I’m sure by now you’ve heard the catchy phrase that engulfed much of quarantine, “bored in the house, and I’m in the house bored.” Like me, I’m sure this rang true for most people when adjusting to the new normal. However, after reflecting on my days (pre-corona and now), I’ve found that a lot time my boredom brings me directly to social media – scrolling, scrolling, and scrolling. Not only am I bored in the house, but now I’m also bored on social media.
In my freshman year college writing class, I was forced to write a research paper. My chosen topic was on the effects of social media. I did not pinpoint a side or denote whether I personally believed the pros outweighed the cons, or vice versa, but this period of isolation and social distancing has caused me to rethink and gain a newfound appreciation for the simple things.
Don’t get me wrong, I use social media every day, for educational AND entertainment purposes. In fact, I probably have more social media apps downloaded on my phone than some people: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat… (and the list could continue.)
Lately I find myself getting lost in my phone and not necessarily being happy about it. I spend way too much time scrolling through the same feed, seeing the same picture, hearing from the same people, comparing myself to the same followers, but most importantly, seeing my screen time continually rise.
Social media creates platforms where we can see the lives and every move of our peers, colleagues, and family members. For the most time, it’s a blessing. It allows you catch up with friends and stay connected during times when physical contact and meet ups are not possible.
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of I’m not doing enough, or even, I wish I could be more like him/her. It is easy to get lost in the idea that you’re falling behind because your days, weeks, months, even years, don’t look the same as somebody else’s.
I constantly see people post workouts and body transformations and think, I’m not working out enough. Seeing people perfect a skin care routine and buy hundreds of dollars of brand name products and thinking, I’m not focusing on myself and my needs enough. Or even seeing other people’s schoolwork and online grade reports and thinking, I’m not putting enough effort into my courses.
The comparison, the obsession with things one doesn’t have, and the false reality social media often tends to create, can be draining. In order to avoid continuously falling back to my phone and this routine, I decided to limit my screen time and focus on the things that bring me true, genuine happiness. In the process, I learned a lot about myself and those around me.
I was able to get back in touch with the things that I love.
I started reading more, participating in yoga classes again, going on long walks, finding podcasts that I enjoyed, and taking in the fresh air. I noticed that my days felt more meaningful when I devoted time to things I enjoyed, instead of wasting time getting caught up in my phone or scrolling through Facebook.
It helped me to recognize and appreciation my real connections.
Instead of being surrounded by internet followers and accounts, I was able to fully check in on those who are important to me. I was able to appreciate the power of laughing till your stomach hurts with your best friend, grabbing a cup of coffee with a family member, and even reconnecting with a familiar face. To me, these deep connections are worth so much more than anything you can get from a text message.
I allowed me to realize that not everyone’s path looks the same.
I know this sounds cliche, but it’s truly hard to not get caught up in the ideas that your plan and goals don’t align with those around you. Some of your peers will be graduated early, some will get amazing jobs, some will flourish in their relationships, and others will take totally different routes. It is important to keep an open mind, stick to your goals, and remember that if you show up as the best version of yourself every day, then the rest will fall into place.
I am no social media expert, but if I could share a few parting words as I close the chapter on quarantine and summer, and head into junior year, it would be to take everything with a grain of salt – whether that be life, social media, work, new friends, etc. If you think something is taking away your happiness, then stop.
Do what makes YOU happy.
(All images courtesy of the Her Campus Library.)