The Benefits of Quitting Social Media
It allowed me to focus, spend time with others, and relax. It can work for you too.
While there have been a lot of benefits in the last ten years through technology, it’s also led to some disadvantages. Feelings of anxiety, unsatisfied dating experiences, and stress are on the rise.
There’s this constant bombardment of information from the notifications section from your apps. Text messages, emails, Facebook updates, shiny Instagram posts, Tinder matches, etc. It can be really difficult to juggle when you have a lot on your plate at work can’t it? We’re in a very fast paced world and it can be overwhelming even among the best of us. It’s difficult to juggle when our society demands instant response times.
Social media shows everyone what they want you to see, painting a false and distorted sense of what’s really going on in their life. Imagine your at a traditional desk job working hard everyday. You’re lunch break comes with a dim lit room on a rainy day, you check your Instagram. You see nothing but a carefully chosen series of polished images of your old classmates and friends pretending to live the perfect life. You have a fear of missing out (FOMO) and it hurts. But you’re not looking at reality, they show you only what they want you to see.
You don’t have to compare yourself to an alternate reality, you’re amazing just the way you are. It’s the way we compare ourselves to others that makes us feel insecure, anxious, and uncertain. There are ways we can help alleviate all these negative thoughts we have about ourselves, quit social media for a while. They’re more to be gained by either quitting or limiting it from daily to weekly. Here are the benefits of quitting social media.
You ever felt that urge to check all your emails, text messages, bills, and voicemails? Did you feel anxious that you couldn’t get back to everyone on a particularly busy day? Well social media is no different. The expectation in our world of instant communication is well instant, making us feel burned out on Friday evening. Social media adds to this when you can’t get back to everyone and see images of a distorted life. You deserve a break from this.
In college when I was juggling between work, class schedules, fitness, and a social life I was drained by the time I got home. While I’m happy that others are showing images of how great they are most of them feel like a game of one-upmanship. The last thing I needed was to see my social media feed showing nothing but choreographed images and constant comparisons. It became irritating after a while and I had to focus on the college experience. I deleted my social media apps which really took the pressure off and allowed me to prioritize what’s important versus what isn’t. Comparing myself to others bragging about a personal brand was not important, school work and enjoying the company of friends on campus was. I’m an extravert and love meeting and talking to people over coffee or beer. But it’s more enjoyable being present than to feel anxious.
Have you ever noticed that when you have a conversation with your friend in the car and your driving somewhere new you lose your sense of direction? That’s what happens with social media too. You’re attention on where you’re destination ahead becomes easily distracted by the attention of your chatty friend. It’s nothing you did, you’re only human.
Limiting my social media use to once a week has allowed me the freedom to focus on what’s in front of me. It’s allowed for time to focus on getting projects done right away, plan ahead on deciding a master’s program, get all my unanswered emails out of the way, and declutter my room. There’s no more pressure or unconscious urge to check your phone every ten minutes nor is there any idea. It helps you take a breathe and redirect your attention from something out of your control, to something you can control. And it also gives you time, time to plan things and time to think about what matters most to you.
Your life can get so busy with the stuff you currently have that you can often forget to be in the moment. It’s easy to log in and see beautiful images of a seemingly perfect life of your friends and family, but there’s a lot that you don’t see in those images. You don’t see the student loans your friend Mark has too pay off and his only option was to fly to Hawaii on a business trip to pay it off. You don’t see your ex-girlfriend Emily afraid of losing her job after her boss yelled at her for being late to the California business meeting. You don’t see reality, you see distortions.
Cutting out all those distractions allows you to drink in the beauty this world has to offer. You finally feel at peace with yourself. It allows you to be mindful, to slow down and appreciate some of the interesting surprises in life. Is there a new ice cream shop in town that sells a chocolate and pistachio flavor you’ve been wanting to try? Check it out! Have you always wanted to play the guitar? Take a class! Are you a big fan of hiking? Ask a few friends to join you! Being present allows you to slow down and be grateful for what you have versus what you don’t have.
I know this pandemic hasn’t been easy for everyone, but what it has revealed is that being present and being with people you care about is more enjoyable than a game of one-upmanship. Be authentic be the type of person you want to be. Treat yourself once in a while. Buy a new flavored beverage. Netflix and chill with your dog. Be grateful to those in your life and express gratitude to those around you with joy and optimism. Watch this video by a time-lapse photographer who photographs of how beautiful our planet is. Practice logging off social media and be present.