Why You Should Take a Break from Social Media

We live in an age where technology rules our everyday lives, and attention is the new currency. In fact, our attention is precisely what keeps many businesses alive, and this is especially true for social media companies like Instagram and Facebook. Like most college students, I indulged in social media and all of its tools, but when I realized the true cost of my attention, I decided to take a much-needed break from the world of likes and retweets. Here’s why you should, too.

 

You’ll gain more free time

    There’s no doubt that college is one of the busiest times of your life. From classes to clubs to other commitments, it can be hard to catch a breath. If you quit social media, you’ll buy yourself more time in the day to complete all your to-dos and possibly gain extra time on top of that. After deleting the Instagram and Snapchat apps from my phone, I was able to finish important things like homework without feeling rushed, while also having extra time to hang out with friends, start a new job, and volunteer at my church. For you, this new freedom could mean more time to work out, watch Netflix, or finally start that book you’ve been meaning to read.

 

You’ll get better sleep

We’re all guilty of staying up too late on social media after telling ourselves we’ll “just quickly check Instagram” before bed. No social media means less screen time, which means less of that harmful blue light that keeps your brain awake when all you want to do is go to sleep. And with deeper, more consistent sleep at night, you’ll have more energy and focused attention to finally be able to absorb everything you’re learning in class.

 

Your concentration will be stronger

Aside from the blue light, the bigger problem with social media lies in its innately addictive nature. As humans, our brains are wired to crave that dopamine rush and constant stimulation supplied by likes and comments, which makes it hard to focus completely on one task. Shutting off notifications may sound like a simple solution to this problem, but trust me, I’ve tried that, too. I learned the hard way that the only way to beat dopamine addiction is to cut off its source. By removing social media and its distractions altogether, you won’t be subconsciously wondering how many likes your photo has, and you’ll be able to give your full attention to whatever it is you’re working on.

 

You’ll be more self-confident

If you’ve ever scrolled through someone else’s Instagram page and thought I wish I looked like her, you’re not alone. Or maybe you’ve spent hours editing a single photo for your new post in hopes of meeting your followers’ standards. It’s easy to get stuck in this unhealthy cycle with social media as all it takes is one click of a button for comparison and negative self-talk to seep in and poison our self image. When you delete social media and other people’s likes and comments aren’t there to assure you of your worth, you’ll grow to love the real you, not the you that you portray on your Instagram page. And this, I can promise you from experience, is the most refreshing feeling in the era of Facetune and filters. 

 

Your stress levels will decrease

But, perhaps what the world needs most right now is a chance to relax. With the stress of the pandemic already weighing on our shoulders, we’d all do ourselves a huge favor if we took a break from social media. Though it may feel like your only source of connection right now, just a short break can be enormously restorative to your body and mind. Without that instant stress after posting on Instagram or the pressure of creating the perfect caption, perhaps you can breathe a little easier. And now that most of us are attending class from our computers, unplugging from technology as much as we can may be the smartest decision for our mental and physical well-being.

 

If you’re looking to live a happier and healthier lifestyle, taking a break from social media may be exactly what you need. If you cannot go six months like I did, I urge you to try quitting for a month, a week, a day, even, and I guarantee you will thank yourself later.