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What I’ve Learnt From My Week-Long Social Media Cleanse So Far

As Cady Heron from Mean Girls once said, “When you get bit by a snake, you’re supposed to suck the poison out; that’s what I had to do, suck all the poison out of my life.” Instead of dealing with mean girls and allegedly pushing a girl in front of a bus, in my case social media is the poison. Yes, I am attempting to suck out all the social media out of my life, instead of allowing it to suck the life out of me.

The idea of a social media cleanse has never appealed to me until the first few days of 2022. As cheesy as it sounds, one of my new year’s resolutions is to be more present in every moment of my life. In addition, 2022 began with some upsetting friendship drama that led me to feel mentally unwell, and it wasn’t exactly how I wanted to start the new year off. All I wanted to do was shut out the world and be alone with my thoughts. So I took the plunge and did it: I moved all my social media apps, including Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, to a folder labeled with a 💀 (skull) emoji on my phone. I told myself that I will not go on any social media apps for an entire week and here’s what I have learned so far:

I feel more relaxed and at ease.

I get stressed and anxious easily from having to balance school, work, and my personal life. And I think that the main culprit is information overload. Every day, I absorb so much information from other people, my classes, and the Internet. The endless scrolling on social media contributes to this issue, as I am consuming so much content that I am overstimulated and my brain can’t process all the information. This explains why I felt less stressed and more relaxed once I stopped using social media. By getting rid of all those noises and distractions from social media, I think that this could also potentially help to better my mental health and prevent burnout in the future.

I get to focus more on what’s important.

Throughout this week, I realized how much I excessively rely on social media. I used to wake up every morning and check Instagram right away, and it had become an unhealthy habit. Now that I can’t go on social media, I find that my attention span has vastly improved given that there are fewer distractions. Instead of spending time scrolling and procrastinating, I have more time for myself to be productive, work towards my goals, and take better care of myself.

I stopped comparing myself to other people.

Most of social media is not real, because it only shows a glimpse of people’s lives, usually only the good parts. Social media can sometimes make me feel insecure about myself, as I would compare myself to others and create unrealistic expectations for myself. This pressure to live a certain way and be like someone else is very toxic and emotionally draining. After getting off social media, I get to really concentrate on myself and learn more about myself without the influence of the media or other people.

Overall, it is amazing how liberating this experience has made me feel in such a short time. Knowing that I don’t need to go on social media constantly makes me feel more in control of my life and has compelled me to be a better version of myself. To be honest, I was expecting to struggle with this challenge, since I have used social media every day of my life for a long time. But it wasn’t even that hard, as it just gave me more time to do things that are actually important instead of scrolling aimlessly. With that being said, I think I will eventually return to social media, but I will definitely make a conscious effort to limit my time on these platforms and implement more social media cleanses in my life. So if you are hesitating to go on a social media cleanse yourself, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and just do it! You never know, it might be just what you need.

Iris Au

UCD '22

Iris is studying Communications and Economics at the University of California, Davis. She is currently a senior and is a big fan of cheesy rom-coms and cooking shows. She hopes to pursue a future career in public relations or marketing after graduating college.
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