How’d you feel when you attempted to log onto Instagram, Facebook, and or any other social media platform that crashed on October 4th, 2021? If you were like me, I thought maybe I forgot to pay my cell phone bill. Soon we all realized wait no–it’s not us, it’s Facebook. Then the world went silent for the very first time in a LONG time. Nothing new was alerting us to check our feed every 10 seconds, no one to DM, and no way to post our afternoon coffee for the world to see. So what did you do? How did that feel?
You probably went through what’s called, withdrawal. You had to constantly remind yourself to put your phone down (since it was pretty useless at this point). Yet, your impulses still picked it up every few minutes, clicking that little square icon in hopes it was working again. But, it wasn’t and instead you sat there looking at the same screen from 3 hours ago as if the world stood still. You probably experienced anger too, and were pretty pissed off at Facebook for ruining your day. Just when you were about to doubt it would never come back on, it did! And a sense of relief and excitement came rushing through your body. Social media is like a drug and you took another hit.
Yes, we have to face the fact that a lot of us are addicted to social media and our screens. At what point did you question that your response to the social media crash was unhealthy? Or did you even question it at all? This is the hard truth we were all confronted with that day. However, not for everyone. Some people took a different approach and for once felt relieved that social media crashed. They embraced the break from our typical social media circuit, though it wasn’t their choice. They surrendered control and found other ways to pass the time.
This is why taking healthy breaks should happen more often. I know some influencers that for once, were not obligated to post every hour just so their followers did not grow hungry. On both ends, as creators, and consumers, people were stressed out by their inability to access their public persona. Businesses, brands, and influencers alike, had no choice but to put their phone down, uncovering truths that social media does not want us to see. Here are 4 things that I, as well as others, learned during this social media break:
1. Look up from your phone, the real world can be kind!
Fix your face hun, cause the world is actually kinder than you think. There are still some good and kind souls out there waiting to cross paths with you. But instead, we choose to ignore them. Are people as cruel as social media paints them out to be? In some cases, yes, I’m sure there are some evil people with horrible intentions in the real world, but honestly, this does not have to be your truth every day, everywhere you go! And if it is, you might just be in the wrong crowd– but that’s a different topic for another day. This social media break allowed people to experience their reality in its truest form FIRST, then allow their interpretations to follow. Carrying hatred in our hearts for people and cultures we have never even met or experienced before, only fuels the false narratives that were strategically designed to keep us all apart.
2. Stop scrolling, entertainment is something you should do for yourself.
Social media has fooled us into believing THEY are the only source of entertainment. However, you can entertain yourself and you don’t need a live stream or endless updating feeds to do so. Entertainment is a two way street and the greatest enjoyment can be found when you create it for yourself. Singing your heart out to a song you once loved as a child and or dancing in your living room alone as if no one is watching, all of which are exciting and can come at little to no cost to you. Social media is not entertaining you, it’s distracting you from the real entertainment that you can create just by being your authentic self. However, you will need to put your phone down to find out just how.
3. The truth is, it’s okay for life to be boring sometimes…so embrace being over doing, and see where it takes you!
Yes that’s right, go ahead and sit at a park and do absolutely nothing. Play with your dog, your cousins, or meet up with an old friend, without any need to accomplish anything today. Cause guess what? NO ONE CARES! As long as you are enjoying yourself and doing what you want to do, there’s no need to try to impress anyone. The moments you don’t capture and share for social media tend to be the most pure and beautiful ones. Remember, there is no deadline to meet and no task to check off. Just do you, be you, and enjoy the people and spaces around you that bring you peace. Yup that too is socializing at it’s finest–feels great but looks boring to others. No wonder we don’t post moments like this as much.
4. Put that phone down, taking a break is good for your mental health & wellbeing.
The biggest lesson of all, is that our screens can be the source, or at the very least a major contributor to our mental illness. What if the immediate access to comparing others to ourselves on social media, is the true culprit of your anxiety and stress? We log off social media not gaining any other feeling than failure, or feeling as if we are not doing enough. Social media has normalized riches and extravagant lifestyles that are actually not normal at all. We no longer know what’s normal–and hate the idea that we just might be. But there is nothing abnormal about being normal. You do not have to obtain these impractical lifestyles just so people will like you, just so you will be loved, and just so you will love yourself. It’s sad that we think these are the keys to life, and that they will somehow bring feelings of worthiness, self-love, and appreciation. All the while, we’re competing and running in a race we’ll never finish..
So big shout out to Facebook for crashing! Whether it was intentional or not, quite frankly I suggest doing it more often, because it forces people to get off their phones, laptops, unplug, and just look up at the sky for once. The breaks do not have to be for long, but honestly it should be routine as we continue to advance in technology and work from home. If done often, we won’t lose sight of the real world in its natural beauty, and will always know just how kind it can be. Maybe then, we will stop spewing so much hatred in the world and stop giving our screens the power to define our lives.
Thessiana Shama Mesilus merges the art of storytelling and psychology throughout her content. She founded Shama Works that serves as a creative platform to help individuals lead, grow, and heal from within or wherever there is a story to be heard.