I finally did it.
The thought hit me on a whim when I decided to commit myself for a week without social media. I deleted all my apps (Instagram and LINE), ones that have been keeping me off schedule, procrastinating all the way through that enabled me to loose track of time, following with drastically reduced amount of sleeping hours. This isn’t healthy at all, I thought. It was becoming more of a barrier for me to reach my small, daily goals of solemn development. That does that, enough is enough. I needed a break from all this.
Social media was becoming more and more of a toxic for me, rather than it being an advantage at the time. Aside from all the hours spent being stuck on scrolling down my instagram feed, liking pictures and whatnot, I was immersed in (too much) envy, admiring with awe seeing other people’s highlight reels, resulting me to comparing my dull, unproductive life to theirs. I knew it had to stop, because those thoughts were subconsciously poisoning. People are people, and who would ever had the courage to post their bad sides of life on feeds? Not much. This played a huge part of the reason why I decided to go on a week-long hiatus from social media alone.
Turns out, I wasn’t the only one who felt the harm social media has managed to bring on average human beings. I’ve seen a lot of people quitting as well on the internet, saying that it had exceedingly changed their lives for the better. Some had survived for merely months, and even up to a year. The videos and articles I’ve read included thoughts on how social media has allowed them to completely dive into more deep work, which was great. They turned their lives upside down by spending them outside of social media, and was finally free to really live their lives to the fullest. Communicating, creating, thinking, learning, it was like breaking loose from a pair of chains after being held captive by them for so long. It felt liberating.
A lot of people who found out what I was doing ended up being utterly surprised, some perhaps even thought I was plenty crazy to cut ties with the one element that has seamlessly been putting us together to communicate with each other, yet at the same time pulling us apart during times where we aren’t even aware of doing it.
I didn’t care.
A week off social media has taught me a lot. Why didn’t you just try and limit yourself to it? They’d ask. Well, because I just couldn’t. Social media was intentionally created to become very addictive. Fact of the matter is that, it isn’t exactly designed for a person to stay on one story in a designated long time, instead, it is there to keep you occupied by simultaneously jumping from one story to another, figuring out what the people around you are up to during the most recent time there is. I suggest you read more about it here to really intercept what I’m trying to say.
The underlying question quickly surfaced after my big decision,
What was I supposed to do with all the time I had isolated from social media?
I am a person who gets easily upset whenever I find myself not being as productive as I planned to be during a specific range of time. The main reason why I urged myself into doing this was because of that. I couldn’t stand not doing anything important, or learning something new. Pursuing plays quite the huge role in my life, and I more often than not get lost in my thoughts thinking about not doing it enough unconsciously.
Eluding myself from social media got me out of my comfort zone, took me a lot further than I thought it would from the start. I started to push myself into doing deeper work, gaining the required productivity I have been craving for so long. The proud feeling started to cloud around me as I go, from day 1 to the very last day of my isolation. Not only was I proud, but happy as well. Duh. Who wouldn’t be ever so happy to actually feel alive again? I felt ecstatic, and so much of a chipper to gain all that free time to myself, noticing the bare truth that you can live a much happier life with no social media hooking you up every 3 minute-chances you get to check up instagram notifications from your phone.
Let’s see. Where did all my time off social media go during that week?
I attended a social event without pulling out my phone to record anything. Socialized like it was the most natural thing in the world.
I’ve pre-written at least 5 blogposts to publish for the following week. One of them being this one.
I’ve exercised almost everyday, for 30 minutes straight. Never have I felt myself feeling that healthy and fresh in my life.
I read the Bible everyday, with twice the amount of chapters I’d usually go on a daily basis. Spent more time praying, as opposed to checking off my empty notificationless phone.
I’ve finished my reading goal, of reading up to 200-300 pages of a tall-sized fantasy sequel I’ve been putting off ever so lately.
I listened to plenty of TED talk videos, and took bullet notes on my journal, because why not?
I didn’t put off studying to upcoming exams as long as I used to. Colossal improvement.
I’ve spent the extra time studying mandarin, resulting with much added new vocabulary to my list.
I even took an hour or two learning modern-day science from YouTube. Hey, a social-major student can always cross that line between the two separate subjects once in a while, no?
I spent more time communicating with my family after school, and even more time with myself. Just because I can.
I tidied my room, more often than I do that it turned out neater than it’d usually would.
I completed a number of chores I’ve been given to, not skipping on doing them this time like I’d normally would.
I did some required research regarding a couple of social justice topics for my upcoming debate competition.
Skimming through what I’ve done that week, I think I did a pretty okay job of not taking my time for granted like I usually do when I was literally on my phone all the time. Something tells me that I might go on another one, simply because it added more value to my life that it left a huge impact on me after it being over, even if it only went for a short amount of time.
So readers, if you’re still here reading this, I encourage you to try and do the same. Come back later and tell me what you’ve learned after doing so. Who knows how many new encounters you’ll face during a full week of social media detox?
Being away from social media peeled my eyes open to a better understanding on how prominent it is to spend less time on them, but more on the people around me, and doing the things I love, building my life brick by brick without ever to feel like I’m on a competition with everyone else around me.
I hope you enjoyed devouring this little post of mine, that it inspired you a bit after reading it.
until next time,