Last week, I made a big decision: I deleted my Instagram app.
I told myself I’d hop off of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for at least a week.
Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place. Physically, I needed to spend more time exercising and less time scrolling. Emotionally, I just wanted a break.
As I spent time social distancing from my phone, I came up with a few more reasons why we should all consider a social media break throughout this pandemic (and once it’s over). Let’s get into it.
Let’s start with a practical reason. When you’re spending the night scrolling, you’re not spending the night sleeping. When you’re spending the evening scrolling, you’re preventing yourself from falling asleep sooner.
Our phones emit a blue light that mimics the sun’s rays. When our bodies are exposed to that blue light, they think that the sun is still up and they hold off on producing melatonin (you know, melatonin – that stuff you take at night to help you fall asleep? Our bodies can produce that naturally).
Give yourself a reason to put your phone to the side and let your eyes rest before bed. This is easier said than done – but it can be done.
Less Pressure to Perform
Don’t pretend to be surprised when I tell you that my therapist first suggested that I take a social media break. In a recent session, we whittled down some of my basic insecurities to a pressure to perform.
We all face this pressure. How many times have you made a decision because it would look better to people on your social media? How many times have you felt that you needed to share your routine, accomplishments or acts of allyship with the people around you, just to prove that you’re “doing something”?
What you’re doing is enough. Just getting out of bed during this pandemic is enough. Remember that as you evaluate your relationship with social media.
No Distractions, Just Focus
When do I scroll through social media? When do I not scroll through social media?
I get particularly upset at my social media addiction when it’s distracting me from consuming other media. Why do I need to check Instagram when I could be fully immersed in Season 15 of Survivor? (Don’t knock it until you try it. Survivor is the perfect mix of Real Housewives and a nature documentary.)
It’s much easier to throw my phone across the room (gently) and just focus on the movie I’m watching, the food that I’m eating, or the book that I’m reading. Do you know how much better your food tastes when that’s all you’re focusing on? Thanks, social media break!
You Dive Deeper.
I hesitated to step back from social media because I didn’t want to miss out on information regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. Before this break, I would receive bite-sized information on the movement that was easy to share and easy to digest. Instagram makes it easy to sign a petition, call a District Attorney, or queue up a book on my anti-racism reading with the use of a single finger.
But by stepping back from social media, I’m not stepping back from this information. I have still been able to call Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office to demand the arrest of Breonna Taylor’s killers. I have still been able to keep up with the news. Most importantly, I have had more time to sit and read books that provide context and history surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and how we got here. (I’m currently reading Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?, which is free to download through Haymarket Books.)
Take this break to dive deeper and learn more about these issues. Or don’t.
You Choose When to Consume
I don’t say “or don’t” to be snarky. There is a lot of overwhelming information that Instagram is delivering to your eyeballs. I’m not just talking about information on racial injustice and police brutality. I’m talking about that
At this point, I know that the
Do I feel great when I’m hit with more COVID-related content? No. Does it benefit me to drown in it? No. But it’s hard to avoid commentary on the Coronavirus when you’re scrolling through social media.
Taking a social media break has allowed me to take a break from news, commentary, and opinions that are hard to swallow. I’m not turning away out of ignorance. I’m just being more careful about when I choose to consume this information.
I chose this week to step away – and now I feel refreshed and ready to use social media again (with strict app limits).
How long will your break from social media be?