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There really hasn’t been a day I can remember since high school that I haven’t woken up to the sound of my alarm, rolled over, and started my day by squinting my eyes on to the bright light of my phone screen to check all of my socials. So, this week I decided to change that. I have been listening to Emma Chamberlain’s podcast, Anything Goes (which I will highly recommend because it is practically a form of therapy for me), and something I have taken away from her podcasts is the overall obsession we have with our phones and the toxic habits that can stem from consuming an excessive amount of media each day. I decided to limit my screen time this past week by making sure to avoid using social media for at least an hour after I wake up in the morning. This way, I could hopefully have a relaxing and distraction-free morning routine that allows me to set my intentions for the day. I decided that I could do this from Monday-Friday, since I was hoping to be productive during this past school week. Starting Monday, I woke up to my alarm and found it almost second nature that my arm started to reach for my phone and swipe to find my social accounts. Noticing this, I decided to take it a step further by rearranging my home screen, making my social media accounts more hidden. This, hopefully, would help me catch myself in the process of looking for my accounts, and deter me from mindlessly scrolling. By Friday, I definitely noticed a shift in my routine and productivity. When I woke up, I didn’t care so much about my notifications or TikTok, but rather I was focused on completing the tasks I had set the night before and getting organized for the day. In my personal reflections after five week days of this, which is only a short amount of time, I was able to label some of the differences in my behavior and my moods. While I certainly still used my phone throughout the day, using the first hour of my morning to unplug and prepare for my day had many advantages. Here are a few things I noticed this week from my “experiment”:

Sense of Peace in the Morning

This one was for sure the biggest change I saw. My mornings this past week have been the most peaceful mornings of my entire year. I woke up every morning, made my bed, brushed my teeth, did my skincare routine, and got dressed. Then I planned my day in my planner, and walked to the gym listening to light music or a nice podcast. My morning routine and walk to the gym without checking social media allowed me to enjoy the quiet, breathe, and set positive intentions for the rest of the day. Towards the end of the week, I often woke up excited to start my day without my phone. While mornings for me are often filled with stress in anticipation of my busy schedule, these last few mornings have been peaceful and calming. 

More Daily Confidence/Less Comparison

This one I wasn’t expecting as much. While all of these results are just based on correlational evidence, I am pretty sure the decrease in screen time had a positive impact on my self-confidence. While I hadn’t realized it before, this week led to my realization that being on my phone had a significant impact on my personal levels of confidence throughout the day. Lately I have been struggling with some new acne flare ups (Fun! Right?), and something I had been doing in the morning was pulling out my camera on snapchat, and staring right at my face and criticizing every new or old blemish that I could see. While I hadn’t realized it before, this was clearly hurting my confidence and making me sad or stressed before I had even gotten out of bed. Not only was I pointing out my blemishes on snapchat, but I was also getting an influx of acne and skin care advertisements on every media platform, reminding me of the current state of my skin. 

Restricting myself from using these platforms helped me to start the day off without such a deep focus on the appearance of my skin, and also restricted me from comparing myself to the various photos of other women on my feed. While it is hard to avoid constant comparison because of our exposure to media everywhere, I think that not focusing on the appearances of other women I barely know and comparing myself to them certainly helped my confidence this week as well. While I love to support other women and their beauty (inside and out), sometimes it becomes more toxic and self-destructive than anything else. 

More Time/Productivity

This experiment (and hopefully now, permanent habit) made me realize how much one can really get done in a single hour. Before this week, I would often tell myself I could spend a few minutes on my phone before getting out of bed. After scrolling through Tiktoks I would look at the time to see that what felt like a minute had passed, a whole hour had flown by! This would evidently lead to me springing out of ebed and running around my room to get ready and rush to class/gym/etc. Mornings without my phone let me get up slowly, plan my day, and complete a whole list of tasks before leaving for class. The hour I spent without my phone was essential to creating an organized plan to be productive throughout the day. I found myself crossing out tons of tasks in my planner and feeling more accomplished than ever. 


Overall, I cannot recommend taking an hour in the morning to be social media-free. I, being the social media coordinator and overall a big consumer of social media, will be the first to tell you that this is not easy. But, if I can do it, you can too. College students so frequently say they wish there were more hours in the day to be productive. While I can’t help anyone with that, I can recommend spending less of those precious hours on consuming content. Our generation is extremely dependent on our phones and the entertainment of the media. While there are many pros of it all, there are obviously many toxic habits and negative consequences that result from too much exposure to social media platforms. If you absolutely cannot do this in the morning, do it before bed. Or during lunch. Or whenever you can! Try it with me! Just one hour! I promise, you won’t regret it. (P.S. If you’re reading this article within an hour of waking up this morning, or after you’ve been scrolling for a little too long, put your phone down, I won’t be offended! :) )

Madigan Kelly

Holy Cross '23

I am a psychology major and creative writing minor from Milton, MA. I love all things fashion, beauty, and media!
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