Everywhere you go and anything you read, there is 95% of the time, there is some sort of a social media advertisement. Whether it be Keep up to date with Twitter or Like us on Facebook, you have most definitely seen these words or the icons. We have all become addicted to staying “in the know”, showing off the good, and pining for what others have (or what they display anyways). It has almost become the norm to be constantly on your phone, mindlessly scrolling through feeds after feeds. I was no exception to this. A 20-minute commute on the train in the morning would fly by as I idly flicked my finger over articles and past pictures. Sometimes we get so caught up in the social media buzz we fail to notice what is going on around us. Ashamedly, I have missed my stop more than once because of this. After it happened the second time, I realized I needed a break. I moved half way across the world to start a new life and here I was, still looking at what others had.
I must admit, quitting social media is like a detox. All a sudden, there is a lot more time in your day and at first it feels like you are missing out. And what would I do with my spare time? I wasn’t anymore looking at my phone before bed or first thing when I woke up. Trains rides, I sat listening to music and looking out the window. The rides felt much longer. So I started to find other ways to be productive. I am in school every day, so train rides home now became my opportunity to start my homework. Or if I have nothing to do work on, I read. I have managed to finish three books in the past few weeks (it is not an accomplishment at all if I think back to how I used to read before), but it still felt good to finish a book. Better yet, I started to read interesting books. Books where I actually learn something, like some world history, business, science, etc. In the mornings, I have started sleeping in more — which is always a plus. I can be up and out of the house within 45 minutes most mornings.
There has been some downsides to the social media break though. And I have “relapsed” and re-activated one of my accounts once. Friends back home in Canada and in other countries no longer could get in contact with me. Which you would think that if they were good friends, we would still keep in touch without social media. But the unfortunate thing is that we all rely on social channels much more than traditional communication methods. I don’t know their mailing address, their phone number, or even their e-mail addresses and they don’t know mine. We were used to talking through messenger services, photos, etc. I realized that also a lot of us rely on photos to see what is going on in each others lives. You might not talk to the person for 6 months, but you still know that they got a new boyfriend, took a vacation to Spain, finished school, etc. And by following these photos, you feel like you’re in the loop.
I realize that in this era, social media cannot be completely eradicated. And we don’t want it to be. But it doesn’t hurt to remember that we all have lives, we should be living them, and not everything you see on social media is real. Nor do you have to share your entire life with the world. I guess that is partially why I have also taken a break from writing.
If you don’t want to cut it out completely, but think you need some space, then take a mini break. Turn off your phone notifications. Power off your phone at night. Make a rule that you will only check your feeds once per day. You will find that you will have more time in your day and you will start to enjoy your day a bit more.