Down time, General, How-to, Student Life

Life Unplugged

The beginning of November marks the start of “Unplugged” month at U of T, which is an initiative that encourages students to escape the tight grasp of their social media accounts. Who hasn’t felt that nagging feeling to check your phone at least twice during your one hour lecture or the all-consuming fear that your insta-hashtag is “too literal”?.

Inspired by Madelin’s leap of faith into a notification-less world. I decided to embark on a challenge of my own: to delete all my social media apps off my phone for an entire week. Here is my story:

UNMISTAKEABLE  LAW & ORDER ‘DUN DUN’ SOUND EFFECT

My social media use entails Facebook, (Facebook Messenger?), Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube. For the integrity of my challenge, I also decided to block all email notifications on my phone for the week to maximize the effects of being a social media recluse for a full seven days.

The non-permanence of deleting the apps instead of my accounts made the challenge initially easy to commit to and the challenge itself was not very difficult. Unsurprisingly, being what I will call a “Serial Bedtime Scroller”, posed the biggest test of my self control. Since the beginning of my Instagram obsession, I have been guilty of scrolling through my feed for up to 30 minutes before turning the lights off and going to sleep.

A GIF of someone scrolling through an endless screen of "THIS IS SO MUCH FUN"

It seems like fun… but is it really?

With my apps gone, I missed the mindlessness of pre-sleep scrolling and found myself doing some hefty pj-clad philosophy reading instead which over an entire week provided me with a lot of reading time. 

It only got better from there. To bring you over to the dark social media-free side, here is a comprehensive list of all the great things about my phone being social-media-less:

  1. It didn’t bother me if my phone was not in my hand at all times. This also means that I didn’t have a mini heart attack every time I couldn’t find my phone, because I knew it was always in my purse, just living it’s life for the sole purpose of receiving calls and text messages only.
  2. I stopped living every cool experience I had through an Instagram filtered lens. I know I can’t be the only person who constantly has their next insta-post on their mind. “Is this latte foam cute enough to top my chai tea post last week?” “OMG! A brick wall! That must be photographed!” The examples of rather embarrassing Instagram themed self-talk goes on… but you get the picture.
  3. I slept better. Refer to paragraph four. Take away the guilt of not having abs and eating cold pizza for lunch (and dinner) after fifteen minutes of looking at ‘Fitspo’ accounts and you’d be surprised at how easy sleep comes.
  4. My phone battery lasted twice as long. I’m super guilty of never closing the apps on my iPhone which basically means that my battery lasts a grand total of three minutes. Even though that’s an exaggeration, I will brag that over the course of my app-less week I once went two days without charging my phone. #winning.
  5. No more FOMO. This was the biggest perk of the challenge. I love my friends (and the friends of my friends) but sometimes they are seriously too hip for words and while I’m stressing over my next midterm, they are backpacking in Iceland which leaves me feeling pretty lame. An entire week without viewing beautiful “year off” travel photos, status’ about the amazing volunteer opportunities in Cambodia or how their mum brought them four months worth of banana bread (which can inspire jealousy in the best of us) left me feeling great about my own accomplishments, my own breakfast and my own life. It was absolutely freeing.

Will you go unplugged this November? Tweet about your experience using the #UnplugUofT hashtag!