Social media can be an excellent tool for professional or personal use. Some people are so reliant on social media that if they don’t check it every hour, they feel out of the loop. Others struggle with their mental health if they are on it too much and I am one of those people.
Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of friends so I turned to social media to make online friends. I felt that talking to people online on Twitter was easier than trying to talk to my classmates at the time. I’m grateful that I was able to have those people to talk to growing up, but I wasn’t expecting social media to be as big as it is now.
I love social media for many reasons especially when it comes to keeping up with pop culture and interacting with others across the world. But at the same time, I wish that social media didn’t exist. The whole idea of people showcasing how perfect their life is through bikini or vacation pictures can be quite frustrating.
There is nothing wrong with showing the highlights of your life, but it starts to be a problem when society creates unhealthy standards. If you aren’t a size 0 or have flawless skin, you are considered to not be beautiful according to society. Some people might not care what others think, but there are many people that do.
Somedays if I am going through Instagram and I see someone with flawless skin, I might feel insecure. Part of that is due to being bullied for it in middle school. Aside from comparing my looks to others, I have found myself to compare my life a lot to others based off of their Instagram.
Instagram is nothing but a highlight reel but it can be damaging when all you do is compare your life to others based off the pictures they post. Yes *insert name here* went to Cancun recently, but is she really happy? She might have the perfect life, but you don’t see her mental breakdowns or the low points of her life.
After creating many unhealthy comparisons of myself to others, I decided that it would be best for me to take a break from social media. I told myself that I would delete Twitter for a week off of my phone. Although I failed, I was still able to decrease the amount of time I spend on social media. I turned off my post notifications and deleted the app for a day. I find that if my notifications are off, I am more present not only in my personal life but at work.
In January, I started a new job and I would find myself hiding in my phone to avoid conversations because I didn’t want to embarrass myself or be judged. After a month or so, I was able to develop more of a friendship with my coworkers. I consider some of them my closest friends now and i would not be able to say that if I didn’t put down my phone.
Recently someone told me that they were going to do a social media cleanse and I thought it was a great idea. I spent a day removing followers that were inactive or that I didn’t know, as well as unfollowed people that were damaging to my mental health. Removing followers was nothing personal, just felt that it would be better for my mental health if I didn’t have to worry what they thought of my tweets.
On Instagram I did more of a deep cleanse. I removed people that I felt were toxic or people that I compared myself to a lot. After doing that, I felt that I spent less time feeling like I was missing out, and spent more time feeling positive scrolling through Instagram.
I wish I had done that earlier, because it is so refreshing knowing that only people you trust are following your Instagram. I can open my Twitter now and only have tweets from people that I care about seeing on my timeline. I don’t have to worry about drama or people tweeting about things I don’t care about.
Before I took a break from social media, I would spend eight hours a day scrolling through multiple social media platforms. Within two weeks, I was able to decrease my daily social media use to four hours. Which although it is still a lot, it is definitely a step in the right direction.
There are many advantages to a social media cleanse and although I covered a lot of them the rest are in an article I found written by Tara Chawla on the website Medium. Some of the benefits that I already covered are more sleep, increased productivity, etc. but there are four other benefits that can be found in this article.
I hope that everyone is able to take a social media cleanse because it is so good for your mental health. I spend more time listening to music or doing homework than I spend watching TikToks. I am able to sleep more at night and I feel less anxious when I’m around others because I’m not constantly comparing myself to them anymore.