By Ellie Stansfield, our Secretary!
There is no easy way to say this or even accept it but in today’s world you grow up around social media. It’s what keeps the world spinning, some may say. Fortunately for me I did not grow up with it and there was no such thing as Instagram on my hand-me-down Nokia brick. The only thing I had to worry about was beating my high score on Snake. However, that’s not to say that social media has affected my life. There is a form of expectation amongst peers and other millennials that we should all be ‘available’ on social media. You don’t realise the frequency of how often you get asked ‘What’s your insta?’ or ‘Are you on snapchat?’ until you delete all forms of these communications. I wanted to list 4 things that I realised coming off social media and hope that this blog will inspire others into taking some time ‘offline’ in the future.
1. You have so much time on your hands. Yes, your iPhone may tell you how much screen time you have had but do you really know how many hours you’ve spent endlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed? Exactly, you don’t. By taking time away from social media you realise how much time you wasted. I had already set a resolution to use this time to read, which has allowed me to read 15 books alone this year at a relaxed pace and not having constant notifications pop up. I also found more time to exercise meaning I felt more productive and as if I was doing things quicker due to the time. It was a blessing in disguise when Covid came as I wasn’t able to see any news articles or announcements online. The time it freed up also allowed me to spend time baking again. I even went to the extent of setting up my own baking business!
2. You realise what and who is important. I’m not sure about your brain but my brain already has so many things buzzing around. I am a busy body, training to be a solicitor whilst being an active members on three committees. Time is precious and taking a break from apps that perhaps don’t give you so much joy is not a bad thing. It gives you a new perspective and mindset. You see what’s important and posting a picture of what you’re having to dinner to 100’s of people you don’t see or speak too is not it. Having this time to reflect means you reach out to people more. You make the time and effort to text and call your friends and family. This means that you have more meaningful conversations rather than ‘liking’ or ‘commenting’ on each other’s pictures. If this is reciprocated you know whose there for you. The lockdown due to Covid also confirmed to me that moving forward we are only human and you shouldn’t be here, there and everywhere. You don’t need to make a million plans with lots of different people, you just need to spend time with those who are important to you. This in turn has allowed me to strengthen my face-to-face relationships.
3. You are not available 24/7. This is something that is so important and often misunderstood in work and personal life. You are only one person and we are not capable of meeting every unachievable deadline and task. I know I strive to achieve this at work but it’s impossible and tiring. By coming off social media, I slept better. I didn’t have to worry about replying to anything and everything immediately. There was no notifications which was the most pleasant realisation of them all. You spend less time on your phone because you don’t have anything to check other than your messages, emails, and phone calls which is already enough as it is!
4.You will notice a reduction in stress and anxiety. Social media can be good and I am not against it but it can be harmful for your mental health. You may compare lifestyles to what you see on someones’ instagram account but remember that’s what they’ve chose to post. You don’t know what goes on behind that photo. And similarly, with Snapchat or Facebook they have chosen to post the status or share what they have. There is no set path in life and we will all get where we need to be so please do not compare your life to others via social media. We’re all guilty of it.
The moral of the story is; take a break. Even if you limit your time spent on the social media apps or choose to have short breaks do. It doesn’t have to be 6 months like me but it’s important you take time for yourself and realise the benefits of coming off social media for a break as above. Am I back on social media? I permanently deleted Snapchat and Facebook. I am not back on my personal Instagram account but I do have a baking one for my business. Would I recommend you do this? 100% yes!
How do you feel about social media? Let us know by commenting below!