No Social Media Challenge

Written by: Sanaz Lordfard

Image from: Unsplash

Over one year ago, I decided to stop using all forms of social media; Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok. I have always found that social media never truly benefited me. It was nice to keep in touch with my friends, hear the latest news, or just have something to scroll through on long car rides. However, after leaving these apps, I always felt worse; I was comparing myself to others, or I just felt unfulfilled as I had wasted a few valuable minutes of my day. Last summer was my last chance to change something about myself before stepping into a new and exciting chapter of my life (university), and I wanted to improve my lifestyle in some way. I decided to log out of all of my social media accounts and observe its impact on my life and mental health.

Having no access to social media has saved me thousands of hours that I now spend exercising, meditating, resting my eyes from screens, or simply just socialising with the people around me. In the past, if I was eating a meal alone, I always found myself scrolling through my phone, yet now I am better able to savour the flavours by focusing on eating rather than my phone screen. On bus rides, I much rather prefer glancing at the beautiful horizon outside than viewing posts from people who I have never even met! Moreover, I find that without social media, I am better in control of my mind. I no longer feel this lingering need to check my feed. No matter how much self-control you have, it is incredibly easy to become addicted to social media. Do you ever unlock your phone and go straight to Instagram without even wanting to? Unfortunately, these applications are designed to get you hooked. Research has even shown that using social media shrinks parts of your brain that play a role in attention and cognition. Without being consumed by the distractions of social media, I found that I had become more efficient with my work, could focus for longer hours at a time, and my mental health had improved substantially. My mind feels so much more at peace, and I am better able to grasp the present moment without social media.

When I tell others that I don’t have social media, sometimes they ask me how I can keep connections and stay in the loop of things. Connections can always be made and maintained if you truly want them to last! I stay in contact with personal friends through messages and I use slack for communications pertaining to extracurriculars. Slack is similar to any messaging platform, but it is designed specifically for effective and professional communication between teammates. Many think I am a little odd, and I don’t blame them because there are few people like me. You can decide whether that is true for yourself. Today is day 560 without social media. I know it won’t come without challenges, but I am eager to see where this challenge takes me next.

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