Who said that detox is only for people who want to get rid off those extra carbs they gained from the Holidays, or from the so-called cheat day, that unfortunately has gone overboard? Well that is one good way of detoxing, health is wealth right people? But relax, you may keep your cookie and not feel guilty about it while reading this post. This detox I’m talking about is the nice, refreshing and rejuvenating time off of the digital world. Now I promised that you won’t have to feel guilty about your sugar intake as of this moment, but I’m not sure that says the same about your mobile device.
Digital Detox – a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.
The term has been used multiple times by people who wanted a break from the sometimes-toxic world of social media. Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, and even my favorite redhead who goes by the name of Ed Sheeran, all had their fair share of this detox. Each one had a different procedure; one had a 90-day off from Instagram despite her astounding 100 million followers, one had deleted her account (and re-activated it after a few days), and the other kindly left a note for his fans, saying he’ll be taking his time off to actually explore the world beyond the screen of his mobile device (which actually lasted more than a year).
A few months ago I had started my very own detox. Although I didn’t entirely leave the digital world, being a sophomore college student who half of the time relied on Google and Wikipedia for research, I specifically ruled out my number one enemy when it comes to getting my shit together (besides time), and that is the great land of Twitter.
I know, it sounds dreading huh? Let me tell you something though.. it’s not that bad
It started when I got my grades for the Preliminary part of the second semester, which weren’t that bad but they weren’t that good either. Considering my plans for the future, I couldn’t afford to have an okay grade. Although I wasn’t striving for perfection, I had a wholly different expectation as to what mark I was going to get, and sadly it wasn’t what was handed to me. This was in no way my professors’ fault. There was no one to blame but myself, and the excessive amount of time I spent on Twitter; getting updated about what’s in, what’s trending, running fan-accounts (Yep, I shamelessly did!), tweeting arguments about controversial issues, and sharing my opinions out there, which may as well be front-row tickets to a pissing contest.
But it wasn’t only my academic life that was on the brink of sinking, but so was my view about life itself. Myself.
Somehow, social media’s purposes has vastly shifted. It was originally supposed to be a platform where you may share anything you would like; a photo, a memory, a thought. But lately it has turned into this battlefield, where teams are divided by distinguishing where your beliefs stand, your opinions are the bullets and the ones firing them are the people furiously typing on their keyboards, watching the war unfold from behind the screen. If I remember correctly, opinions were meant to be respected. But in this case if you had a different one, especially if it’s the opposite of what the majority has agreed on, you are automatically labeled as a social media troll.
This has affected me in so many ways. Never mind being afraid of voicing out my piece on social media platform, I was afraid of verbalizing it even to myself! Inside my head was a battle between my own opinion versus what I think my opinion should be conforming to what people think. There was this stream of voices that has clouded my judgement, to the point that I didn’t even know my own voice anymore. I resorted to conformity thinking it was a safe passage from being scrutinized. Not that agreeing was a bad thing, but if it reached the extent that you don’t have the ability to judge whether something is right or wrong anymore, or you start doubting every decision you make because you’re afraid it’s not the choice others would’ve wanted, then that certainly isn’t the way to go.
So there I was in the midst of all the chaos. It was then that I realized that the world won’t be stopping for me and my personal dilemmas. What does an eighteen year old girl have against the millions of social media fanatics? The protective armor which I left behind thinking I won’t be needing it anymore was once again at my disposal. With a few clicks here and there, I have deacivated my Twitter account. As for my Instagram and Facebook, I decided to leave the former since I rarely use it, and the latter was something I couldn’t deactivate for school reasons. But I did delete the app to avoid the endless scrolling through my news feed which never seems to run out of juices, and went for this option where I would receive an email if there was an update or announcement regarding our school organization.
It wasn’t the ultimate solution for everything that I was going through. Of course I still had to come in terms of that. But it was a stepping stone. A leap, I might say. The process wasn’t easy and it felt like starting from scratch. It was like being in a room full of people, and suddenly it became deserted with no one left but you. It was the first time you heard yourself speak, your voice so clear. And although hearing it for the first time kind of made your ear hurt, it’s fine because you know it is your voice. Yours alone.
Social media detox can be done from minimal to extreme ways; you can take a break and decide not to open your account no matter how tempting it may be, you can delete the app, or simply delete your account. It depends on how much you need it and for what reason it is that you’re doing. All in all, the purpose of it is to take a break from the pressure of the digital world to experience the real world. After that you may gain a new perspective, or realize that it wasn’t social media that is bringing you stress, or maybe you’ll like it so much that coming back isn’t an option anymore.
This is in no way degrading social media, or saying that it is evil etc. Social media is fun if used in moderation. And if you’re one of those people who is constantly here and doesn’t require a detox, kudos to you
Published by Guela Munda