Social Media Detox: More than Cliche

Stop checking Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat? You might as well spell out a social suicide for most young adults today.

Persistently checking these sites can cause issues with self esteem, depression, and FOMO (fear of missing out) among a slew of other negative outcomes. We’ve all heard this argument. It just sounds like an irritating, nagging parent who wants you off your phone. But maybe there’s some validity to it. Somewhere deep down, we know that constantly comparing ourselves to the lives of others or living through their photos isn’t the greatest idea. It is easy to forget that while some people appear flawless on instagram, there may be a very different reality behind it. People only post the good, when life is really a combination of the good and the ugly. Add on the filters and unseen amount of attempts at the perfect photo, and it’s no wonder our average lives can’t even begin to compare.


So, like many, I ventured on a media detox of sorts. I didn’t go cold turkey, but limited my incessant checking throughout the day. Instead, I used the time to check the news, catch up with friends, watch Netflix, or read books. Side note: the kindle app for iPhone has free books if you have amazon prime, a total game changer. My objective of this social media experiment was to see how lessened social media time impacted my mood.

My usual morning routine began with an addictive dose of Instagram, which included side effects of feeling inferior, boring, and unpolished. During the middle of the day, checking instagram felt like transporting myself to an idyllic destination far away, eating a delectable meal I wish I had in front of me, or wearing the cutest outfit I didn’t own. It served as an escape from reality. An escape that I didn’t even need. Everyone has things to look forward in their own lives, especially being a college student with opportunities everywhere.

My fingers would reach for the little glistening icon before my brain could process what it was doing. Scrolling is second nature for the fingers of many millenials, usually through content of their peers portraying themselves in unrealistic means. While social media can be used to help spread social awareness and important movements, everyday usage isn’t necessary. I learned that all my real, close friends would contact me if something truly impactful happened in their lives, not simply post on instagram.

It was one of those big “I told you so’s” from the many generations before us. All the time spent comparing looks to another girl, or considering someone’s fun weekend adventures to my time spent in the library became frivolous facts no longer using up my time. Instead, I invested in the now. After having read five fantastic can’t-put-down-they-are-so-good books later, being more educated on the current events, and happier with my everyday life and looks, this social media detox might become my new lifestyle.

Here’s a quick list of five books or book series that have helped me transition to a life less dependent on social media. Disclaimer: most are romantic novels because I’m a hopeless romantic.

  1. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

  2. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker (there’s also a great sequel)

  3. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (and the entire series)

  4. Origin by Dan Brown

  5. Thoughtless by S. C. Stephens (also a series, you won’t be able to even put this down to get a sip of water)

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