For the last week or so, I have found Instagram to be a volatile place. A place where I feel forced to oblige followers with online content and a place where all I seem to be doing is scrolling aimlessly. This routine of waking up and checking your Instagram feed like it’s the daily newspaper is a safety hazard to our mental health. It’s a place to binge when you’ve nothing else to do. I’ve really felt that over the last fortnight.
I was bed bound for a couple of days after surgery, and instead of reading a book or watching television, I was fixated on Instagram and Facebook. After 2 worthless days, I decided that my brain needed a break. It was honestly one of the most refreshing things I’ve done in a long time, and I feel a little embarrassed to admit so. Most people feel better after going for a walk or taking a shower, but 1995 babies? We’re as good as new after taking a break from the Internet. A worrying thing to admit out loud, but an honest truth.
How Social Media Has Changed Us
In the last decade, the internet has evolved rapidly. It’s only seven years ago since the arrival of snapchat and Instagram, two apps I never thought would evolve to be two of the greatest money making machines. I remember when I first downloaded Instagram. I was sitting my leaving cert. I’d just got my first iPhone, but up until that moment, my only form of communication was through my little Nokia (which I was completely content with; and kind of miss.)
The continuous change in social media intrigues me, but all the same completely bewilders me. It’s scary to think that this is the platform we turn to to post photos publicly, to show off our new outfits, to tell everyone that we are abroad. It’s the platform we use to earn money, to monetise our photographs and advertise ourselves as ‘influencers’, in hope to gain a following. When I walk outside my house, where are the 6,000 followers who view my online content? Where are all of the supposed people who like my photo? The answer is, behind the screen. We’re living in a fantasy world, one which has the ability to destroy relationships through the press of a “like”, one which has the capability of destroying friendships through a single upload of a photo, and one which has the power to self destruct, to make you feel utterly worthless. We’re consumed by overly edited photographs taken in The Bahama’s which make us feel insecure and quite honestly, broke. Every single one of us are on a different journey, one which will lead us to unique places. The internet shouldn’t take our motivations and desires away, just because Mary down the road is living in Dubai and Tom invited everyone from work out except you. No. It’s all so wrong!
Social Media Detox: Tips
As someone who spends a ridiculous amount of time online, I’ve decided to detox from the global phenomena. And although I’ve only decreased my screen time in the last week, I’ve already noticed a massive difference!
– Putting Your Phone Down When You’re With People: I’ve started a new regime where I will put my phone down while in the presence of others. Sure, I’ll take a quick snap and keep it for a later upload, but I have a much greater interest in spending real time with the people I love. It gives me the opportunity to connect with others, and gives them the respect they deserve. Give it a try. Spend more time in the present world, as you’ll be surprised by what you’ll discover.
– Read A Good Book: Reading is extremely healthy for the mind, and promotes strong well being and a higher IQ. This does not include reading a book online, as there are always numerous distractions such as incoming notifications. Try reading an actual book, be it from a local book store or library, or something you’ve found in the attic. I’ve started reading again, and have noticed a positive change in my mood.
– Leave Your Phone At Home: Sometimes, ‘forgetting’ your phone at home is the best way to escape from reality. Take a long walk on a work break, and leave unread emails and messages until you return. It’ll do wonders for your mind and give you real time to actually think. I’ve stopped bringing my phone on walks around my local area. I’m a little lonely without music playing, but it’s given me an opportunity to explore my thoughts and to meet locals around the area.
– Utilise Your Spare Time Creating Hobbies: If you have hobbies, use them to your best ability. I love writing, music and drawing, three very artistic things I’ve neglected in the last decade due to the distraction of my iPhone. Taking a break from my phone means I can make time for the things I enjoy, and make practice to become better.
Live In The Moment. Life Is Short, Don’t Spend Life Trapped Behind A Screen. Go Out And Live. ❤️