Slow it down and step away from social media

Kellie Nock

Every night, before I fall asleep, I spend anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour on my phone. Usually, it’s scrolling through Twitter, finding a random tweet thread about the astrological signs as “Muppets” character or sometimes it’s a recipe Facebook page, wherein lies endless videos of perfectly sauteed onions and beautifully decorated cupcakes.

It doesn’t really matter what I’m looking at; it just matters that I’m looking. I constantly feel the need to be looking at my phone: right before I go to bed, right when I wake up, at consistent intervals throughout the day. For a lot of people, it’s about keeping up — about the fear of missing out.

While I can’t objectively say that’s the case for me, it does seem to play a large part. Not only do I have the compulsion to be looking at my phone all the time, but I also feel the compulsion to clear all of my notifications, to make sure that there are not little, red circles atop any app.

This isn’t something unique to me.

Look around any campus, any building, any room, and you’ll see tons of young people on their phones. Older folks aren’t exempt from this, but they aren’t as familiar with the closeness of smartphones as younger people are.

This is far from an admonishment of young people, or smartphones. It would be hypocritical of me to be snarky toward either of these things, as I cringe at almost any article written about “millennials.”

I just need a break.

Between all the different social media I use, it is exhausting trying to keep up with it all. Not to mention the specifics of it. Constantly seeing beautiful models traveling the world on Instagram isn’t healthy, nor is the stream of “relationship goals” tweets about boyfriends buying their girlfriends a new car or tons of gifts.

However little I want it to affect me, it still does. I am immersing myself in these expectations, comparing myself to people I’ve never even met. It’s not healthy.

This is why I say I need a break, and I suspect many others do too. It’s not good for our mental health to be surrounded by people and things that we are constantly comparing ourselves to. It’s not good for our mental health to have our phones constantly in our faces. We get so distracted by what’s going on there that we forget to see what’s going on with ourselves.

I’m not saying to get rid of smartphones and social media. I think that those are both vital tools in today’s world. I’m just saying to slow down. It’s okay to have a few unread messages.

Kellie Nock is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected].