I had read a few interesting articles about how good it can be for the mind and soul to take a break from social media to re-balance and recharge if you've been feeling a little down.
I follow so many amazing bloggers and just amazing people in general on Instagram, Snapchat etc. and seeing what they were up to always made me a little insecure that I wasn't living my 'best life' like my favourite influencer was on her free, sponsored trip to Bali.
Of course seeing hot dogs or legs pictures beside an azure pool with palm trees in the background is never going to do much for the mood when you're trudging off to work in the rain at 7am.
So, last year, I decided that a good social media purge was what I needed, and what better time to start than Lent.
While I did feel creatively recharged after, I also noticed so many funny little subtlety's about our social media obsessed culture around me while I was sans-Snapchat.
Like there's nothing quite so strange as sitting at the head of a lunch table on a Monday afternoon looking down at the crowns of four other peoples heads all bent towards the LED screens of their smartphones.
There was something almost religious and reverent about their bowed heads, faces illuminated by the familiar glow of a screen.
Later in the week I was going for a little run, which rarely happens, and so I felt the urge to Snapchat this major event.
I mean, did you even exercise if you don't take the perfect post-workout gym selfie?
And was my Sunday brunch even nice if I didn't share a picture of it on Instagram? Why do I need to let people know that I'm enjoying a weekend afternoon with great food and even greater friends?
Is it to rub it in other peoples faces, that I, a 22-year-old-woman, have in fact got a social life or does it stem from a place of insecurity?
Obviously sharing a brunch picture of a particularly aesthetically pleasing meal isn't a sin, and I will definitely be guilty of it again, but I guess taking a social media break makes you consider your motives.
And this sunset. Why did I feel the need to share it in a digitally manipulable two-dimensional square, can I not just keep it as a memoir for myself?
Overall I felt better about myself as a person by abandoning the like button for a while. I thought less about the imperfections I feel my life has because I wasn't so constantly saturated with images of digitally-altered models and bloggers every time I slid open my lock screen.
No longer did I compare my very un-photogenic pesto pasta dinner to someone else's Michelin starred meal, and enjoyed my Friday night in bed watching Charmed without feeling the FOMO caused by incessant Instagram stories of nights out happening across the country.
So, what's the best way to dump your social media addiction for a while and de-clutter your mood? Well, here's how I did it.
First I popped all of my existing social media apps into a folder marked 'Out Of Bounds' so that even if I slipped and automatically went to check Facebook or Snapchat, I would see the folder name and remember.
Then I went to my notification settings and turned off everything social media related. Simples.
So maybe try purging yourself of social media for a bit. Here's some reasons why you should try:
- You will be more productive without the social media distractions.
- You could feel better about yourself and heighten you self esteem without the constant barrage of pretty much unachievable perfection that saturates much of Instagram
- You will be more creative and encourage more independent thoughts as you move away from being influenced by what other people are doing.
Once I had returned to social media, blinking blindly in the glossy glow of Instagram, I began to unfollow any accounts which weren't contributing to my happiness.
Anyone who made me feel insecure or just contributed nothing of substance, aesthetically or otherwise, was devoid of my follow.
It's almost impossible to avoid social media forever in modern culture, but it is possible to control your pool of influence, and remove those who bring nothing of substance to your feed.
Often, we follow someone and if we dislike their content, we just stop seeing it on our feeds as we don't interact with it – but the power of actually using that 'unfollow' option is huge.
So, if you can't tear yourself away from social media entirely, make sue you curate the content you see every day – it could seriously make a difference on that 7am commute when you're seeing relatable, positive images instead of completely unattainable ones.