Like most people in today’s society, I am constantly checking social media on my phone. I scroll mindlessly, not to truly connect with people but to see what others are doing with their lives. Recently, I realized my problem: I developed a social media addiction.
I felt like it was time for me to change my habits. So, I put myself on a social media detox. I let my social media friends and followers know my plans to log off beforehand. Then, I gave up mindlessly checking my accounts for the next 12 days.
However, I couldn’t believe the way other people reacted to my plans to give up social media. Some people were thrilled that I was willing to put self-care first, but others seemed sorry for me, like they couldn’t imagine giving up social media. I couldn’t quite figure out why those people reacted with pity. After all, I was prioritizing my health, like any other type of addict would.
As I detoxed from posting and scrolling, I noticed how attached everyone else was to their social media accounts. When I went out to brunch with a friend, he pulled out his phone to Instagram his meal before he took a single bite. His Insta-habit didn’t bother me. In that moment, though, I realized how many of us take post before taking time to live in the moment. Before I gave up social media, I cared so much about seeing others’ “perfect” lives and instant gratification. Unfortunately, I never even fully enjoyed time out with my friends.
Even though I committed to logging off of social media for those 12 days, I did relapse back into my old habits during my detox. I knew that I could contact my friends via text or email, but one day, the desire to see what my friends were doing became strong enough for me to log back in. I popped into Instagram, watched someone’s story, then immediately logged out because I felt guilty for cheating myself. However, I tried not to beat myself up for my mistake. Just like with any other addiction, you can relapse on social media, but the most important thing is that you start back with your new social-free habits immediately after you slip up.
At the end of my social media detox, I discovered that social media isn’t nearly as important as we think. Even though I love social media, I no longer feel the need to use it all the time. After all, I don’t always need to know what my friends are doing and compare my life to theirs. Instead of scrolling through social media, I now stay in the present and enjoy every moment. Social media isn’t going away anytime soon, but we shouldn’t let it consume us. Instead, we should dive back into our actual lives and see everything we’d miss if we glue ourselves to our social media accounts. If you want to start living in the present again, try logging out of social media. It helped me, and it will definitely help you, too.