The beginning of a new year is a good time to look at your habits and ask yourself which ones are getting you closer to your goals and which ones are sabotaging them. For example, spending an hour a day studying will get you closer to graduation; spending an hour a day on TikTok won’t.
Is social media use really a problem?
Who remembers when the first social media platform, MySpace, came online in 2003? And then Facebook in 2004 and other applications quickly followed?
Growing up with social media, you may not remember a world without it. It’s a natural part of your life.
Some American teenagers spend nine hours on social media, including videos, music, and gaming.
That’s a lot of time and it’s easy to see how quickly it adds up. You’re doing internet research. You surf over to YouTube to check out a source. One of their suggested videos catches your eye. The next thing you know an hour and a half have gone by and all you’ve accomplished is watching 21 cute cat videos.
It’s not that you’re weak. Social media platforms’ algorithms are engineered to entice you to both sticks around and keep coming back. Or, has this ever happened to you? Relaxing during a study break, you check your Instagram. You like and comment on all your friends’ posts and reels, but instead of feeling relaxed, you wonder why your life can’t be as exciting as theirs. Given all the time you spend and how the posts make you feel, maybe you should stop scrolling for a while. Even Instagram has started prompting users to take a break.
Why should you take a break?
- Disconnecting from your social media allows you to reconnect with other things: friends, family, exercise, sleep, etc.
- It’s natural to compare yourself to the people you follow, but that can make you feel unhappy with your situation. This negative emotion may prevent you from living your best life.
- You will no longer have FOMO. Since you will be unaware of what everyone else is doing, you’ll be free to focus on doing what is important to you.
- You’ll have more time to study, work a part-time job, play sports, volunteer, and other things that look good on a future resume.
- Because when you remove the pressure to impress your followers, your mental health improves.
How can you tell that it’s time to take a break?
- The only reason you don’t check your social media is because you’re being punished.
- You are more concerned with how many likes your posts get than actually interacting with the people who are liking them.
- You think you have to attend, document, and post every social event you’re invited to.
- You’re being bullied.
- Scrolling makes you feel worse about yourself.
- You are judging, comparing, and daydreaming instead of living your life.
- You are constantly annoyed by other people’s posts.
What does it look like?
- Turning off your notifications.
- Replacing doom scrolling with Facetiming a friend.
- Trying something new like journaling, knitting, playing an instrument, painting, cooking, etc.
- Using an alarm clock to wake up in the morning and putting your phone in a drawer across the room from your bed at night.
After your social media break, try limiting your use to 30 minutes a day and see what happens. Check your platforms intentionally, not just because you’re bored. You may be surprised at how much more happy, creative, and productive you are.