Why We All Need A Social Media Break

Ok ok. Let me just start this post by stating that when I am referring to a “social media break” I am not meaning to abandon your cell phone and live amongst nature like an episode of Survivor. To me, a “social media break” can simply be putting more time and energy into other aspects of your life other than Instagram or Facebook. I would still communicate with my close friends via Snapchat and our group chats but I definitely took a hiatus from posting on Instagram and sharing my personal life. And let me tell ya, it felt GREAT!

Social media is awesome. Heck, the internet is AMAZING and has changed the course of the future. BUT— because we are only human, we can only consume things in moderation. Having too much of anything can kill us. Even the most necessary of things like water.

I finally installed my new software update on my iPhone after tapping “Later” about 10,000 times (I’m not the only one that’s like this, right?). In this new update it offers a feature that can really make you self reflect. It shows users a raw count of the minutes they’ve spent in their apps each day in the last week plus their average across the week. Even though social media is my job, my Screen Time on my iPhone revealed I had spent a LOT of time on Instagram. Although this diagnostic made me more self aware of my social habits, that wasn’t what made me pump the breaks on my phone usage. It was much much more! I am going to share some of my personal reasons for taking a break. If you experience these things from time to time, maybe a social cleanse would be something to benefit from too. So, if you can relate to any of these it might be something to consider:

1. You feel anxious if you do not have your phone by your side

Do you start each morning checking Instagram or have anxiety the minute you walk out the door and realize you forgot your phone? 🙋🏼‍♀️

I took a media class in college that basically taught a lesson on how we are becoming cyborgs ourselves. I know, lol. Here me out. Cyborgs are basically humanized robots, right? As technology advances, we are not only adding human characteristics to robots but adding robot characteristics to us humans. Even Elon Musk said, “We’re already a cyborg. You have a digital version of yourself, a partial version of yourself online in the form of your emails, your social media, and all the things that you do." We already have "super powers," contends Musk, citing the world’s access to smartphones and personal computers. "You have more power than the president of the United States had 20 years ago. You can answer any question, you can video conference with anyone, anywhere. You can send messages to millions of people instantly. Just do incredible things."  But that’s only the start.

What’s my point with all of this? It’s inevitable that technology is becoming an extension of ourselves, but we also need to remind ourselves from time to time that we are HUMAN not cyborgs. Having a phone attached to our hip is not natural and only communicating through our phones inhibits us from so much. Our time on this earth is not unlimited so wouldn’t you rather have more genuine conversations in person other than a text message conversation? I definitely fall victim to the iPhone anxiety but the more I have made a mental note to put down my phone, I have found myself to be so much happier in the moment.

2. You begin compare yourself to your newsfeed

Do you ever just scroll through your Instagram feed and find yourself saying, “Ugh, I need more clothes. Look at all the outfits she has and oh my god her shoes. I need those shoes.” “Her body is crazy! How is she so skinny. I probably shouldn’t have had that pizza last night.” Okay… maybe it’s just me thinking those things to myself but I realized how often I said them and how unhealthy it was. Growing up, I always struggled with comparing myself to others. We often forget that Instagram is just everyone’s “good side”. I mean, rarely do you see photos of someone crying or sharing their biggest fears or failures. It’s no surprise that Instagram came in number 1 for the worst social media platform for your mental health. Instagram posts can set unrealistic expectations and create feelings low self-esteem. Women (and men) are comparing themselves to each other more than ever before!

It breaks my heart that we live in a world where a lot of young girls are looking up to women that are facetuning and sharing a false reality. As I’ve lived in LA I discovered that even celebrities that have personal trainers, incredible DNA, the best plastic surgeons at their disposal, and professional photography STILL Facetune and edit their photos (check out @celebface on Instagram if ya don’t believe me). It just goes to show that we are all human and we all struggle with the desire to appear perfect. In fact, Roberto and I will take hundreds of photos (lol thanks Instahubby!) and I will chose my few favorites from the large group of photos. Of course I am not inclined to sharing the photo of me making a double chin while looking down or the one where I am doing a creepy weird smile. I probably end up choosing the one where I look my best. And hun, that photo I share is not me 100% of the time, honestly probably not even 10% of the time haha. It’s my “perfect reality” I portray. So ya, I’m guilty of it too! Well, I could keep talking about this topic for a while so I will save this topic for another time… Anywho… Instagram and social media can lead us down a dangerous path of comparing ourselves to one another and make us self doubt. Love what God gave ya! He made you in His image. You are unique and beautiful in your own way! Own it. This is a message I have to still preach to myself every. dang. day. Trust me.

The day I chose to ignore my Instagram and not spend a lot of my time on my iPhone apps I began to feel that weight of “wanting to be perfect” lift off of my shoulders. It’s nice alleviating this pressure and you begin to focus on things that really matter than the things that shouldn’t.

3. You find yourself choosing to scroll through social media other than doing your daily routine

I know at least ONE of you guys have been here— you take a shower, sit in bed with a towel on your head, scroll through your Instagram, and then BOOM 30 minutes somehow rolled by and now you have to rush to get ready. OR you put on your activewear outfit with the full intention to work out and then you get sucked into scrolling through Instagram or watching your favorite YouTuber’s videos. At one time or another, I am sure we have all fallen victim to choosing social media over our daily life. Growing up, my Dad always made fun of me for watching reality television shows and said that, “You are wasting your life sitting watching people live their lives.” Well Dad, now I do that with social media too haha.

When I began to take a break from social media, I began to notice the things I was once neglecting. I had a lot more free time to focus on myself and activities. It’s crazy how much free time you have once you remove yourself from the unhealthy social media routine.

Do you need a social media cleanse too?

It’s incredible that we live in a world where we can scroll online and check what our dinner looks like before we order it or that we can see exactly that perfect Bali sunset your friend at work was describing when she was sharing her vacation. Social media has opened up a world of opportunities. Just like Uncle Ben from Spiderman says, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Social media is great but it definitely can have its drawbacks.

Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and focus on whats really important and the best way to do that is removing yourself from what is inhibiting you. For most people, that can be social media.

Have any of you guys gone on a “social media cleanse”? Did you feel like it worked? I’d love to know if any of you guys can relate! :)

XOXO,

Carleigh Elise