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A Quick Guide to Social Media Detoxing

By: Madelyn Crist

"Leave your phones in a basket by the dock." This line, our friend’s mom’s one rule, is what I believe made our summers truly significant.

I spent most of my high school summers traveling back and forth between Cary, North Carolina, and my friend's lake house several hours away. That summer before going to Gainesville for college, my friends and I spent many weekends wake-surfing, paddle-boarding, and exploring the shore. These times were memorable. Overall, this "phone rule" was typical of our friend group and our moms.

It was in middle school when our moms implemented the “phone basket” at gatherings and parties. At first, we thought it was a little obnoxious to cough up our beloved devices at the door, but as we grew older, we did it willingly.

Over time, we could see how this one simple, powerful, positive act changed the way we interacted with each other and the world around us.

When I was at the lake that summer, I fully experienced being in my friends’ company. We left our phones on the dock and spent hours by the water, sunbathing, and flying off tubes while our friend’s maniacally-laughing dad drove the boat (below are some pictures of our lake adventures). There’s something so fulfilling about leaving your phone ashore and living inexplicitly “in the moment.”

Now, I know that phrases like “living in the moment,” and “living your best life,” etc. are overused expressions usually seen on social media. Although I believe great inspiration for romanticizing your life blossoms from social media, living through other people’s aesthetically pleasing lives is never quite as fulfilling as doing it yourself. Social media can be a great starting point for figuring out your interests, staying connected with friends and family, starting businesses or promoting organizations, and living a more holistic lifestyle, but until you live through those experiences yourself, the time spent scrolling becomes won’t be beneficial.

I have spent many hours scrolling through Instagram. Throughout this time, I have focused on running extracurricular club accounts, creating content, and helping small business start-ups; I have also watched so many reels I forget what hour it is. I’ve seen both sides in the never-ending war with social media. Taking moments or days to detox from your phone or just a few apps is entirely necessary, whether or not you replace it with time “well spent” or “poorly spent.” Often we equivocate time to a thing that can be exchanged for memories, but time is merely a concept used to measure our days; so, time can be “spent” any way you would like for any price. I look at this idea by weighing my values. I value my time outside, reading a book, watching movies, and sitting with my cat, more than I value my time on Instagram. Hopefully, this abstract will help with dividing your time in your activities.

Recently, “#UNLITTERYOURMIND” came into my life; it’s a phrase that might inspire you too. When I joined the #UNLITTER Movement at the beginning of my freshman year, I became drawn to many people that encouraged me to put my phone away and enjoy the world around me; it brought me back to growing up in NC and summer lake days. So, I encourage you to get outside, go for a walk, and pick up some trash and some wildflowers along the way. Leave your phone inside if you can or maybe just turn off your ringer and enjoy life as it lies before you. Take a little detox from the world behind screens. And maybe take some inspiration from social media if you are unsure of what to do first!

Here are some personal favorite adventures that might motivate you for the upcoming summer months. (My all-time favorite has to be the aquarium or beach, but I’m completely biased.)

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