Writing by Nicole Valdes // Photograph by Sofia Higgins
Ah, social media. Do you ever wake up, lean over to grab your phone and check that ever important Instagram picture, tweet, or Facebook post you might have missed during your night of slumber? Do you think, “this is the life!” as you thumb your way through Snapchat? No? Not at all?
Well, it makes sense. In recent news, the exact opposite is being proven. Being on your phone and checking social media isn’t exactly “the life.” Famous Instagram stars are deleting their accounts, Kylie Jenner admits to disliking the life she portrays on social media, and recent studies are telling us that social media is causing anxiety and depression.
I get it, catching that five second Snapchat pic is important. You need to keep up with your friends and Mindy Kaling’s ever-important posts, but is checking your Twitter feed a second after you put down your phone really worth your sanity?
Cutting down your social media usage will make those crushing FOMO (fear of missing out) feelings go away. You’ll drop your phone and actually start living your life.
Think about all the cool stories your grandparents have told you. Now, imagine the stories you’ll tell. They won’t be about all those hours you spent creating the perfect picture, right? No more filters, ladies, only real sunsets, and cute French Bull Dogs that you can actually pet. What a world!
Not sure how to get started? Stick with me, kid. I’ll show you some proven steps to help you lessen your attachment to social media because I know you’re getting sick of how obsessed you are with Kylie Jenner’s Instagram feed (I’ve got the same problem. What color is her hair going to be today? No one knows!)
Turn Off Your Phone: Okay, so, don’t freak out or anything, but a really easy way to wean off your phone usage is to— wait for it— actually turn it off. I know, I know, it’s all too easy to keep our phones powered up all day long. All you have to do is recharge that battery when it’s low on juice and move on with your tweeting. Yet, when you’re around family and friends or in need of some quiet time, turning off your phone is the easiest way to keep your hand off it.
Think about it, you’re itching for those Kylie Jenner pics, you hit your home button, and—nothing happens. Turning off your phone is like a reminder to focus on the present moment. Focus on the conversation your parents are having or listen to that album you’ve been meaning to check out. Try meditation over checking social media. Doing this might help with that pesky short-term memory problem social media is causing these da— wait, what were we talking about?
Be Mindful: Why are you connecting to social media, anyway? Is it to randomly check Kylie Jenner’s pics? (Okay, rule of three. I promise I’m done) or is it to keep up on your cousins from Texas? When you use your social media mindfully rather than listlessly checking up on an app, you’re giving yourself a reason to use it, making it— you guessed it, useful!
Wake Up to the World, Not Your Phone: If you’re anything like me, then when you hear that dreaded phone alarm go off in the morning, it feels more like an invitation to get back in bed and check your social media accounts. Yup, I fall victim to that trick every time.
Here’s what we can do. Buy an alarm. I know it might seem primitive to some people, but it helps you wake up to the world rather than your phone. Turn off those pesky app notifications so you’re not tempted to check every account you have right when you wake up. Try it and, who knows?! You might forget social media ever existed.