What My Social Media Break Has Taught Me So Far

Aridyan Perez, Staff Writer

I have been on a social media break for about three months and it has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made for my mental health.

There are many reasons why people use social media. It can be a way for people to keep in contact with family, update their friends or even to see what’s going on in the world. While there are many positive benefits of social media, it can also be used in negative ways.

Companies and businesses have expanded themselves to be involved in social media which requires people to promote their products or services. The age of social media has created a new job title called an “influencer.” Many influencers are honest about what they promote, while others lie for money. Some influencers are honest about the procedures they’ve had done to them while others are not. You can’t always believe what you see on the internet and you can’t always believe influencers when they are promoting certain products.

But the main reason why I decided to take a social media break was because of my “FOMO,” which stands for “Fear of Missing Out.” It is basically when you see the people you follow on social media going to events, traveling or doing anything fun and exciting. This causes you to feel bad because you are not involved in those activities or you have not had the opportunity to visit those certain places.

I constantly saw the people I followed on social media traveling to places that I’ve always wanted to go to or going to events that I wish I could’ve attended. This started to make me feel very down about myself and made me feel like I wasn’t doing anything exciting with my life. Every time I went on Snapchat and saw stories about other people traveling, partying or even hanging out my mind would be plagued with thoughts like, “wow, I wish I could be there” or “wow, why wasn’t I invited?”

I realized that I was focusing more on other people’s lives and the amazing things they were doing instead of focusing on myself and what I could accomplish. Along with the FOMO, my social media habits were also contributing to my low self-esteem. Seeing all of these beautiful influencers with their amazing bodies that were unrealistic for me to achieve was something that made me feel insecure. I noticed that I was constantly comparing myself to these influencers and it made me miserable.

In late January, I decided to stop going on social media. I realized that if going on social media is making me feel bad about myself and impacting my mental health, why am I continuing to participate in it? I logged out of my Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram and then I deleted the apps from my phone completely.

I have to be honest, the first few weeks were rough. There were moments where I opened the App Store on my phone and was tempted to re-download all of my social media. I would go places with my friends or out to a restaurant with really great food and I would get the urge to pull out my phone and take a quick picture, but I didn’t. Instead, I decided to just live in the moment and enjoy being with the people around me.

A major difference that I have noticed is that I now have the ability to focus more on my life and what I am doing. There is no constant worry that other people are having fun without me or that I don’t own tons of luxurious items. I am able to focus on improving myself and focusing on the things that I do have, rather than the things that I don’t have.

I also have more time to complete homework and assignments now that I do not go on social media. I find that I am less distracted while completing assignments and that I am able to start other assignments earlier because of the extra time.

Most importantly my social media break has improved my overall mood about my appearance and my life. I am starting to appreciate the features that I already have and that I like about myself. I also feel less anxious about what to wear or how I look because I don’t have an image of an influencer that makes me feel self-conscious when I am getting ready to leave my room.  I’ve noticed in myself is that I’ve stopped comparing my life to other people.  I also learned that not everything my friends do has to involve me. Even if I’m not invited to something, it doesn’t mean that they care about me less.

Right now I feel comfortable with not having social media and I like that not everyone knows what’s going on in my life. If I have to update anyone about how I’m doing or what I’m doing I can just tell them in person. At the beginning of this break, I honestly thought that I would not make it far and that I would be back on soon, but because of all the positive change and progress that I’m noticing, I will continue my break for as long as I see fit. I definitely recommend that everyone tries taking a break from social media even if it is just for a week.