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FITNESS

Wellness

Here's why you should try a social media cleanse this year

Picture this: it's one in the morning and you are *super* tired. Instead of hitting the hay like you know you should, however, you continue to scroll mindlessly through Instagram and TikTok for hours on end. When you wake up groggy from your lack of sleep, your first instinct is to reach for your phone and obsessively refresh your Instagram and VSCO feeds in hopes of seeing something new or cool. Much to your disapointment, nobody has posted anything new since you last checked at 2 a.m.. Defeated, you turn to TikTok, and the toxic cycle continues. 

I lived like this for months. 

When COVID-19 hit and I suddenly found myself trapped inside of my house 24-7, I turned to social media as a way to engage with the outside world that I missed so much. With all of the newfound free time that I suddenly had, however, I quickly became addicted to social media. I thought constantly about what my peers were doing, and the places that they were going. Instead of being happy for them and moving on with my day, I couldn't help but compare myself to what I thought were prettier, smarter, happier girls. Why can't I look like that? I often asked myself. They seem to be having fun, so why wasn't I? Was I doing quarantine all wrong?

After checking my screen time one day in June (a hack I saw on TikTok, of all places) and realizing that I was averaging a whopping 8 *hours* a day on my phone, I knew that something needed to change. Not only was I wasting my time, but it was taking away from my happiness too. 

One week without Instagram, Snapchat, VSCO, TikTok, or Pinterest was all it took to start rebuilding my confidence. Instead of letting the lastest trends dictate my personality, I was forced to think independently. I rediscovered my old sewing machine, and spent the eight hours that I had suddenly gained designing dresses for my friends and I. Instead of watching food vids on the Instagram explore page, my sister taught me how to make the yummiest brownies. Without the pressure to prove anything to my social media followers, I was free to be me. 

The best part of my cleanse was coming back to social media and realizing why I feel in love with it in the first place. Instead of viewing apps like Instagram as a place to go when I was feeling bored or inadequate, I started to turn to if for inspo instead. Because I realized during my cleanse that I love fashion, I started a sewing account—and now when I go on the app, my energy goes towards something productive. 

Fashion, however, has not been the only thing on my mind lately. In the days following the 2020 presidential election, I once again became addicted to refreshing electoral college maps and looking at all of the responses to the race that my peers have shared on their Snapchat and Instagram stories. 

During these crazy-busy, stressful times, it is important to keep your mental health in mind. It is ok to log off for the day. In fact, logging off is one of the easiest ways to practice self care. If you notice that social media isn't making you as happy as it used to, that's totally normal—and we recommending taking a quick break. 

All GIFs via GIPHY

Slider Image: Treehugger/Pinterest 

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by Alexandra Karr | 1/2/2021
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