I took a week off of social media, and it was eye opening. Actually, I only took four days off, but either way it was worth the break.

Day one: It felt like I was missing something. I found myself checking my emails and clicking on the weather channel app way too often because I didn’t know what else to click on. I was pretty disappointed in my need to be looking at something on my screen at all times of the day.

Day two: This was surprisingly the hardest day. FOMO (fear of missing out) is real. I tend to communicate with people more on Snapchat than anything else, so I had to learn to answer texts and pick up the phone. I kept wanting to log in to see if I had missed any pressing snaps or invites to lunch, but I had to force myself to rely on the texts and phone calls instead.

Day three: This day was the game changer for me. I realized that I so often miss the world around me because I’m on Snapchat or consumed by other people’s lives on Instagram. I was able to smile at the people I passed when walking to class and found myself actually engaging in a conversation with roommates. Recently, I’ve come to see the oddity that is Instagram. I personally believe Instagram feeds our self-idolizing generation. Yes, I love the app and check it way too often, but I don’t necessarily know if it is always healthy to be so consumed by pictures that only showcase the best part of people’s lives and often make the viewers feel inferior.

One of my best friends struggled with contentment and her self image. Her fix: deleting Instagram. She deleted the app for a few months and in turn, she regained so much of her lost confidence and was able to come back to the app with a newfound sense of self and contentment. I get it now: Instagram can be self-destructive.

Day four: By day four, I really didn’t think much about what I was missing. My day felt more free and I was less reliant on these apps. I was relieved to not have to keep up with whatever the 2,000 people I follow were posting. I was able to spend more quality time with friends without the need to get the perfect shot for my snap story or see what I wasn’t invited to the night before.

After this break, I found that social media can be a good thing, but, as we all know, too much of a good thing can be harmful. A break allows us to regroup and prioritize more important day-to-day matters.

I’ve started encouraging all of my friends to partake in a social media cleanse. During my four day break, I noticed that I had become so reliant on social media that I felt like I couldn’t last even a day without the need to log into some kind of app. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media and think it can be used for good, but taking a step away from it is such a beneficial experience.

Photo Credit: Mary Claire Brock