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By Laura Lynch

It’s no big secret that we have all become phone, screen and social media addicts. It seems we are rarely present in the moment these days, as we always feel the need to capture all the big (and small) events in our lives, on our phones. Whether it’s at a concert, at the gym, on holiday, or even just at the dinner table… why is it so hard for us to put our phones away for a few hours?

This addiction to our phones and the online world was certainly something I had become accustomed to over the past five or so years, and it puzzled me, why was I so hooked to my phone?

What good was this constant scrolling, checking for notifications and need to keep up with the Kardashians' daily lives actually bringing to my life?  

After discovering a video online, about a girl who quit social media for one month, I decided to challenge myself and try to do the same. I deleted all social media apps from my phone (Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook).

The first week was WEIRD. I was finding myself feeling quite bored at little gaps throughout the day, such as on my commute.

While everyone else was staring at their phones, I had nothing to look at. I wondered if I might be missing out on some big celebrity news that may have come out online. I kept going to click into apps on my phone, even though they weren’t there anymore.  

The second week was NICE. I was already noticing lots of positive changes at this point, in myself and in my life and I found it was easier to continue the detox from this point on.

The first month came and passed and I never even for a second considered going back online at that point. I had come so far, I was enjoying the freedom and my new outlook too much to go back.

Five months later, I was still offline and living a completely new, happier life. I felt different, it was like a weight had been lifted and I was so motivated to share my story. I was finally beginning to understand the importance of self-care and started seeing everything in a new light.

Here are the important things I noticed during my Social Media Detox:

  • During the first two weeks of my social-media-free life, I noticed just how often I glanced down at my phone, without even thinking, and it was staggering.

  • I was sleeping much better and for longer – the less grumpy and less stressed version of me began to appear.

  • My anxiety reduced by 90 percent – this was by far the most significant change I noticed and loved about this whole experiment.  

  • JOMO – the joy of missing out has actually become a thing. It was lovely just doing my own thing and not knowing, or worrying about what everyone else was up to. When I wanted to hang out with my friends, I just messaged or called them, and this worked perfectly. I didn’t have a fear of missing out on anything (FOMO), which is something I worried I would experience, before the detox.

  • I just stopped caring about the crazy things we do for social media, like taking photos of our food whenever we go out to eat and sending it to everyone.

  • I didn’t feel any pressure to get that perfect Instagram photo or Snapchat story everywhere I went. I went to an outdoor concert and felt there was no pressure on me now to look perfect and get lots of amazing photos to post online. I felt I enjoyed the whole experience much more than I would have in the past.

  • I read books on my commute instead of staring aimlessly at influencers or celebrities, who I once compared myself to not realising how toxic these comparisons were.

  • I felt like there were more hours in the day and there was. I was amazed by how much more free time I had when I took social media out of my life.

  • I genuinely felt happier, more confident and less stressed out.

After my detox, I did return to the online world, but in a totally different way. I felt it was really important to share my story with others and encourage people to try this Social Media Detox Challenge for themselves and see the impact it could have on their lives. I decided to start writing my thoughts and ideas down. This led to me starting up my own blog on Mental Health & Wellness, called ondayslikethis.com.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Laura Lynch – Wellness Blog (@ondayslikethisblog) on

I have returned to Instagram and Facebook but don’t have the apps on my phone anymore as I feel that constant scrolling throughout the day can be toxic for our mental health and body image. I have created a new Instagram page called ondayslikethisblog, where I share only motivating posts, news and information about my blog.

I have also only chosen to follow pages that uplift and inspire me and this most definitely makes a huge difference.

I never returned to Snapchat and still don’t miss it, which is crazy as this is the app I would have used the most before my detox.

With all the above said, I would encourage everyone to detox from social media for a few weeks. I promise you will definitely notice so many nice changes in your life.

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Well, it's safe to say we're not exactly over the moon about this latest news.

Love Island stars Amber Gill and Michael Griffiths have been pictured kissing passionately (albeit in a challenge) for the first time since their Casa Amor break-up in tonight's episode.

Michael eventually admits that he still has feelings for her only days after his former partner Joanna Chimonides was dumped from the villa, calling him a 'snake' in the process. Dead right.

Firefighter Michael chooses Amber to take part in a challenge with him called Men at Work, where the male Islanders must compete to be named Buffest Builder.

Each boy has a chance to passionately kiss their partner at the end of the challenge, and Michael didn't waste a speck of time.

The couple seal the deal, and a reconciliation between them looks more likely than ever. WHY, GOD? WHY? He's a toxic, manipulative man and Greg is far better.

Michael interrupted her chat with Greg to confess his feelings before the pair teamed up for the Buffest Builder game. *Sigh

Image: ITV/REX

"The situation that I am in now has given me time to clarify a few things in my head. It’s given me time to think and realise ‘I do like Amber'," he said to Amber.

"I can only apologise about how I was over the last few weeks. I’m just letting you know that I do still like you.” Amber is understandably stunned by his admission.

Greg unfortunately just gives her a peck on the cheek in the challenge, and Amber says in the Beach Hut that she wishes he'd have full on kissed her. Us too, Amber. Us too.

Feature image: ITV/REX

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Maura Higgins, Duchess of County Longford, shares her first kiss with Curtis Pritchard in tonight's episode of Love Island only hours after Amy Hart quit the show.

Curtis' 'half-girlfriend' Amy exited the villa of her own accord after an emotional farewell, still heartbroken at the end of her relationship with the professional dancer.

Maura has confessed her feelings to Curtis already, who told her he couldn't make any moves with Amy still feeling the pain of their break-up.

The Islanders are set a dance challenge tonight in order to get each others' hearts racing, and Maura makes sure she's got all the attention to see through her plan.

"I've got a bit of a plan up my sleeve. I just can't wait to get to Curtis," she admits in the Beach Hut. The contestants are each strapped up to heart monitors and are split into boys and girls.

The girls have to dance individually first, and Maura grabs Curtis for a kiss while the whole villa watches on. We LOVE the ridiculousness of this woman, but feel for Amy too.

Curtis is left without words after her confident display, and we'd say his heartrate skyrocketed. She's some woman, we'll give her that. The boys must then impress the girls with their sexy moves.

Seeing as Curtis is a professional dancer, he brings the heat to his routine and returns Maura's kiss after picking her up to sweep her off her feet.

We can FEEL how delighted those producers are. Earlier, Maura and Curtis were chosen by Chris and Francesca to go on a double date, but Maura was pretty distracted.

Maura flirts with Chris, but spends most of the date trying to see what Curtis and the new girl are up to.

"The poor lad is going to be talking to me and I'm just going to be earwigging. I want to hear the way Curtis is behaving!" she tells the Beach Hut camera about her date with Chris.

We can't see Curtis waiting to crack on with Maura, his respect for Amy wasn't exactly sky high when his head was turned by Jourdan after about 30 seconds. *Shade*

Feature image: ITV/REX

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My torturous four weeks of not spending any money are finally drawing to a close, and frankly, I couldn't be more delighted.

Having free reign over my financial choices has always been something I've taken for granted, frittering away my wages on exorbitant rental prices, ordering in, and glasses of gin that are much too fancy for the likes of myself. 

Embarking on the 30 Day No Spending Challenge was definitely no walk in the park (though I took many of those, seeing as it's free), but I definitely learned quite a bit about my personal spending habits during my fiscal fast.

For those who don't know, the 30 Day No Spending Challenge focuses on benefiting your bank balance through a tight budget for four weeks. 

Most adventurers into this monetary management challenge stick to a budget of about €50.00 a week, to spend on groceries, transport and socialising.

The challenge omits things like rent and utilities, as it is all about making the most of your disposable income rather than getting you evicted.  

The most difficult part was willing myself not to give in to my random splurges. 

Seriously, the list of things I didn't buy this month because I was embarking on the challenge includes a gold coin festival bra, a faux Gucci belt (I was looking at too many bloggers' Instagrams that week) at least eight takeaways, a series of ASOS items and a selection of cacti. 

As someone who takes Carrie Bradshaw's famous quote about liking to see her money hanging in her closet quite seriously, not purchasing clothes for an entire month was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be, but hey, the gold coin bra is still available so once pay day rolls around, it's mine. 

Not caving to my food cravings was also pretty hard, and I'm not going to lie, there was an occasion where I did order in, completely blowing my weekly food budget on one delicious but ultimately unworthy meal. 

The most valuable part of the whole venture wasn't the money I saved (though we will get on to that later) but the realisation and clarity that the challenge gave me when assessing where my money would have been going. 

I kept a record of the things I didn't buy, a hangover from my oh-so frugal life as a student when I used to jot down all my expenses in an Excel sheet on my laptop, and I saved around €400.00 just by not giving in to my random coffee cravings and willing myself away from the computer screen during the ASOS sale. 

To anyone considering taking on the challenge, I strongly recommend keeping track of everything you do spend and everything you don't spend on the way. 

If opportunities come your way that you know are out of budget, jot them down to give yourself a better idea of how much you are saving per day or week as you go along to help keep you motivated. 

My only other tips are to get used to public transport and make budget supermarkets your second home, but for a lot of people, those are very normal aspects of their lives anyway, myself included.

The trick here was to plan your journeys to be as cost efficient as possible, and also prepare your meal plans in advance so there is no opportunity to get side tracked at the supermarket.

Honestly, one day I had an intense longing for a pain au chocolat, and had intense separation anxiety from the bakery section after my trip, and that was because I hadn't quite prepared well enough for my grocery shop.

Avoiding the junk food and bakery aisles like the plague is a must.  

As soon as I finish this final week of no spending, I'm buying enough pain au chocolats to block out the memory of my pastry-free month. 

So, the big question, how much did I save and what am I going to to do with my freshly stashed dosh?

Well, if you must know, I saved €800.00 over the course of the month, most of which I'm going to put straight back into my student loan and get three or four months ahead in those loan repayments. 

The rest is going on a good hair cut, a trip to my eyebrow technician, a packet of pastries and an absolute vat of gin. 

Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Would I do it again? Well, as a means of saving for something big like a rental deposit or a holiday, this challenge is ideal, so I'd never say never to undertaking another fiscal fast in the future.

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If you've never heard of it before, Discing, it's a new Internet trend.

To be honest, we've seen our fair share of social media challenges but this one is probably one of the funniest viral trends we've seen in a while.

It exploded in America at the start of the year, but has recently resurfaced and people all over the Internet are giving it a go.

It's basically when one hooks a CD on each arm of their glasses and then flicks their head forward to make a 'disc-face'.

It's simple, but pretty hilarious, and to be honest, the people in the office that don't wear glasses are raging they can't do it.

Hil-ar-ious.

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The Power of Make-Up trend, which tries to combat the stigma of girls wearing make-up started last year and it still continues on social media today.

The trend saw girls only applying make-up to half of their face, to try stop the shaming of women who like to wear lipstick, mascara and blusher.

One woman, Kelsie Swygart, wanted to combat the issue but also had another reason for posting the selfie.

 

I DON'T WEAR THIS MUCH MAKEUP EVER. I just did this for the sake of the challenge. Most days I don't wear any makeup at all unless I'm at work and even then it's just brows, liner & mascara. For everyone saying "Too much" or "Too dramatic" etc. can suck eggs. Even if I did this full glam look every day, it would be nobody's concern but my own. I do feel beautiful with or without makeup. This challenge was so freaking fun and I will be doing it again sometime soon! Thank you everyone for your kind and supporting comments! FOR EVERYONE ASKING WHAT MAKEUP I USE: FemmeCoture concealer, foundation and powders. #thepowerofmakeup #makeupofinstagram #mua #brows #lips #contour #highlight #anastasiabeverlyhills #mac #nyx #jeffreestarcosmetics #beauty #gorgeous #fullcoverage #nakedface #beforeandafter #bluehair #hairofinstagram #cutcrease #matte #motd #hotd #nailtech #makeup #freckles #thepowerofmakeupchallenge @nikkietutorials @thepowerofmakeupchallenge #femmecoture

A photo posted by Kelsie Swygart (@kelsieswygartnails) on

She captioned her picture: "I DON'T WEAR THIS MUCH MAKEUP EVER. I just did this for the sake of the challenge. Most days I don't wear any makeup at all unless I'm at work and even then it's just brows, liner & mascara.

"For everyone saying "Too much" or "Too dramatic" etc. can suck eggs. Even if I did this full glam look every day, it would be nobody's concern but my own," she continued.

"I do feel beautiful with or without makeup. This challenge was so freaking fun and I will be doing it again sometime soon! Thank you everyone for your kind and supporting comments!"

Fair play, we think that every woman has the right to wear and do what she wants to.

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It’s no secret that Charlotte Crosby has had a difficult time over last month with the revelation of her ectopic pregnancy and shock exit from Geordie Shore, so we’re delighted to hear the star is back making plans for the future.

In an interview with OK! Charlotte revealed that she’d love to follow in Vicky Pattison’s footsteps and enter the I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! jungle.

But while admitting that being part of the show would be “absolutely amazing”, she’s not sure she’d be able to cope with the show’s famous challenges as well as her former co-star did.

She said: “I don't think I'd do as well in the tasks as what Vicky did man…it was like nothing phased her.”

“Like I couldn't be travelling over them snakes as if it's just a b****y stick – I’d be full on screaming.”

And speaking of challenges, Charlotte – who recently arrived in Sydney- told OK! that she has a new screening process in mind for any potential love interests.

“I think I'll have a series of tests for any future boyfriends, I think after this phone call I'm gonna write them all down like tricky little tests I can give each one to see if they'll pass them.”
 
“Say if I'm away and I'm meant to be going to see them and I'm like I can't do it, I've got to be in London, see if they're like, 'Oh I'll come to London’, stupid little things like that.”

Given her complicated on-screen relationship with Gary Beadle, we think Charlotte's new plan sounds like a very good idea.

Centre image: ITV

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Hungarian artist, Dudolf, shocked the Internet when he released a drawing of snowmen and asked the world to find the hidden panda.

It's actually really hard (can you find it?!) and people even filtered his Facebook page with angry messages, asking Dudolf to tell them where the panda is.

You'll find it, don't worry.

But now he has challenged the Internet once again and this time it's a cat hidden in between a bunch of owls.

It took us… a while… to find the cat and the panda, but once you do, you won't believe you ever missed them. 

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Remember the ice bucket challenge? Well, there is a new challenge in town and it involves your favourite form of contraception. 

Yep, we are here to inform you about the latest BIZARRE social media craze; the condom challenge. 

 

Condom challenge jajaja #condomchallenge #cool #follow #fun #funny #humor #lmao #lol #tagsforlikes #video

A video posted by Condom Challenge™ (@condomchallengetv) on

Hmm, we can't imagine celebs getting on board with this one. 

The latest challenge involves participants dropping a water-filled condom onto the head of a friend or partner. 

Why you ask? Well, while the ice bucket challenge raised awareness for ALS, the #condomchallenge is looking to promote safer sex. 

The purpose of the challenge is to demonstrate that if a condom laden with water can fit around someone's HEAD and not break, there is really no excuse for unsafe sex.

Oh and also because it is hilarious to watch. 

The trend was first spotted last week and has since gained serious momentum as thousands of videos have been posted to various social media sites. 

And it would seem that many can see the positives of the challenge. 

Make sure you take care if trying it at home!

Do you this it's absolutely stupid or will you be taking up the challenge?

 

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We feel a little ill even thinking about this – but apparently you can now buy a colossal, mind-boggling 32in pizza in Dublin.

Being dubbed Ireland's biggest pizza (and we believe them), Pinheads Pizza on South Circular Road is seemingly doing a roaring trade.

Ordinarily setting you back €32, if you can polish it all off – along with two of the establishment's milkshakes – you'll be given your dinner for free, as well as a spot on their wall of fame.

"As part of a recent revamp of our store, we decided to come up with some new ideas which included the creation of the Biggest Pizza in Ireland," their website states.

Sadly, at the moment Pinheads don't deliver – they say they simply haven't designed a big enough box yet – but if you're in the area, would YOU be up for the challenge?

 

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This is so cute!

Buba the dog’s owner helped him to set up his very own Ice Bucket Challenge installation that allowed him to dump the water on himself.

The water wasn’t cold and Buba looks happy to have done his bit for ALS. 

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Mark Wright has confirmed he is taking part in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, but has revealed he has ZERO moves up his sleeve!

The former TOWIE star has revealed he is set to take to the dance floor in the upcoming BBC One series and plans to “try hard” to take home the glitter ball trophy.

But Mark claims he has no rhythm whatsoever, and is actually known has ‘Marky no moves’ by pals!

“You know I can’t dance and all that, and I’ve got absolutely no rhythm and they call me ‘Marky no moves’, well… the dancing shoes are coming out, and once and for all I’m going to learn to dance!” he said.

“As this year I am taking part in Strictly Come Dancing! Laugh all you want, like my friends and family have done, I don’t care, I’m gonna do it. I love a challenge.

“I know the only move in my locker is a caterpillar, and I know that I’m gonna look funny in sequins, but… I do like to try hard and I do like to crack new challenges.”

Best of luck Mark – we just can’t wait to see you in all those fab dancing outfits!

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