There’s a quote that was going around the other day that the people who aren’t on social media have the answer to life. I partly believe in this statement, because I have friends who just aren’t interested in being on social media, and they seem to be very happy and content with themselves. Although social media is a good thing, over-consuming it can easily make you lose yourself.
Early last year I chose to take a break from all of my social media platforms. I simply deleted all the applications on my phone and chose to be more present in the things going on around me. The break was supposed to last two months, but I ended up staying off for five. The reason is that I realized that social media was really distracting me from my self-growth, and once I left I just didn’t see the need to get back on these applications.
During this period, I was reading a lot more and expanding my knowledge. I focused on my studies and the results were evident. Aside from this, I found that I reconnected with my closest friends. Because when you’re off these socials, not that many people will look for you, and that’s the reality. It’s a good thing because you spend a lot of time in solitude and end up growing in aspects of yourself. Ever since I have become a firm believer that there is a need to take a break from these applications every once in a while. It’s a breath of fresh air from the virtual world, and it reconnects you to the reality of this life.
Here are a few signs that you need to take a social media hiatus:
- Your screen time is too high
Most smartphones nowadays have the option of checking the amount of time you spend online. Most times, the results will shock you. I have actually previously had a screen time of over seven hours per day on average. That’s nearly a third of the day, spent scrolling through these apps. I think it’s a huge problem. The way I see it, there was no way I would actually have an entire seven hours just to spend online, it obviously meant that I was compensating for other more important activities.
A cousin of mine once stayed with us for a month, and I remember half the time she didn’t know where her phone was, and she was least bothered. She would only check it at night. By the end of the week, her screen time was one hour on average per day. If I’m being honest, I was a little jealous. This was when I realized that I actually had a problem. I decided to cut down on my social media and my screen time was down to three hours. I still consider this to be too high, but at least I was making progress. The screen time tracker also has the ability to show which applications you are spending the most time on, and this will help you realize which ones to delete and stay away from.
- You find yourself comparing yourself with other people
I can’t stress just how many times I have caught myself in this trap. You’re scrolling through your social media and you see a friend’s posts, and you start to wish your life was as good as theirs. This comparison happens mostly with people that are your age. Whenever I’ve found myself doing this, I have known that it’s time to leave the application.
What happens is, people only post their good times. Nobody will ever come on social media to say how they are starving, or depressed. But the minute they go on vacation, they will start posting it everywhere. So if you ever find yourself comparing yourself with other people, know that it’s time to take a break. One day I was scrolling through my socials and I saw that someone I once knew had captioned on one of his pictures about how happy he was. At the time, I was going through the most. This was really depressing to me because he was partly the cause of my sadness. Not that I didn’t want him to prosper, but I just wondered how he could be happy and yet I was drowning in my sorrows. Whenever you find yourself in such situations, leave those applications and focus on yourself.
- You know too much about what’s happening in other people’s lives
Have you ever met someone who is too involved in other people’s lives? Well, not only have I met someone, but I have also been that someone. I’m sure we all have at some point. This is really sad because it also means that you’re not focusing on the important things in life. Whenever this happens it means you need to start refocusing on your own reality, and one of the ways to do this is to leave social media altogether.
A friend of mine was once going through a heartbreak. Her potential man had left her, and soon enough he was in another relationship. My friend didn’t take it too lightly. She would send me pictures of his new girlfriend asking if she was prettier than she was. She even went ahead to create a secret account where she could stalk these people without getting caught. This is an obvious sign that she needed to leave social media. There should never be a point where you’re too concerned about small things going on in people’s lives.
- You get separation anxiety from your phone
How long can you comfortably stay away from your phone? Is it five minutes or one hour? Some people will just be relaxing, and then as soon as they realize that they don’t have their phones nearby they start to get anxious. This is another obvious sign that you need to leave social media.
I’ll admit that nowadays I am on the other end of this spectrum. I rarely ever know where my phone is and it doesn’t bother me as much. While this isn’t exactly a good thing, it has helped me to focus on the things that I am doing. So if you realize that you can’t stay away from your phone for too long, it might just be time for you to leave all these social media applications.
- The first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do when you sleep is check your social media notifications
Again, almost everyone has been a victim of this. It’s like you subconsciously feel the need to be connected to the online world all the time. It’s such a bad habit, because the majority of the times when you’re on social media like Instagram, you are focusing on what other people are doing with their lives.
I found a way of dealing with this which also helps me to get up on time. What I do is, I leave my phone charging on the opposite end of the room before I go to bed. I always set the volume high, such that immediately my alarm rings I will rush that direction and by this time I’m fully awake. Aside from this, I have found that I sleep much better. Staying away from your phone gives you a sense of clarity and peace of mind. If you are unable to keep your phone away when you’re going to bed, then you might just need to delete your social media for a while.