As Adele once said…hello it’s me.
After being a bit MIA so far in 2018 I’m finally back online! I never really thought my absence from social media would be noticeable but for those asking if I was OK, had died or just generally wondering where I’d gone, I do really appreciate it and now I’m back! And for those who really didn’t care or just hadn’t noticed, hi- I’m back and I’m sure you’ll see my annoying posts pop up again soon!
Where does this all begin?
If you know me then you know, like many of us, I love nothing better than a cheeky scroll through Instagram and Twitter. As 2017 drew to a close, I decided I would set the challenge to quit Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Initially this was to be just for January as I thought a month would be hard enough but obviously this has lasted much longer than intended as my third month offline comes to an end- side note- HOW did it get to nearly April already?! I’m not one to sit aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, so that was one F word that was easy to ditch. I decided I’d keep messenger as an immediate means of contact as I didn’t want to be completely out of the loop.
”This wasn’t some ‘new year new me’ resolution”
This wasn’t some ‘new year new me’ resolution, it was something I’d always wanted to do and felt that January would be a good time to start. Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram but it’s clear that this social media platform in particular is increasingly damaging our mental health. The constant comparisons, not feeling good enough and all the bits in between is really quite damaging and it was time for me to take a step back. 2018 was a time to start afresh, without my phone constantly glued to my hand. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the repeated cycle of scrolling through an app, closing said app, opening another annnd repeat.
Scrolling through Instagram was becoming a chore. Something which I once enjoyed and was interested in was now becoming time-consuming and draining. If I wasn’t checking Instagram or Snapchat, FOMO set in. One night in November I realised I had wasted the majority of my evening doing this repeated cycle- but for what? Nothing. Apart from knowing that I had wasted a lot of my valuable time looking at what others were doing rather than focusing on what I was doing. But was I really that interested in who was putting up drunken Snapchats or what someone was having for their tea? In all honesty, no I wasn’t. This made me think that people probably (definitely) thought the same about some of the things I have ever shared online.
So, how did it go?
I thought giving up Instagram was going to be a real struggle but truthfully, it wasn’t! So much so that I could have signed back into my account at midnight on the 1st February but almost 3 months later I still haven’t signed back in (however I have recently setup a new account for the purposes of this blog). I must admit, I’m a little bit apprehensive to come back on Instagram, I’ve got those back to school nerves after being away for so long and coming back to see what’s new and what’s changed.
”Start living your life through your eyes rather than through your phone”
Going off social media has really allowed me to live my life through my eyes rather than through my phone. I didn’t worry about documenting each and every aspect of my life- I’ve been on nights out at uni (who’d have thought people ACTUALLY go on nights out and NOT Snapchat it!!), I haven’t posted photos of things I’ve been to or the amount of work I have to do- because let’s be honest if you’re posting about the amount of revision you have to do you’re really not doing the work taking a photo are you? I think it’s true that we are living in a world where if everything isn’t documented on social media people think you’re not doing anything, which isn’t true at all.
This has improved relationships between me and my friends. It’s made me pick up the phone and message them, make effort with them and check they’re doing ok rather than assuming they are if I’ve seen a story they’ve shared. It’s made me genuinely interested in what my friends are up to as I make the effort to message them. It’s brought back communication- something which social media has broken down. It’s made me realise, although social media can be a wonderful thing, sometimes a private life is a good life.
I think as a generation we’re too focused on what other people are doing or what others will think of you for doing a certain thing. It’s as though we’re subconsciously seeking some form of praise knowing that other’s are aware of what we’re doing. Going offline has really changed my mindset about what I should post online and who actually cares.
This is something I’d really encourage people to do, maybe just for a week or two, try it out, give it a go! Remember, there’s more to life than looking through a phone screen (I don’t mean to sound like your Nan but it’s true).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on social media and if anyone else has done something similar in the comments below. Any feedback on my first ever blog post would be greatly appreciated too (kindness only plz).
But for now, live in the moment, start living your life.