on a social media platform, from the age 18 years. Though no one really thinks about how long they have been on social media, i find it sad that i have had such a long relationship with a non human entity, its actually very sad.
Now at the tender at of 31 (lol), with the desire of living an intentional, mindful lifestyle. I now wonder if this 13 year relationship is a toxic one. The short answer is yes. When i really think about it, it has been 13 years of lost inspiration, muddied identity, impulsive shopping, mindless scrolling, and non human separation anxiety. Gone are the days of reading, writing, face to face communication, a health sleep habit, and no technology co-dependence. At what point do we decide to take back what we have so easily lost? Now is the answer. For me there is no time like this present day. At 31 i am desperate to regain what i have lost, and live life on the outside of a phone screen. Of course, many of you reading this will say, that social media is not all bad, that we have created some great movements , and reached many people faster than any other generation, this of course is very true. Like most co-dependency the good is a steady connection to something or someone, the bad is that the lines become so blurred and an addiction soon follows.
So, in the words of Maxine Waters, i am reclaiming my time. I am taking a 30 day break from social media. It is time to retrain my brain to find an alternate, non mindless way of spending my time. It is time to reconnect with myself. If you too are considering breaking your social media habit, here are some things to think about while on your break.
Pay attention. Once you are not impulsively picking up your phone, pay attention to how many times you think about going onto to a social media platform. The amount of times will probably shock you.
The New Normal. As with most transitions, it is important to embrace and learn to live in your new normal. The new, being life without social media, and the normal, living outside of our phones.
Consider the cost. Social media platforms are free, however in a sense we end up paying more than we would like to admit to ourselves. It could be our productivity, our actual budge, or our relationships and self image. Consider how much is regained by not scrolling. Were you able to stay productive, are you spending less money on non necessities (If you have not noticed Instagram now have adds for various products that companies want sold), are you spending more one on one time with friends and family, do you feel better about yourself. Those are all feelings you should pay attention to and appreciate.
Ultimately the decision to take a break is yours, however regaining a piece of you is a lasting benefit. It is time to give ourselves permission to live real lives, and not just the highlights.