As the new year begins, it is an apropos time to reflect on my recent lifestyle challenge: 20 days without Snapchat. By challenging myself to give up Snapchat, I hoped to look up from my phone, see more of the world around me, and learn to live without the constant use of Snapchat.
Many people doubted my ability to quit Snapchat for one day, let alone 20 days, but I was determined to succeed. As a typical teenager, my social media diet is a smorgasbord of Snapchat, Instagram and VSCO. While a social media cleanse may sound insignificant, quitting Snapchat cold turkey gave me a new perspective about how social media affects my life.
I discovered that I had been spending a lot more time on Snapchat than I had estimated. Yes, I was fond of posting pictures of my dog and aesthetic food shots on my Snap story, but how much time could those amazing photos really be taking from my life? My Snapchat cleanse experience taught me that left unchecked, Snapchat becomes a habit that steals too much valuable time. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy Snapchat, but like most enjoyable aspects in life, moderation is key.
The first few days of my Snapchat cleanse were the toughest. I noticed that when I was bored or had a few minutes of downtime, I would automatically reach for my phone, eager to click on the white ghost inside the yellow icon. Sticking with my challenge, I tried to choose a more productive diversion, but since I am not perfect, I often spent time on other social media sites. Although Insta stories are entertaining and the creative editing features make photos look great on VSCO, neither platform filled the void of my missing Snap streaks.
As days passed, my Snapchat cleanse got easier. I learned to put my phone down for longer periods of time and even peered out the car window while riding as a passenger. An unexpected benefit of the cleanse was that I got more sleep because I did not have streaks to send before bed.
Although going 20 days without Snapchat is not a big achievement, it has changed my social media habits. I gained a healthier awareness of the amount of time that I want to spend on Snapchat, which is supposed to be a quick diversion, not a habit. It has been refreshing to retreat from the demands of social media and to keep some moments in my life just for me. This lifestyle challenge turned out to be a wonderful gift, a visit to a world where I lived and thrived for 20 days without Snapchat.