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Mental Health

I Went 5 Days Without Social Media

As with many people, social media is the first thing I check when I wake up and the last thing I look at before I sleep. Anytime I’m waiting for longer than 20 seconds for something to load, I’ll check my phone by default and end up on the infinite feed of Instagram or Facebook. And you already know I’m gonna be promoting this article on my social media.

That being said, I’m not that active on social media. I probably post on Facebook the least (once every 2 months), then Instagram (once a month), and Snapchat the most (everyday). I use YouTube to listen to Ted Talks, watch TV shows and influencers’ videos, and the other completely random videos that come up on autoplay. I fall down the spiral of time-waster videos very quickly when it comes to YouTube!

I don’t make a living out of it, and I can hardly say that it has truly had any positive influence on my life, so why do I spend so much time on it? And how long could I last without it?

 

Monday

Knowing that social media would be the first thing I check when I wake up, I uninstalled my social media apps on my phone on Sunday evening. So now there’s 4 empty spaces on my screen where the apps should be (there’s supposed to be 5 empty spaces, but YouTube is a preinstalled app on my phone and I can’t delete it).

I spent 11-5 at the library today, and I didn’t check my social media once. Which means, apart from the nap I had, it was pretty productive.

But I noticed that I usually have little breaks in between working when I would check my social media feed, and I didn’t have those mini breaks today, or for the rest of the week. And honestly, I felt kind of lost and actually more tired without them.

How much I miss social media: 2/5

 

Tuesday

It may be too early to say, but I’m not entirely sure that being absent from social media has made me any more productive. I think it’s just a state of mind that I can be distracted by absolutely anything when I don’t want to do my work.

I have no lectures to attend today, and more time to waste on my phone, which now has no power to distract me. So, in keeping with this week’s theme, I decided to distract myself by researching the effects that constantly looking at social media can have on our physical and mental wellbeing.

It turns out that scholars of economics, business, health and behavioural studies have taken a recent interest in the effects social media. While business papers encourage brands to use social media for publicity and promotion, it doesn’t take an expert to see the negative impact that this has on our perception of self and others. Is this an unbreakable cycle that we are forced to live in? I’d like to think that as consumers, we’re smart enough to realise what’s an advertisment and are capable of making conscious decisions based on our own needs and wants (especially in relation to what the media portrays as the ‘desirable’ image of bodies, sexuality, fashion, intellect, speech etc.)

How much I miss social media: 4/5

 

Wednesday

I was actually looking forward to doing this challenge this week because I knew I was going to go to Crisis and wanted to see if I would feel the effects of not being able to Snapchat absolutely everything.

But I left my phone at home and I didn’t get into Crisis (Bierkeller saved the night).

I still felt like I was missing out though, because while everyone else was drunk Snapchatting, I had nothing to do. But I’ll admit that it felt good not feeling compelled to post something.

How much I miss social media 2/5

 

Thursday

In my almost three years in Nottingham I have never been to Jo’s Pancake House. Until today. And I didn’t get to post anything about it. I didn’t feel as bad about that as I thought I would though. I prefer treasured time with friends instead. Even though I can feel the grease seeping through my pores right now.

How much I miss social media: 1/5

 

Friday – conclusion and thoughts

To be honest, these past 5 days have been slightly underwhelming. I never really felt like I craved social media, and it actually felt really refreshing to not be endlessly scrolling through mindless screenshots of memes. To some extent it does feel like I’ve saved time and energy by making a conscious decision to avoid looking at my phone every 30 minutes. The only time I felt disconnected was when I realised that someone had posted seminar-related work onto our Facebook group and I didn’t see it until someone messaged me about it.

All this said, I know how hard it is to pull myself away from my phone. I think the physical act of uninstalling all social media apps on my phone was the only way to make a real effort to abandon social media for a week. (A very first world problem, I know.)

Edited By Niamh Perry

Sources:

http://gph.is/1Wl1OD8

 

http://gph.is/22Y4OoN

 

http://gph.is/2gdmlbI

 

http://gph.is/2qaZgg1

 

http://gph.is/2clTz9Z

 

https://gph.is/2oHDJJJ

 

http://gph.is/2iLW5KE

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