Social media is a part of our lives that we all know and love. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat — you name it, I'm there. I love seeing into other people's lives and letting people into mine.
Recently though, it's gotten out of hand. I've been excessively checking social media when I should be studying, obsessing over how many likes my Instagram post got, trying to come up with a caption that's clever enough to both wow my followers and portray the message I want to get across, and comparing my life to the lives of people I follow.
How It Started
A couple nights before Lent—a big part of the year in the Catholic church in which we give something up to honor Christ's sacrifice for us — I was fed up with life and deleted Snapchat out of the blue. From there, I decided to just roll with it and give up Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well.
I deleted all the apps from my phone the night before Ash Wednesday (the official start of Lent) and felt good about my decision. The challenge would begin in the morning.
I had no idea just how hooked I was on social media. I mean, I knew I was on it a lot, but I honestly thought it wouldn't be too bad to quit it cold turkey.
I would find myself walking to class and automatically going to click where my Instagram app would normally be, or I'd be waiting in line for food and wanting to scroll through Twitter. I'd think of something hilarious and want to tweet it, or see a squirrel running up a tree and want to Snapchat it.
The weirdest thing was studying. In the past, I would use social media to take frequent breaks. Without social media to give me that release, I didn't take breaks and got much more done.
During the first part of week two, I had to study nonstop because I had a ton of exams. By this point, I was kind of getting used to not using social media. But the second part of week two was spring break.
Since all of my friends still had social media, it was difficult. They asked me for help on their captions and I actually had trouble coming up with one. I wanted so badly to be able to post one of the many adorable pictures we took that week in Florida, but with my strong willpower, I resisted the temptation.
At this point, I had started to use the Apple News app to replace social media. Not even mad about this because I was learning about what was going on in our nation and in the world around us.
There was one day that I really wanted to post a picture on Instagram: Registered Dietitian Day at the Indiana Statehouse. Yes, I'm a nerd, and yes, I am proud that I made it without posting a picture. It's the little things.
Week four was perhaps the most productive week I've had in my life. I didn't have much that was due, but I knew I would be busy the following week, so I worked ahead — shocking for a girl who is normally a procrastinator.
I finished a paper a week before it was due, studied for three exams that were the next week, and knocked out so much extra work. Is getting rid of social media turning me into a more productive person...?
Weeks Five & Six
These weeks were just a blur of writing papers, taking tests, and being stressed. It was a busy week for getting into contact with people via Facebook messenger, so I let myself slack a little on that part. But by then, I was so close I could see the light of social media at the end of the tunnel.
From this experience, I became more productive, gained self-confidence from not constantly comparing myself to others, and realized how often I was using my phone. I stopped thinking in tweets and Instagram captions and started paying more attention to real life happenings.
Because I wasn't on my phone as much, I noticed how often other people were on theirs when we would hang out.
Giving up social media was no piece of cake since it is so heavily integrated into everyone's lives, but I would totally recommend it—whether it's for an hour, a day, or a week. Any time without it will make you realize just how attached you are to it, and that'll make you want to change your habits.
Social media plays a huge role today's world, and while it is fun, you definitely need to get away from it all sometimes to really understand what it does.