I truly believe that it is safe to say that social media has the power to bridge the communication gap and help us reach people more efficiently than we ever did before. With power, however, comes certain disadvantages. Social media has the power to make one feel mediocre and inferior because it allows us to constantly compare ourselves to our peers online. When we sit and scroll on our cellphone and computer screens, we can’t help but feel like we are mildly inferior to those whose lives seem “picture-perfect.”
As someone who practices essentialism or minimalism, I do tend to fall into the trap of losing time on social media. I know that the time I spent scrolling could have been on more important things and people in my life. Therefore, I decided to participate in a week without technology. So I am writing to share my experiences throughout that week.
I deleted all social media from my computer and cellphone, but before I did this, I made notifications to my followers online letting them know that I will not be using social media for a long time. In my mind, I thought that not being online could affect my writing work, since I normally promote my blog posts using social media. I pretty much had a tough time navigating through this day. I was constantly checking my phone, even though I knew I had deleted my social media.
I just needed a dopamine fix — you know, the feeling one gets from seeing a notification and having to log online to see what someone has to say. I felt somewhat lonely and a little bit blue because some component of my life was missing. I didn’t notice how much of an impact social media has had on my life until this day. I wish I noticed that I was addicted.
I was a bit more relaxed and checked my phone less frequently. Although I did found myself binging video series and YouTube, I think this was mainly because of the instant dopamine rise that one gets from procrastinating, which I accomplished by watching things that made me feel good instantly. I admit this sounds like me taking a few steps back, but I felt guilty afterwards because I was not really productive. I spent about two hours just watching series and celebrity gossip channels.
However, the positive side of this was that I stopped comparing myself to others for some odd reason. I think that because I constantly found myself fully immersed in social media, I didn’t notice the effect it had on my self-esteem and self-confidence.
I was getting into a routine with work and school, and I actually did not feel a need to use social media. I was productive, and I was elated to have made progress despite the bumpy few days I had when starting this challenge. I even found other useful YouTube channels and “Study with Me” videos that played a huge role in helping me focus on my work and take productive breaks in-between.
I joined a new gym in my area; I had not been exercising in a few months because I relocated. I met new people that day, and I was fully engaging in the conversations. I went out on a date with my boyfriend in the evening. Oh boy, I haven’t done that in a while, despite us having known each other for two years. It felt amazing, and I had butterflies in my stomach all over again! I was so relaxed and had an amazing evening. I noticed that I barely made enough time for him because of our crazy schedules and different, but very similar, career paths. I will admit that I was pretty exhausted at the end of the day!
I spent a day out in a national botanical garden with my vinas, and I was happy that I went out with them. We went hiking and jogging in the morning to get some exercise. Walking in nature was breath-taking, and I couldn’t remember when last I felt that free. Not being tied to any obligations but starting my weekend on a good note. As someone who is introverted and shy, I often relied so heavily on social media to make friends, that I had actually lost touch with friends that I normally engaged with on a physical level. I was constantly seeking validation from strangers online that I actually forgot to solidify the old friendships. This day gave me an opportunity to rekindle my friendships.
Social media can be useful when used in moderation, or else it has the ability to consume us and our morals. I started tracking my social media use and productivity on a daily basis using a chrome extension called Rescue Time. Set rules, so that you can have downtime for your hobbies and the people in your life. Self-care is also very vital. It takes discipline to set boundaries. These are the lessons I take with me from participating in this challenge.
Sending you lots of love, light and angel blessings your way. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.
Think it’s time for a social media detox? Ask your favorite vinas on Hey! VINA for some advice.