I’m bored. I’m stressed. Curious. Lazy. Excited. Out-of-touch. Looking for a way to relax. These are just a few reasons we sit down and scroll social media until our eyes glaze over.  

This summer, I got into the habit of doomscrolling. I’d get home from a long day of work and would want to disconnect from reality and relax. So, I’d hop on Instagram, TikTok, or on a particularly boring day, Twitter. I would waste away my evening in the name of relaxation, but I never felt more relaxed. I would walk away from my phone more stressed, anxious, and restless. Suddenly there were so many things I wanted to do, places to visit, and emotions to process, but no motivation to do any of it. I was overwhelmed.  

See, that’s the thing about social media – it’s a boomerang. First, you’re looking at your friend’s engagement announcement, then radical political views, then a conspiracy theory about the zodiac killer, and finally your classmate’s recap of their mission trip. We’re tossed around, post to post, with no time to process the information or our emotions.  

I introduced my parents to Instagram to keep up with our family and friends. They adored sending reels to one another, and to us kids. However, when they started feeling that they were spending too much time on their phones, I introduced them to the term doomscrolling. They nodded their heads and accidentally, but aptly, deemed it “deathscrolling.”  

That’s what it feels like. I’d scroll so long it felt like my energy, motivation, and autonomy died, plus a couple braincells. I hated feeling captive to social media – I knew I had to do something about it. So, I set a time limit on all forms of social media. It was password protected – with a code I didn’t know – and it allowed me one minute a day per app.  

Why one minute? What’s the use of that? That minute allowed me to quickly scroll through each app to get people’s big life updates.  

This changed the game. I still felt in the loop, but I no longer craved sitting and scrolling. Checking social media for a single minute prevented my brain from getting comfortable in the cycle. Suddenly, I went through my minute, the app shut down, and my brain moved on. I used to feel like I was missing something. Some post or update that I just had to see was surely one more swipe away. But now, I know that all the “most important” posts filter right to the top of my feed. I’m able to get through them quickly, and then have no desire to keep scrolling. 

Breaking this old habit has not only helped my mental health, but has also freed up more time to do the things I love. I do those things to relax, and they energize me, unlike social media. My life is more balanced now that I’m no longer a slave to my phone. 

Who knew that cutting back on social media would result in less FOMO? 

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