How the lack of social media usage changed my life

Illustration+by+Sarah+Hofstedt
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How the lack of social media usage changed my life

Illustration by Sarah Hofstedt

Illustration by Sarah Hofstedt

Illustration by Sarah Hofstedt

Illustration by Sarah Hofstedt

Ashley Hawn

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Recently I was surprised when I got an alert on my phone showing the amount of screen time I had used over the past week. Well, surprised would be an understatement. I was astonished.

The new screen time feature in IOS 12 gives a breakdown of iPhone usage over the past week period with the amount of time spent on the phone and the apps that were most used. The numbers staring me straight in the face made it clear that I was not consuming social media, but it was consuming me.

All the endless hours of scrolling, clicking and searching is the time I am not going to get back. I validated these numbers in my own mind, because what else could I do on a 15-minute walk to class or waiting in line for my order?

For me, social media helps pass the time and can oftentimes be an outlet for distracting me from stress. However, I noticed it became something I became reliant on that it dictated my way of life. So, I set out to take a social media break. I had heard of people doing this before and wanted to try it for myself.

With the 15 minutes waiting for class to start, I pulled out a book that I started carrying with me. On the long walks from the parking lot to class, I put in my music and took in the beauty of the diversity and nature that surrounds the CSUN campus.

I quickly began to feel more refreshed and more confident. Putting down the phone and staring at the endless pictures of how I could look or the things I could do that I wasn’t doing was honestly a breath of fresh air. I did not delete my accounts, but I simply took a pause. For someone who was on social media so regularly as many of us are, this was definitely an adjustment.

From this break, I learned that I enjoy reading. With the free time that I have, I started picking up and reading pages and chapters of my book when I had time. I astonished myself when I finished one book in a week. I also developed an interest in gardening on the weekends. This hobby got me outdoors and relieved college stress in a whole new way. I feel that by putting social media down I was able to discover myself more. I focused more strongly on my passions and the relationships in my life.

Now, with all this being said I am an advocate for social media and think it has many benefits of connecting the globalized world. I still use it, but I don’t let it consume my day-to-day existence. I think it can be easy to let this happen if we are not mindful of our time and habits. As busy college students and workers, our time is precious.

We only get 24 hours in a day, so I encourage everyone to make every minute count and be productive. This break I took is not for everyone, but if you take some time to analyze your usage and make an adjustment you might be surprised and refreshed by the outcome you receive.