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Social media takes a great amount of time out of our daily lives, and checking our phones has become part of our everyday routine. In fact, on average, Americans check their phones about 96 times a day; that is, once every 10 minutes. I mean, it has truly become an addiction. This is why I wanted to try out an experiment by disconnecting from social media for some time and sharing my experience. 

With New Year’s came the resolution of reducing my phone usage; and with that, a social media detox. So, on January 20th, I decided to begin that detox, and at first I committed for a whole month. When I decided to do this digital cleanse, I wasn’t really expecting much. The whole idea was for me to “just get things done without any distractions,” but it has become way more than that. I wasn’t even planning on taking it this far, but it has actually been a life-changing and gratifying experience. 

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The first few days, I was definitely breaking the cycle. I would constantly find myself trying to reach for my phone to scroll through Instagram. However, I had deleted the app so it made me refocus my attention. Even though I was still feeling attracted to my phone, I got so many things done during the first few days. I couldn’t even believe it. I did everything on my to-do list. I didn’t procrastinate, hence having a lot of free time. I ended up with so much free time, in fact, that my mornings consisted of waking up, doing yoga, getting ready, eating breakfast, and taking classes. Meanwhile, my afternoons consisted of doing school work, working out, relaxing, eating dinner, and winding down before bed. No interruptions equals a lot of free time.

When I established the goal to begin a social media detox, I thought that weekends without social media would be ridiculously lame, but I was wrong. During this time, I have been very busy during the weekends. I've been going out, exercising, doing homework, writing, reading; and, little by little, the time just slipped away while I was doing things I enjoy. If I had had social media, I would have probably gotten homework doneーbut under a lot of stress because of the little time I had left to turn in the assignments. If I had had social media, I would have probably ignored all of the things I wanted to do for myself by watching a video that would later turn out to be hours wasted on nothing. In a way, I could say I felt free. I even went on walks just to appreciate nature—silly things like that made me very happy. In fact, I even discovered new things that I didn’t know I liked!

I could also add that even though I had good days, I had bad days where I would find myself not wanting to do anything except lay down and watch some TikToks. In the end, I wouldn’t because I would remind myself of my end goal, which was “getting things done.”

[bf_image id="gn4cbpgxrfkxsjmq2s8n7c"] During this detox process, I have learned so many things, and I am very grateful I have. I believe that if I hadn't taken the time to eliminate social media, or use my phone in general, I wouldn’t have been able to learn as much as I have. It’s important to take care of ourselves, to take time for our physical and mental wellbeing. Sometimes we spend a lot of time ignoring our responsibilities and our own needs. Sometimes we push them away and, in some cases, we regret it. 

Life is beautiful. I have comprehended a bit more about what it means to spend more time with the people I love, and how to appreciate the little things around me a little bit more. As I said, I have found a way to be happy in the little things such as walks, where I get to appreciate nature in its beautiful entirety. I definitely wouldn’t have noticed these little things with my face glued to a screen. Also, sometimes we go through difficult things, and taking some time to breathe and look around can help a lot. Every day I look at life differently. It’s important to grow, and everyone has their own unique way of doing so. For me, beginning this detox definitely contributed to that.

Joyliz Pérez Vélez is a Public Relations and Publicity student at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She is an adventurous soul who loves to travel and discover new things alongside to the people she loves. In her free time, she enjoys bingewatching series, reading, listening to podcasts, journaling and many other things. She loves sharing positivity through words, music, and actions.
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