…and this is what happened.
As grateful as I am for all things technology, I can’t help but absolutely hate it sometimes. All the scrolling and tapping can be exhausting and add some online drama and bitchiness to that and you have the perfect recipe that will make your stress and anxiety levels peak. There’s also the pressure of being always active, engaging, posting 100 times a day otherwise you lose followers and no one will give a damn about you and there’s this other thing called time. ‘Sorry hun, I can’t come out tonight, I’m busy.’ *inserts picture of self laying in bed and scrolling through social media.
Being on social media has become like a full time job except that I don’t get paid. I wake up and I’d be lying if I said the first thing I reach out to isn’t my phone. I can’t really start my day until Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been thoroughly checked. Then I get a text and I know if I touched my phone to reply to that I will also have to surf the web for a bit. It’s a vicious cycle.
Then it comes the time when I have to post a picture on Instagram. I mean…not necessarily ‘have to’ but unless you want people to get bored of your inactive account then you better be there ready for the prime time. As I was scrolling through my camera roll one day I realised I had nothing to post. And I freaked out. I don’t know if this meltdown had something to do with the fact that my period was due as well but I’m telling you this was not glamorous and definitely not Instagram worthy. Having a cry out about the fact that I have nothing to post and I’ve done so well posting for I don’t know how many days in a row, and my engagement was getting better only made me realise how much I let social media control my life, when I should be the one controlling it.
I felt like I hit a brick wall, I was failing a big test and I felt anxious and so unhappy with my life online. So I decided to take a step back, reevaluate everything and just give myself some time and space to not feel pressured 24/7 or guilty for not posting and pretend I’m busy for basically doing nothing. It was a sunny Saturday morning and here I was deleting all my social media apps and saying goodbye to my normal life for 48 hours. This was a big step for me, I wasn’t sure I wanted to take it and I keep thinking like what are my friends going to do if they can’t reach me. But these were all excuses not to go on my social media detox. And it turned out no one even looked for me that weekend.
The first few hours without going on social media were wild. I kept grabbing my phone and tapping on the screen as if the apps were still there. And I wasn’t even thinking about what I was doing. It felt like my hand had a mind of its own and knew exactly what and where to press. I called my mum three times in the space of one hour just to say what’s up. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was bored and it felt like I didn’t have a purpose in life anymore.
I’m halfway through Saturday and I’m slowly getting the hang of the no social media thing. I went food shopping, I went for a walk and I started reading a book that I’ve had waiting for me for months. I started feeling more relaxed and I even watched a movie without any interruptions or distractions. I usually get bored after 30 minutes and I go on Instagram or Twitter and I just lose the plot of the movie but this time I was all eyes and ears throughout the whole thing.
A life changing thing was not going on my phone before bed. For the longest time I had problems falling asleep and even though I knew it’s because I spend time on my phone before bed, I didn’t do anything about the situation. But now I had no other option so after finishing my book (yes, I ended up reading a book in a day) I went straight to bed and I slept like a baby. I don’t think I’ve slept that well since I was in my mother’s womb.
My Sunday activities weren’t far from different but my general well being improved big time. I read another book, I napped and I realised there’s actually life behind my phone’s screen. I was in a happy, stress free zone and I actually considered extending my time off social media. It was a bitter sweet moment putting back all those apps on my phone. But now I’m looking at things a bit differently, with fresh eyes and I made a vow to myself that whenever I feel like everything gets to much I won’t sacrifice my happiness and my health for the love of Instagram.
After going dark for two days I felt like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders. I don’t wanna sound too dramatic but really having so much time just for myself and not caring or looking out for others was exactly what I needed. As selfish as this sounds, it’s good to do something just for yourself from time to time especially when things get out of hand. I feel so much better after spending those two days offline and if you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut then you should definitely try a social media detox. Either it’s for a few hours or a few days, a week, come back and face the music when you’re ready. You’ll thank yourself later for this.