I can't remember the last time I went a day without checking Instagram or RSVP-ing to a Facebook event. I never thought a website or an app would be such a major part of my identity. But nowadays, I find myself being recognized on the street by my Instagram username, even by people whom I've never met before. And it's starting to get a little creepy. 

There's plenty of articles online about the possible mental health risks that overusing social media can present in young people—for example, depression, anxiety, loss in sleep quality, and low self-esteem. Even with these possible risks I still check my social media feeds numerous times a day. I know I have a problem. And the first step to recovery is admitting it, right? So I decided to go five days without using any social media to see how it feels. 

Day 1

To my surprise, the first day wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. It was weird to wake up and not check Instagram or Snapchat, but classes and coursework distracted me from thinking about it. The most difficult part of the day was before bed. All I wanted to do was scroll through my feed, but I settled with Netflix. I kept thinking, "wow this would be great to tweet about", but obviously that wasn't an option.  

Day 2

The second day was more difficult. This is when I realized how much time I spend on social media each day. I used to think that I could take boredom, but I was wrong. What am I supposed to do with all this free-time? Classwork? Laundry? Ya, I don't think so. 

Day 3

The third day was the worst. During the day, people kept asking me if I saw what was happening in a Facebook event that I was invited to. It was also a Friday, and the weekend is when my social media feeds are the busiest. When I got home, I felt like I was going crazy. I felt like I was missing out on knowing what people were doing on the weekend. FOMO hit hard. 

Day 4

I gave in on day four. I could not fight the FOMO.  I checked all of my social media feeds. But the important news I missed was one of my favorite surfers got signed to Volcom. I could have waited one more day to find out about that. 

I should've been able to go a measly five days without social media, but the third day made it seem impossible. The longer I went without it, the more I felt like I was missing out. 

I challenge you...

It's insane to think that these platforms we use to connect with each other didn't exist 10 years ago. People were still able to keep up with what was happening with their friends, and they're still alive. Yet our generation has the thirst to be connected.

I encourage highly active users of social media to go 5 days without using it and see how they feel. It can be nice to go off the grid. Even though I didn't make it the full 5 days of this challenge, it was eye-opening to see how much social media is a part of my life.