Tap. Tap. Tap. I key in my password and I’m in! Seriously!? The first picture I had to see was that girl, meeting that awesome celebrity by chance at the airport. What are the odds? Scroll. You have got to be kidding me! He is also engaged – that has to be the fifth person I know, getting ready to join the marriage wagon this month. Okay, I need that chocolate cake in my life. A quick scroll through the sponsored restaurant page. On and on it goes.
Social media can truly turn into hours of self-deprecating mental banter, as we look at the showreel of our friends, family and complete strangers. Albeit, not everyone feels the need to compare their lives to others.
Fine, we agree that you are not that petty. However, it is natural to feel some sort of negativity when you are scrolling through a friend’s vacation pictures in Zanzibar, right after handing in a report you worked for weeks on, that your superior just indirectly called garbage.
Google says Kenyans in 2019 check their phones approximately 150 times a day. Let us assume you open Instagram or Facebook maybe 30 times that day. That is a lot of happy, smiley, to-be-wed, living-their-dream-life people.
That is not to say you or I do not post similar photos, and perhaps add to someone else’s negative feelings. But, if the cycle continues thus, the ever-growing need to keep up appearances feeds a frenzy of superficial beauty – and inner turmoil.
Enter superhero Tech Detox. I saw this mentioned on a few influencers posts over the past year. It intrigued me initially, but it makes sense for people who spend the most time on these apps, as actual work, to feel burnt out by it.
Tech Detox simply means switching off your phone or keeping it away from yourself for certain periods of time. You could do this for an entire day, once a week. Maybe even 2-3 hours every day. It all varies depending on what you can handle. Now, here is the catch. Does it work?
A few months ago I decided to stop keeping my Instagram logged in. I noticed that it would try and entice me (the little devil) to log in, by pretending that I had “100 notifications” waiting for me. For one solid week, I stayed logged off.
Now, I only log in occasionally about 1-5 times a day: when I need to post something, I’m having a constant conversation with people, stalking Met Gala attendee photos or looking to buy something from an Instagram business page. Otherwise, I am not logged in. I do not care when someone starts a live video. I do not automatically open a story 2 minutes after someone posts it. According to Kenyan firm Nendo, consuming stories takes up a sizeable chunk of our data bundles and this sphere of social media is gaining popularity.
I have to attest to feeling less negative after my time away from the insta-verse. The first week was very easy and I did not realize I had not logged in for seven days straight until the seventh day. And then I rested. Even when I went back to it, it felt less important. The world did not revolve around my feed or the pressure I felt to post and ensure I am constantly adding to my showreel and climbing the follower count.
Give it a try. I know you are a self-fulfilled, strong, assured person with great values who does not feel averse to watching hours of content where other people sparkle. It may not harm your iron-clad self-assurance. But perhaps it will mean you pay more attention to the people around you and notice what is happening to them more in-depth. Perhaps you will find the extra time to do that thing you have been meaning to do for days but never find the time. Just perhaps, it will make you feel happier too.
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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke