By Samantha Nicole Alarilla
Social media has become a big part of our lives – especially for millennials, who now build their businesses upon and within social media – and checking our newsfeeds on different platforms has become routine to us now. But while social media is an effective way of connecting with people, sharing fresh and brilliant ideas, finding communities with common interests, and staying updated with the rest of the world, it’s not a secret that social media can get bad for our mental health. Which is why it’s always a great idea to disconnect every now and then to give ourselves a break from the downsides of social media.
This is in no way meant to be anti-social media; in fact, far from it. We celebrate social media. We thank our lucky stars that in this day and age connecting with others is as easy as a tap or two, and that it’s now so easy to express ourselves, spread awareness, and gain audiences.We need to acknowledge, however, the not-so-great aspects of social media so that we know how to use and enjoy it to the fullest without sacrificing our mental health.
01.The comparison will kill you. (If it hasn’t already.)
The fact is, millennials have it a lot harder. This is because most of us grew up knowing what everyone else was up to through Facebook posts and tweets while the generations before us didn’t. Hence, the pressure of having the perfect Instagram-Snapchat-worthy life never existed. Whereas now, our generation is bombarded with updates of our friends’ seemingly perfect lives. We feel insecure because our life seems significantly a lot less interesting, a lot less exciting, and a lot less successful than theirs. This constant comparison we subject ourselves to every time we check our newsfeeds is unhealthy and will do more damage than good.
Taking a break from social media means taking a break from constantly tearing ourselves down. This will allow us to focus more on ourselves instead of on others. There will definitely be more room for self-growth and self-care once we do so.
Those OOTDs weren’t effortless, and neither was the art your mutual friend posted or that picture of your friends drinking cocktails by the poolside. Seriously, in social media everything is carefully orchestrated and curated because everybody wants to make their lives appear as perfect as possible, and because of that your newsfeed churns out essentially fake content that tricks you into thinking the way your friends want you think, and it works.
But what you don’t see is the hundreds of shots they took to get that one perfect photo, and the hundreds of filters and adjustments to the lighting and shadows they made, and the hundreds of moments of struggle and sadness behind each smiling, laughing face, because that’s real life. Social media paints unrealistic portraits of everyone’s lives and it makes us jealous, insecure, and competitive over essentially…nothing.
03.The irony of disconnection in the connected world.
The sad thing about social media is that although it was created with the intention of keeping everyone connected, it’s actually one of the biggest reasons why our real, physical connections with people are weakened and ultimately severed. Studies reveal that it’s actually just one big vicious cycle. We feel alone because our relationships with people are weak due to social media – nowadays a birthday greeting on Twitter or a lengthy Snapchat story suffices as actual interaction in society — so we actually seek out social media to feel not as alone – because what else can we do, right? That’s where everybody is, and we’re naturally social creatures, so we flock to wherever everyone else is. But the moment we open our apps, we’re sucked back into the abyss when we see our friends having fun without us and leading amazing lives without us being in them. Just like that, social media can be isolating, and can contribute greatly to our feelings of loneliness.
If we all took the time to physically spend time with our loved ones, wouldn’t things feel a lot less lonely? Wouldn’t our relationships be stronger because it’s built on more than just late-night DMs and retweeting each other’s posts? I think it would. Because think of it this way: if you and your loved ones actually make the effort to see each other face to face and not just through a screen, doesn’t that mean that you genuinely care about one another?
There is no denying that social media is a great thing; but as always, too much of something great isn’t always a good thing. It’s not a bad idea to take a break from social media once in a while to focus more on yourself, on developing your talents and skills, and on growing as a person, to keep in touch with reality, and to build stronger, realer relationships with people.
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