Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Mental Health

Taking a Break from Social Media: How Logging Out Helped Me Be More Present in My Life

It took me some time to admit it: I was addicted to my phone. I grabbed it first thing in the morning, scrolled through my feed during every break, and neglected proper rest to spend evenings glued to the screen. My sleep was disturbed, my anxiety was getting worse. I was in a constant rush and had a hard time meeting my deadlines. But that wasn’t the worst thing. I was so absorbed in the dazzling world of social media that I wasn’t present in my own life. 

I’ve been meaning to reduce my screen time for a while, becoming concerned about the hours I spent online. Winter break seemed like a perfect time to finally reconsider my relationship with social media. I did my research, applied a few methods and was disappointed to find out that they didn’t work for me. I deleted the apps but used the browser. I disabled the browser, blocked the websites but shortly recovered them. I set a time limit, switched my screen into black and white mode, put my phone in a different room. All this was in vain because every time I was bored, anxious or tired – I would reach for my phone. It took me a few days to finally come up with something effective. I set random passwords to all my social media accounts and neither remembered nor saved them. With this simple action I shut the door and lost the key to my digital reality.

Leaving social media was like leaving a noisy overcrowded room. At first, I felt disoriented. I kept reaching for my phone automatically ten times an hour only to find that there was nothing there. My phone suddenly lost all its attractiveness. Whenever I opened the websites, they were locked. I was too lazy to bother with access recovery, so I simply put my phone down. In three days, my urge to grab my phone whenever I felt uncomfortable disappeared. A week later, I forgot about social media altogether.

I was struck in discovering how rich and exciting life outside my phone was. It had been like this all the time, of course – with the exception of me not being present in it. My conversations were not interrupted by annoying notifications, and my mind was free from unnecessary stimulus. I finally got a book to read simply for pleasure and spent a lot of time outdoors, enjoying the winter. All of a sudden my world got quieter. I had only my life to live instead of dozens of lives to observe. I still got the urge to grab my phone whenever I had a few free minutes, especially when I was waiting for something. But every time I made an intentional choice to simply be there in the moment and let it pass. Turns out you don’t need to fill in every spare minute. You can just be there.

In February, after several weeks offline, I recovered my key and unlocked the door to the digital world again. This time, I had more energy to be mindful about my presence there. I decluttered my digital space as I would declutter my closet and left only a few things I truly enjoyed. After this little break, I’ve become more mindful about my social media usage. Now I strive to find a balance to be able to have fun online and be present in my own life.

Leila Askerova

Helsinki '22

English major with a love for slow life and all things cozy.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️