Disconnect to Reconnect

 

 

We all fall into the social media trap our society has created, and because of it, we are addicted. We are so engrossed in other people's lives that we have lost sense of how to live our lives without sharing it with the world. Sometimes we need time away to remember what's most important in life.

This past weekend, I went on a social media cleanse and I have never felt more alive. I spent the few days in middle of nowhere at the Antioch Retreat put on by St. Ambrose's Campus Ministry. At first I felt myself constantly reaching to check my phone, and it took a lot of effort to stay strong and not check. When the weekend first started, I felt so disconnected from the world and was constantly wondering what the rest of Ambrose was doing. I had a serious case of FOMO! It became easier as I became busier and spent my free time talking to the people around me. I was making real connections with people, not just talking to keep a Snap Streak. When I did have time to check my phone, I did not feel the urge to get on social media.

I found time going slower, I literally had time to stop and smell the flowers. My days felt longer as I wasn't wasting my time scrolling through my Twitter. I wasn't thinking about putting every moment on my Snap Story. I was actually living in the moment and enjoying it to the fullest. I felt less anxious as I was not constantly checking to see what other people were doing and comparing my weekend to theirs.

My days start off peacefully, too. Instead of checking every social media app before I even got out of bed like I usually do, I left my phone on the charger and watched the sunrise instead. I finally had time for me to just sit and think. My mind wasn't spinning with stresses like "When am I going to get all of my homework done?", but philosophical thoughts instead, like "What makes me truly happy?"

This disconnection is no doubt easier to do at a retreat where no one has their phone out, and where they constantly have activities going on to keep you from getting bored. But even on campus we can start small. Maybe it's not using social media for the first or last hour of your day. Maybe it's not using your phone at meals. Maybe it's going as far as deleting the apps altogether. You just have to figure out what works best for you and what makes you happy. What's the point of posting your whole life on social media if you don't get to fully experience it in the moment?