Take this moment to breathe


Darby Drapeau, Staff Writer

On Oct. 4, Instagram, Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp experienced a glitch in the system. All four social media platforms shut down for about six hours due to what Facebook claims were “networking issues” that interfered with their data’s connection. 

During this time, no one could refresh their feed to see what one another was doing, where they were or what cute outfits they were wearing. And you know what? We all lived.

I spend the majority of my day on my phone scrolling and posting on social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Most of that time is for work since I help run both the UWF Homecoming and UWF Student Involvement social media pages. The rest of it, however, is for personal use. 

This shut down may have caused some negative drawbacks for my daily work, but for the most part, it allowed me to take a well-deserved breath of fresh air. 

As I spend every day surrounded by my peers, I tend to not realize how much time I waste checking my phone. It’s usually not until I go home to visit my parents that I realize how many times I click the home button or turn my head away from the conversation to see if any notifications have popped up on my screen. 

It sometimes feels like I have subconsciously built the habit of checking my phone into my routine. Something that was once totally unnatural to me now feels as if it has always been a piece of my wiring. 

Working and living through our phones on an everyday basis like this can cause mental and physical effects.

According to an article written by McLean Harvard Medical School Affiliate, too much social media use can lead to “decreased, disrupted, and delayed sleep, which is associated with depression, memory loss, and poor academic performance.” 

Those same effects play into physical health as well. The article states that the “connection between the mind and the gut can turn anxiety and depression into nausea, headaches, muscle tension, and tremors.”

Social media is a highlight reel.

The content posted on social media is meant to make our lives look as perfect as possible. When we use social media constantly, it’s easy to forget that those posts lack a huge sense of reality. Therefore, we may tend to compare our lives to an unrealistic standard which can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves. 

Unplugging from social media can help ease those tensions more than you may realize. During the shutdown, I kept myself focused on what was happening in front of me rather than what was happening on my screen, and I was reminded of how simple and easy life should be.

Without social media, I was able to get all my school work done, go to the grocery store and go for a short walk. I noticed a lot more people throughout my day than I would have if my face was shoved into my phone. I felt as if my world slowed down for just a little while. 

After reading this, if you find yourself unnecessarily checking your phone for notifications that aren’t there, maybe take that as a sign that you’ve had too much screen time for the day. Put your phone away or turn it off if that’s what it takes and step back into reality. Live in a world where nobody’s hair is perfect, or go a whole day without doing anything deemed “picture-worthy.”

Make real-life conversation with real-life people, even if it’s just simple small talk. Realize not every conversation has to be poetic or inspirational, the “hello’s” and “how are you’s” should never be taken for granted.  

Go outside. Take a moment to breathe. Let your eyes adjust from the blue light to the warm natural light, and try to have a good rest of your day.