Even though I was completely alone, it felt like there was an intruder in my personal space.
It was a pretty normal week. I followed my regular routine at home alone taking care of typical household responsibilities: Trash was taken out, dishes were washed, dogs were fed, and I logged into my social media accounts multiple times.
Despite how familiar this routine was to me, I noticed something that brought a high amount of stimulation into my cozy introvert bubble. That something was an immense feeling of dread that followed whichever app I opened. Regardless of whether I was keeping up with friends, the weather, or current injustices that we as humanity face, I was drained.
No one was near me physically — I was completely alone — and I hadn’t received any unwanted phone calls. So why did it feel as if there was an intruder in my personal space?
The Inherent Drain of Social Media
I sat pondering this dilemma for quite a while until I eventually came to the conclusion that social media, although useful, can in turn negatively affect a person’s wellbeing.
Social media can be harmful to anyone, introvert or extrovert, as there’s some evidence that excessive use of it increases a person’s risk of anxiety and depression. However, I believe this negative effect may be even stronger for us introverts, as our mental space is one of our many comfort zones.
Although I felt comfortable alone, as all introverts do, I noticed a steady decline in my introvert battery life. Constantly checking the latest posts (some that were uninteresting) for no apparent reason other than giving myself an excuse to be “busy” at home was as if I had forgotten how to recharge.
As a result of this drop in peace, I decided to make a change: I removed myself from this highly stimulating environment for an entire 24 hours. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy for me to stay away from social media. Similar to how introverts sometimes avoid or decline parties, events, or other social invitations, I paid no mind to the probable barrage of likes, retweets, and comments I was getting.
A Faster Way to Recharge My Energy
I quickly found the benefits of staying off social media were indeed tremendous. It felt as if I had just acquired a fast charger for my energy. I was able to pay more attention to the things that really mattered, and by the time the day was finished, I felt rejuvenated and at ease. Here are just three benefits from my experience of social distancing from social media:
1. Improved focus
If you’re having trouble focusing on one thing, you need to change something. Perhaps the very thing that needs to change is the amount of social media that you consume on a daily basis. Focusing helps us better achieve our goals, even if that goal is just to distance ourselves from whatever is no longer benefiting us.
Nowadays, my focus and level of alertness have grown by me taking one day a week away from social media. Sometimes it’s the same day each week, but sometimes it differs depending on how I’m feeling the day before. I don’t necessarily notify my friends/followers beforehand; I just make the choice for myself. Although it was strange the first time, it got easier and easier.
The range with which I now complete daily activities has increased from watering plants, finishing a good book, and even cooking meals at home — basically, I have more time to do the meaningful things that I enjoy. It truly is the little things that make a big difference.
2. More control over your life
Are you a control freak like me? Does what you’re around or what you’re giving your attention to make you unhappy when all you want to do is retreat? Then you must regain control of your introvert soul. It’s paramount that you actively distance yourself from what doesn’t help you.
I regained control of my life once I logged off. A day without random phone notifications about whoever’s birthday it is or what was sent my way on Messenger feels just as good as coming home after a long day outside my comfort zone.
3. It’s drama free
Drama and introverts are like water and fire: They don’t mix at all. If there’s one thing that’s super draining, it’s drama. Especially when you have to be around it or unfortunately see it in social media comments. Social distancing from social media allowed me to stay in my introvert bubble without dealing with unwanted trouble.
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Time to Breathe
Even though I love my family and friends, there comes a time when I must leave and breathe. I didn’t receive any opposition once I began implementing this weekly practice into my life, although my loved ones were surprised when I made it known to them.
My friends wondered why I hadn’t responded to their comments in the past day. When I broke the news to them about my decision, they took it well and even felt that I was doing the right thing — especially with all that is happening right now in our society, both the good and the bad.
Often, it’s better that we reconnect with reality itself, even if that reality only consists of the walls within our homes, enjoying our much-needed solitude. We don’t have to be “busy” just to not get on social media. Sometimes it’s better to close the apps and take a nap.
It’s Not Wrong to Stay Off Social Media
Now, there are absolutely benefits to using social media and making real connections — in fact, many introverts find it easier to show their true personalities online and interact with others. However, choosing to social distance 6 feet or for 6 weeks from our platforms should not be mocked or disrespected. Everyone needs their own space whether in person or online; even extroverts do too.
So, if there are introverts in your life who are staying off social media right now, know that it may take time before they return to enjoying the online company of those who matter to them. And please remember that we love you all the same — even though we may not look at your latest post.