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Mental Health

Why It’s Important to Take the Occasional Social Media Cleanse

"I can’t post now...it’s too late in the afternoon and I won’t get enough likes.” “When should I snap him back...should I wait 7 minutes or 4 hours?” “I’m so jealous of this girl...her Instagram photos make it look like she has so many more friends than me.” 

These are just a few of the many things that we’ve all thought about throughout our experiences living in a world dominated by social media. In this generation, our lives sometimes can feel like they’re “defined” by the way we present ourselves online. The number of followers we have, views we get on stories or comments we receive on pictures seem to determine our worth and how “cool” we are. 

Now, I’m not saying that social media is completely bad; I personally love editing photos and sharing them with friends and family on platforms like Instagram, VSCO, Facebook and more. But, sometimes, we need to take a break from it all. Even if you’re not trying to, it’s inevitable that you are going to occasionally compare yourself to other people on these apps. You’re going to feel insecure about the relationships you have, no matter how great they are, after seeing a picture of fifty girls hugging and smiling at another school. You’re going to feel “lame” after getting 300 likes on a photo versus the 2,000 that the girl across the hall got the day before. You’re going to overthink the way you look and the time you need to spend waiting to send photos to someone you’re trying to impress on Snapchat because of the “rules” our society has created about flirting online. 

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These are just a few of the many drawbacks that come from social media. That is why it’s very important to take breaks from it every once in a while. 

I’ve always heard of girls deleting Instagram and Snapchat for a few weeks or even for 40 WHOLE DAYS during Lent and thought they were crazy. I felt like I could NEVER give up these platforms. But, a few days ago, I decided to finally try it out myself. I was beginning to get very overwhelmed with school work and aspects of my social life, and Instagram seemed to be adding unnecessary levels of stress to this already busy time. So, I did it. I clicked delete. 

I'm not going to lie, it’s been really weird scrolling through the apps on my phone looking for Instagram and not finding it. I never realized how much I used it and how often I felt the need to check to see whether that boy commented on my picture or if that girl ended up posting. But, by simply deleting an app, I’ve already noticed my stress levels go down. I’ve been able to force myself to concentrate on my work and in-person relationships. I haven’t felt as strong of an urge to compare myself to others and have instead been focusing on me and my own relationships. 

With all of this being said, I will most likely re-download Instagram again soon to post some fun gameday photos or see the cute stories that my friends post. But, now that I’ve had a cleanse and realized the negative effects of social media, I know what to focus on - and that’s me. So, I encourage everyone to try a social media cleanse every once in a while in order to take a break from it all - because it really can be exhausting sometimes - and let me know how it goes!


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Lindsey Reina

Notre Dame '23

My name is Lindsey Reina, and I am a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame! I am originally from Atlanta, GA, and I am studying Political Science and Latino studies. I am the biggest Taylor Swift fan around, love swimming competitively, and always look forward to baking with my fellow wildcats in Ryan Hall every week!
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