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A Four Day Social Media Cleanse Epiphany 

By Brianna Bush

This week, I took part in what many call a social media cleanse–the fancy way of saying “my break from the social media platforms that never fail to interrupt my productivity.”

Upon starting my cleanse, I immediately thought to utilize the iPhone feature entitled “Downtime.” This feature blocked my access to the apps that I wanted to limit my time on according to the schedule I chose. In this case, my downtime schedule was set to 8:00 am to 12:00 am–(granted that I was in bed during the off-times). 

However, of course, they can’t entirely cut me off from my app usage during the period I selected (because I’m essentially paying for the use of my phone’s services). Therefore, I can proceed to the app by pressing “Ignore Limit,” which made me think twice about the repercussions of that.  

I do not often use advanced features like this high-tech one, but when it reminded me that I was about to “ignore” the limit, I felt compelled to click off and power through. 

This is no elevator pitch for this iPhone feature, though it did make me realize that sometimes we need something or someone that counteracts our goals in order for us to get the strength to prove them wrong. 

That was just one of the many entities helping me through this week. As I kept crossing off each successful day on my list I started to create my own tests of discipline. For example, in the beginning days of my cleanse, I felt disconnected, and I assumed those feelings would soon spiral out of control but instead they got better. 

One test of my discipline was when I enjoyed quality time with my mother over meals that were definitely “Instagram worthy.” As our meals came out, admittingly my first notion was to take my phone out and share what we were having for dinner with the world. Of course, my ultimate goal of the week was to stay true to my social media cleanse so I instantly came up with a way to unravel myself from the habit of snapping a picture of every moment in my life. 

I asked myself, “Am I really enjoying my meal if I have to post a picture to prove it’s worth?” That’s when, as dramatic as it may seem, I realized that I actually was enjoying myself and I didn’t need to post for the world to see in order to solidify that.   

To further my discipline, (and I’m bringing out the statistics now) my daily screen time went down to 59% from the previous week. Watching the percentage of my screen time go down with each day helped me continue to power through.  

And from there on, I started to come up with ways that altered my view of social media. I originally put apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Youtube on a pedestal. Though in these four days I had an epiphany: social media is where unrealistic expectations turn into redundant, predictable, and insignificant posts. 

How could I reduce a four-day social media cleanse to something so obvious? To further strengthen my epiphany, social media is yet another way to compare yourself to a person in a world that simply doesn’t need an altered version of that. 

I even thought back to a time where social media didn’t have the traction it does now. We all lived our lives free of the notion that we had to have a “bangin” social media page. And now, after putting myself back into that time again, I realized even more that there is power in simply putting your phone down and living your life.

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