Social Media Madness

This may be one of the more cliché posts I’ve written, but this post comes with a challenge. So keep reading.

One night, as I was scrolling through one of my social feeds while lying in bed, I was overcome with a feeling of fear and anger after realizing 30 minutes had passed.

Is this what future generations will be like?

Is this really worth going to sleep later than I want?

Why do I need to fill every second of empty time with the scrolling of my thumb?

Of course I’m referring to the fact that I felt like I had become addicted to my social media accounts. And not posting to them, but scrolling – endlessly – every second I got. It’s a mindless activity that has incredibly adverse effects on our physical, mental, and social health. Yes, social health, even though it’s called “social” media.

These accounts were making me get to bed later than I wanted, because I’d scroll for 30 minutes every night before bed. I’d be looking at a bright screen, preventing my body from entering “sleep mode”, which didn’t allow me to sleep properly.

During the day I’d be scrolling, looking down at my phone forcing my head and neck to tilt forward which can lead to permanent cervical spine alterations leading to hunched shoulders and back, and improper neural communication to your entire body.

Moreover, my mental health was suffering. Going through difficult times made social media a way to snoop, or to post and pretend like everything was okay to show off, which didn’t allow me to cope with my feelings and emotions, and deal with them properly.

And finally, it prevented me from truly being present during real social activities with friends and co-workers. I’d still be on my phone, distracted from reality.

If this sounds like you, you’re definitely not alone. Which is why I decided to deactivate all of my accounts, and delete the apps from my phone. While temporary, this decision has already helped me with all of the issues I described above. More importantly, I hardly even miss being on those apps at all.

I’ve quickly realized how immediately addicting and how much short term pleasure social media provides. And how much damage it was doing to me and how much I could create longer term happiness and pleasure by not being on the apps all the time.

I’ve even started dedicating 1 hour a day to turn my phone completely off.

When, truly, was the last time you consciously turned off your phone? I don’t mean “do not disturb” or silent-mode. And I also don’t mean your phone dying without a charger handy.

Actively turning off your phone is such a relieving and pleasurable experience. It shuts you out, and keeps you present to the here and now, free from one more distraction device in our lives.

So I challenge you to start dedicating time every day to turn off your phone. Start with 15 or 30 minutes, then work up. You can keep it during the same time every day, or don’t, but do it consistently every day.

You may even start taking the extra steps of turning off your social media notifications, or even deleting the apps from your phone entirely.

Let me know how it goes, and how you feel.

Our lives are meant to serve others and help each other grow stronger, happier, and healthier together, not give people “likes” while lying in bed at night when you should be sleeping, recovering, and preparing for the day ahead.

Reflections on “Making a (Temporary) Change”

This past week from Monday to Friday I decided to make a change. I didn’t use any social media, I didn’t text, I meditated, and I didn’t eat meat. Here are my reflections on my week:

1. No Social Media

For the whole week I shut off all of my notifications, sounds, little red numbers that pop up next to the app – everything. I cannot begin to express how great of an experience this was. The most important takeaway for me was that those little, tiny, red numbers on the top corner of the app are extremely addictive and infectious. At least for me, every time I get that notification, I would immediately feel like I had to check it, even just so that pesky red button would go away. Turning all of these off was an amazing experience. I had absolutely no urge to go on these sites because I had no idea what notifications I had, and what was going on. And I didn’t care.

I’ve realized that I really don’t have a reliance on social media, but I have an unbreakable urge to go on these apps and sites the SECOND I am alone or in an uncomfortable situation. Not using social media allowed me to break that habit and actually enjoy what was around me. I would suggest everyone to do this. Even for a day. It has been one day back on social media and I already want to turn off the notifications again. It makes you feel so much more relaxed and allows you to check these apps on your own time. 

2. No Texting

I was a little disappointed with this aspect of the week. While I didn’t text anyone, I did check messages in case there was anything urgent I needed to call the person back about. I really enjoyed calling people and having people call me. I like talking on the phone so much better than texting because it’s more personal and meaningful to me, but I did discover the importance of easy and quick communication. Many times I had something quick I wanted to say that would be something to text but I couldn’t and if I called I either would know the person is busy or it would just be a bother. Moving forward I definitely see the convenience of texting but I will try to turn off the notifications more and answer them more on my own time. If something is so important and urgent, I see no reason why not to call.

3. Mediation

Meditation has always been important to me. Taking some time to really center yourself and just relax. I tended to meditate at the end of the day before bed. I have problems slowing down my mind when I try to sleep, so this did wonders for calming myself down and getting ready to fall asleep. Instead of reflecting on my day, I was relaxing body and letting calmness overcome me. It was extremely helpful and I will continue to make these 5 and 10 minute mediations a part of my daily routine.

4. Vegetarianism

This aspect of my week was to learn about other people’s perspectives and remind myself that I am doing all of this to learn and grow. All I can say is that this part was really tough. I without a doubt could not survive as a vegetarian. While I have heard that the first few weeks are the hardest, it was miserable. I felt tired the entire week, sleep didn’t recover me as well as it did before – I would wake up feeling just as tired as when I went to bed and not refreshed at all. I craved meat, not because of the taste as much as I just wanted sustainable energy again. I felt that if I ate some meat I would be energized the way I did before I stopped. I was eating tofu, kale, quinoa, falafel, carrots and hummus, peanut butter, eggs; just about everything that was healthy and vegetarian (because it is very easy to be an unhealthy vegetarian) and I still felt hungry every hour and tired all of the time. My performance in the gym didn’t suffer at all because it was only a week, but I did have to drink coffee more or take preworkout more than usual during this week because I was so exhausted. Definitely won’t be doing this part again any time soon but it was a very enlightening experience. Though I find myself questioning those who are vegetarian just because even more now, but again, maybe if this was a 3 week experiment I might have felt better.

All in all I did enjoy this experience. I am definitely going to be implementing some things I learned and absolutely making some changes in my lifestyle because of what I was able to discover. It was a very calming and interesting week and just one of the ways I plan on testing myself in the near future.