When I was abroad in the fall, I was often engaged in social media. Whether I was sending Snapchats to friends from home or posting an Instagram to update my followers, I realized that I was using these online platforms more that I should have been. This high usage continued when I returned home until I opened Snapchat one day and realized I was only using it to keep up with streaks. I deleted the app at that moment and decided to focus more on the present.
Social media is not always a bad thing, but it does make it much easier for people to compare themselves to others. Thoughts like “look at how perfect her life is” or “why can’t I look that good in a low ponytail” crosses almost every users mind at some point. This constant comparison with one another can be detrimental for one’s self confidence or even overall happiness. On the other hand, social media platforms are great for sharing cool experiences in your life with friends, family, and followers who may not see you on a daily basis. With two conflicting viewpoints, it’s important to ask the question: is my use of social media helping or hurting me?
This is a difficult question to answer truthfully. I want to say that I use social media for all of the best reasons, but I do find that I sometimes compare myself to those I follow on Instagram. Social media can also be distracting when I have a lot of studying or work to be doing. With all of this in mind and finals around the corner, I’ve come up with three tips to limit my use of social media and challenge you all to do the same.
1) Delete the App This is probably the most difficult, but most effective tip. I deleted Snapchat to take a breather from my phone and it has been such a successful experience that I still haven’t re-downloaded it. It’s nice to be able to disconnect from the social media world and live in the present. Rather than worrying about posting every moment from a concert or party, I’m actually enjoying the people around me. Deleting an app doesn’t have to be a permanent thing (although if you find it to be a healthy experience, then go for it!) since you can always re-download the app, but try to give this a shot. I promise, life will go on when your Snapchat streaks end.
[courtesy of Tenor]
2) Turn Off Notifications I don’t have any notifications for the social media apps on my phone. This means that in order to see messages, stories, and posts, I must open the app. When I don’t constantly have notifications blowing up my phone, I feel less inclined (and often forget) to check those apps. It is also particularly helpful after I post something on Instagram. I don’t get notified when someone “likes” my post, which allows me to focus on my life in the present than the number of notifications and likes on my photo.
[courtesy of Tenor]
3) Use the Screen Time Feature iPhone released a feature that tracks a your phone usage and displays the number of minutes spent on each app per day. I started tracking my social media minutes and set a goal for myself during the month of this social media cleanse. If a month is too long for you, try to set a goal for yourself and stick to it for a week. Make using social media less of a habit so eventually it becomes a fun way to interact with friends and family rather than an obsession that increases the feelings of FOMO. Every minute spent off social media is a minute that can be used towards writing that paper you’ve been putting off all semester, or going to those on-campus events that you’ve been saying you’ll go to.
[courtesy of Tenor]
Whether it’s for a day, week, or month, a social media cleanse is good for every user. With project deadlines looming and finals week sneaking up on us, try your best to stay focused. The warmer spring weather also presents an opportunity to be outside, so go to your school’s sporting events, lay out on the quad, and just enjoy the moment, rather than being tied to your Instagram feed. I encourage you all to try one of the three tips I’ve suggested and do a social media cleanse that works for you. Good luck with finals and enjoy your last few weeks of the semester!