Here’s a question: Do you remember what you used to do before social media was taking up hours of our days? Back in 2008, before Facebook received worldwide attention, you were probably spending more time on hobbies like reading, working out, or maybe even watching movies and listening to music. There was not as much pressure to keep up with other people’s lives, and FOMO was not even a real fear then. A few years later, new social media websites popped up. Fast track to more than a decade later, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram have become the ultimate combination of distractions that have dominated our lives.
Because of social media, we have undeniably developed this urgent need to share everything online and learn about what anyone has to say—no matter what it is they are saying. While it can cause positive things like meeting new friends or being able to engage in important topics in our society, it has also led to depression, social isolation, and even body image issues for some people. It is inevitable to have a sense of FOMO when we see everyone else living more interesting lives than us. What we do not realize is that these well-composed images of high life are only a fraction of the other person’s truth.
The fact is, stepping away from social media has never caused harm to anyone. Some may raise their eyebrows at you and think that you are completely nuts for deciding to detox from social media. “But, how will you know what’s happening around you?” maybe their first question. The answer (and frankly, the crux of why you need to detox in the first place), is that we do not really need to know everything.
If you are someone who’s still wondering if it’s worth doing a digital detox, here are some reasons you should take a break from social media:
1. It makes you feel like you do not have enough time.
We’ve all been there: that moment when we feel like there’s no time to finish the work that we have set out to do. Ironically, it’s almost always because we have spent so much time bowed down on our smartphones to check out what our friends are up to. And, honestly, it is not entirely your fault! Social media apps were designed to be addictive. They have made it so you do not feel like you have spent too much time scrolling on your feed.
2. It has taught you to focus more on other people.
Social media is filled with people posting about their successes, their travels, and the fun events that they attended. You cannot really blame them because we are, of course, predisposed to only show the good things happening in our lives. When we see other people do it, though, we tend to feel some level of jealousy or disappointment. Studies have even proved that people who spend much of their time on social media report having less self-esteem and more anxiety.
When we only see the beautiful but filtered realities of other people, while we seem to experience only the ugly realities every day of our lives, it’s unsurprising that we feel sorry for ourselves. We have shifted our focus on other people, instead of focusing on our individual growths. We do not share the same timeline for progress, and sadly, this is something that social media cannot teach us.
3. It distracts you from your goals.
As social media feeds us hundreds of information – a mix of fake news, real news, and the mundane things other people post about – we tend to get distracted from the things that we really need to focus on.
We set out our goals because we deem those things as our priorities. Anything that takes time away from our work, whether it’s social media or not, are mere distractions that will not contribute to reaching our goals.
4. It breaks our boundaries.
Whenever we post something about ourselves, we put ourselves under the scrutiny of whoever sees our profiles. Our personal spaces can get invaded by negativity and toxicity when we spend too much time in the social media world. By taking breaks from social media, we establish healthier boundaries. Remember that we always have control over what we welcome into and share from our lives.
5. It has become your main mode of socializing.
Sure, social media gave us the convenience of messaging, video calling, and meeting new people over the internet. However, it is not far from the truth when we say that it has also made us believe that these are enough to sustain relationships. The truth is, any relationship needs more than just the occasional calls and chats. These interactions can be very superficial, and has the potential to make us feel more alone than we really are.
6. It has made you forget the joys of alone time.
You will know that you are not at peace with yourself when you suddenly feel the need to open your social media timelines to check out what’s other people are up to. Nothing’s really wrong with that, but if it becomes something that distracts us from the comforts of taking care of our real-life selves, it becomes more of an unhealthy habit.
It’s undeniable that social media can be great for us if used for sharing ideas and thoughts with our loved ones. However, it is also true that it has become more of a distraction from the real things that matter, like our productivity, relationships, and mental health.
Digital detoxing is the answer to all these issues. When we limit the time that we spend on scrolling through our timelines and feeds, we will have more time for ourselves, other people, and things that make us truly happy. Like we previously said, social media is just a small fraction of our whole lives. There is an entire universe worth exploring, and you are already standing on it. All you have to do is put down your phone, look up, and start.
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