Social media break teaches many lessons

For the majority of my “Coronacation,” I’ve spent mine time mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, envious of celebrities who are isolating in their monstrous mansions or comparing my life to others’.

I was getting distracted from school work I needed to complete, time spent with my family or outside activities that could better my mental health. I’ve felt my mood deteriorating with each day, falling into a pit of despair that sometimes seems impossible to get rid of.

Last week, from Sunday night to Saturday morning, I took a break from social media, from the world I’ve let consume my life for the last five years. And quite frankly, it was the best week since school had gotten out.

Rather than starting each morning endless scrolling and sending Snapchat streaks, I would start by reading a few chapters of a book, which I hadn’t done in so long. I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember, I just didn’t know the last time I had actually read a book I enjoyed. I started rereading Harry Potter a week before my social media cleanse, and tried to finish the series by the end of the week (I got to the last book.)

I’ve also wanted to start working out again but felt that I “never had the time” for it. Without a big distraction in my life, I found that I had so much more time to workout, so my sisters and I started a “two week shred challenge” that included a total body, abs, arm and leg workout each day. It was awesome to workout again and made me realize how much I had missed it.

Even more, it was nice to spend time with my sisters. As we’re all getting older, we have less of a desire to spend increased time together, so it sometimes seems that we’ve grown further apart. By working out together each morning, we found a way to spend more time together, which carried on to the rest of the day.

What was odd was that I never really missed social media. I thought in the beginning of the break I would be tempted to cheat and get back online, but that was never the case. I kept myself so busy, either doing schoolwork, reading or working out. It was almost simplistic, it made my life so much easier. It gave me a new perspective on life and what I should actually be spending my time doing.

There are so many positives in social media; it gives us a way to stay in contact with each other, to laugh, to branch out and try new things. It can be a really amazing thing, but it can also get out of control. It can be a monster, eating up all our insecurities and using them against us.

My break from social media taught me a lot about myself: that I make excuses to distract myself from hobbies I love, that I put too much worth into what others think of me. It taught me how to go forward with my life, to focus on people in real life rather than people online.