Things I Learnt From My 9 Months Social Media Detox
If you have been reading The Daily Happiness for a while, you may know that I used to have a private Instagram account before creating the official account. However, I would often deactivate my personal account for brief or extended periods of time. The last time I deactivated Instagram was for a whole year in 2020. During this time, I received many messages from readers inquiring about my Instagram account. Still, I really needed a social media detox.
The truth is that even though I love having a super beautiful Instagram feed because it reminds me of a pretty online photo album, sometimes Instagram is driving me crazy. It is a bizarre feeling. Sometimes I get sucked up into that perfect virtual world. When everything goes to my head, I face many problems and struggles, such as FOMO, anxiety or the feeling of not being good enough.
I decided to take a short break from social media, but it ended up lasting a year. Although it was planned to be shorter, the social media detox taught me much about myself and helped me grow. Here are some of the things I learned during my nine-month break from social media.
TIME & PRODUCTIVITY
At first, I must confess that life without Instagram felt pretty tedious. It’s crazy how big of an impact social media has on our daily routines these days. How often do we catch ourselves scrolling through Instagram, only to realise that we’ve been doing it for half an hour? So when I lost access to my Instagram account, I was pretty bored at first. But eventually, I got used to it and found myself with so much more free time. I started reading more books and practising my piano skills. You’d be surprised how much more productive you become when no distractions exist.
Furthermore, I struggle with procrastination, which is a significant weakness of mine. It’s a problem I face frequently, and I often check social media when I can’t focus on my work. Looking back, I realise that these quick breaks on Instagram were a complete waste of my time. Nowadays, I keep track of how much time I spend on social media and limit it as much as possible.
LIVE IN THE MOMENT
In recent years, I’ve habitually recorded my hometown’s annual fireworks festival. I wanted to preserve the memories. However, I soon realised that I was watching the entire show through my phone screen instead of experiencing it firsthand. I got so caught up in creating a great video that I forgot to live in the moment and enjoy what was happening right in front of me. It’s a lesson I will remember.
During my social media detox, I noticed the small details in life that I often overlooked. I have always valued kind gestures, but living in the moment has made me even more grateful and happier. It has also strengthened my connection with loved ones by eliminating distractions and allowing me to entirely focus on the present moment with them.
I have to admit that I still post many stories on my Instagram. However, I only capture a moment for a maximum of 15 seconds before saving it to my camera roll to post later. Sometimes I get so caught up in enjoying and living the moment that I forget to capture anything. But it doesn’t really matter because I still hold onto that memory in my mind and my heart.
COMPARING & FOMO
During my social media detox, I learned a valuable lesson. Despite what it may seem, I do experience feelings of FOMO and comparison. However, comparing myself to others is not a significant issue for me. While I envy the beauty of VS models, I am content with my life journey, with its ups and downs. Although there are things I wish were different, I recognise that these experiences have shaped me into the person I am today.
When I was younger, I often experienced FOMO, the fear of missing out. This feeling was especially prevalent during my teenage years when I was dealing with the pressures of school, friends, and popularity. Nowadays, I’m less concerned about missing out on things, as life has become more complex and the list of responsibilities seems endless.
On the other hand, the hours of sleeping time, unfortunately, decreases when you get older. Therefore, you will be merely happy at some point in life when you can stay at home. So nowadays, when I see a funny story on Instagram, I am glad for my friends that they have so much fun. Due to that, the fear of missing out on something will fade from time to time.
Comparing yourself to others and FOMO are two of many other ways which can lead to anxiety. Anxiety is also probably my biggest problem because I continually struggle with it. And social media doesn’t make it any easier.
Scrolling through social media is tempting when you see all those picture-perfect lives. It is so easy to get blinded by it and even get sucked up by it. At this point, I want to remind you that Instagram is only a tiny part of someone else’s life! Please always remember that not everything is real on social media. Not even on my account; it is.
While I was on my social media detox, all these problems were among the main reasons I took this break. I wasn’t confronted with picture-perfect lives and saw nothing other people were doing. Due to that, I could get my mind better at ease by focusing on myself.
Anxiety is also one of the main reasons why I started to roll up this topic again. I’m facing a few issues in my private life right now, and I’m constantly feeling anxiety at the moment. Instagram is playing a massive part in it, and I really feel anxious about Instagram and in connection with the issues in my private life right now. I have been in this state before, in the summer of 2020 and 2021, and overcame it. Hence, I’m optimistic I will get over it again, but it’s very tough.
Many people strive to live a busier and more productive lifestyle. Still, it’s important to remember that being busy shouldn’t be as fancy as it sounds. Social media often portrays perfect lifestyles, making us want more material possessions, luxurious vacations, and success in all aspects of life. However, desiring more means, we must achieve and perform more, leading to a vicious cycle where we forget to take breaks, care for ourselves, and enjoy personal time. As a result, many people experience burnout.
Through my social media detox, I discovered that taking things at my own pace while focusing on myself brings me peace of mind and more time for self-care. Whether it’s indulging in Korean skincare, reading more books, visiting museums and concerts, or simply relaxing. This has given me more energy and motivation to easily achieve my goals. However, I also recognise the need to disconnect from social media at times and remind myself that life is more than just what appears on Instagram.
KEEP IN MIND…
If you feel exhausted or sad because of the online world, just do a social media detox. In the end, you won’t miss anything! Your family and friends will call or text you anyway if they have something important to tell you. Therefore, go and have a lot of me-time and live in the moment! Life is too short to spend it all on Instagram and co.