On average, how often would you say that you look at a screen in a day?
Usually you’ll do the checks on social media first thing in the morning when you wake up, and then again while eating breakfast, maybe with the TV on in the background. You then get to work where likely hood is that you’re looking at a computer screen for 8 hours of the day with a lunch and break in between that where you’re checking social media again, texting, emails. Then home again to maybe watch Netflix or whatever’s on the TV while checking your phone again as well as eating dinner or lying in bed, ready to start over again the next day.
I know that realistically there’s other things thrown into the mix, whether that’s the food shop, seeing friends, going for a run (God forbid), or going to the Gym (no thank-you). It differs from person to person, but if you boil it down, then the above is true for a lot of people. I was a massive offender for this.
I kinda noticed that if I was having a shitty day then a lot of it linked to how much time I had spent on social media. And if I was already having a shitty day, I would turn to social media to wallow.
I’m a creative person, so I turn to Pinterest and Instagram a lot for inspiration. However my feeds have now become clouded with people who are paid to travel the world, fashion bloggers who get photographed eating burgers and pizza but have french fries for legs and pancake stomachs, but apparently never go the gym. Entrepreneurs that are telling you that you have the ability to make your own business and success now that all the “resources” are at your finger tips, which kinda makes you feel small and left questioning why you can’t do it when they say it’s so easy.
From my friends feeds you see happy relationships, perfect hair and makeup, trim figures, travel, the perfect 9-5 with that typical shot of the BMW steering wheel and the Starbucks cup. I admit that I’m an offender to this too, I would time out my travelling pictures, posting them at an exact time on Instagram so that they gained the most likes, and when I was home from travelling then it would go to throwbacks, the occasional “candid” day out picture.
So real talk, lets get even blunter. From my feed it would look like I’m never home, I’m constantly travelling the world, or failing that I’m out having the time of my life. In actuality my last trip away was in February, last year I was away a lot, but it was also at the height of my depression, the point of posting for me was to try to prove a point to myself and everyone else that I was fine. There are plenty of pictures of just me on my feed which might make me come across as this self loving, confident person. But in truth, I was compared to my best friends a lot in school and it never came off that well for me, so my solo pictures are to save my self esteem from comparing myself to everyone else. You rarely see my face unless it’s a very occasional selfie which is probably the best of 60 takes with about 3 filters thrown on to it.
The long winded point that I’m trying to make here is that social media is not real life. It’s completely fabricated, you have free power to make yourself whatever you want to be, so looking at a picture and taking it for face value is definitely going to take a hit on your self esteem, especially when you’re exposed to it 24/7. You spend your time and money trying to catch up and fit into a “reality” that doesn’t actually exist.
You also miss out on embracing moments because you’re so fixated on trying to record it, sunsets, sunrises, fireworks, Northern Lights. Lately, how often have you witnessed some of these things, but through your screen instead of putting your phone down for five minutes and actually just taking it in for a bit without having to prove to everyone else you’ve seen it? I was lucky enough to see the Northern lights, and the person I was with at the time was so fixated on trying to get a video or a picture, they missed out on most of it. When they showed me what they’d captured it was, well… shit. It looked nothing like what I’d just witnessed, it didn’t do the real thing justice. They missed out.
So why not Unplug?
I started it a few weeks ago and I feel a million times better for it already. If you’re doing something exist in just that one moment, I read something that said if you’re drinking a cup of tea, just sit and drink your cup of tea, don’t detract from the moment by also looking at your phone, watching the tv and doing the hoovering. It’s beyond important to have you time. Instead of sitting in bed watching hours of Netflix before trying to get to sleep, I’ll put my phone on night mode an hour before I go to sleep so nothing comes through and I sit and read. Before that I’ll maybe have a yoga session and a bath or a shower, play a game of cards, anything except turning to my phone or the TV.
I sleep so much better because of it. I appreciate things more, I go on walks and notice more because I’m not texting. My self esteem is going up because I’m not constantly exposed to “perfect” photos, my dark days are fewer, I have more time to do what I want to do.
It’s interesting to see how much you default to social media when you have a second. When adverts come on I’d notice I automatically reach for my phone, the same if I leave a room I’d have to make sure I have my phone with me. So I have an elastic band round my wrist which I ping every time I reach for my phone when I don’t need it.
Netflix constantly on in the background has now been replaced by Audiobooks and Podcasts. The first thing I try to do when I wake up now is to go straight to the news app rather than being distracted for 20 minutes on Instagram catching up on the mornings events.
Things like Social Media became so engrained in my everyday life that it distracted me from everything else. It impacted my moods, self esteem, my time management, it dictated and distracted from my conversations with people. I’m not saying I never go on it now, but I’ve certainly taken a step back and embrace the days where I just unplug altogether.
Anthems of the Post
Hallucinogenics – Matt Maeson
Cringe – Matt Maeson
Give Myself Away – Joel Taylor