I have been struggling with how much social media consumes my life lately. I have been feeling extremely stressed and overwhelmed with university and the amout of work and studying I have to do and sometimes the lack of motivation – and my way of coping was social media, or TikTok to be more specific. One week ago, I decided to detox and not spend any time on TikTok and here are the effects I’ve noticed so far and what helped me to overcome the difficulties when you think “Now’s a good time to watch TikToks”.
How it consumed my life before
I’ve always been a morning person, I like to set my alarm for 7am even tho my online classes don’t start until 10:15am. But I would spend the time from seven to eight in the morning watching TikToks, because it’s relaxing and everything else was stressful. Then, whenever I was bored or had a 15 min break – TikTok – because it’s easy to begin with and you can just exit whenever you want, not like with watching a show where you’ll never be able to finish an episode. Class is boring – TikTok. Nothing to do – TikTok. Study break – TikTok.
Time flies when you’re spending time on TikTok, one hour flies by and I’m like “I want to keep going” and that’s how you waste an enormous amout of time.
Why I changed that habbit
I saw a post on Instagram that advises you to stay in the now and then I realised, I was escaping reality. And while TikTok is an easy way to escape it, it’s extremely toxic, not even talking about the content (food, sports, beauty standards). I realized, in order to change my life and also renew my attention spam (that shortens with TikTok), I decided to first start not using TikTok for one or two days – now I’m up to a week, and while I don’t want to delete the app because of my drafts, I will try to not use it for the forseeable future!
How I changed my days for the better!
The first thing I do every morning is make myself a cup of Earl Grey. Before, I used to watch TikToks while drinking my tea and afterwards.
Now, as soon as I wake up, I turn on BBC World News as they always broadcast the news at 7am with interesting correspondants and live-stories and listen to the radio while making and drinking my tea. Sometimes, when they only broadcast sports news (which isn’t really my thing), I listen to a German law podcast that airs once a week with interesting new trials and decisions.
Thank God for these three, because what has helped me to stay consistently not opening TikTok has been rereading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
I never thought I could be the person that reads even after a long day or very early in the morning, but rereading the series I love most and that continues to amaze me even after so many times of reading, and of course binge watching the movies, has been so rewarding and made that possible for me.
I am very fortunate that my apartment is only a ten minute stroll away from the English Garden in Munich – I’ve been trying to take advantage of that and go for one walk per day. Plus, there’s a really cute small fake lake in the Garden where I live, with benches all around that make it very wholesome to walk around and sit down for a few minutes to soak in the sun light.
That one hour walking would have otherwise been spent watching TikToks – now I’m enjoying the fresh air, am able to listen to music or call a friend or my parents!
Living alone means much more alone time than I have been used to living with my parents. When I was bored, I would just walk into the other room and chat for a while. Now, there’s no one at hand or reach just for a small chat (obviously I could call people, but sometimes it’s just a situation where you want to talk for five minutes and then be alone again). TikTok would have been my go-to solution last week, but now I have twice just gone out to a café, order cake and coffee or just any beverage, and read my book. It’s a nice activity for one hour or so and you’re around people, don’t feel alone, but aren’t obligated to talk to anyone!
Conclusion to my detox so far
It’s only been a week, but I feel that so much has changed in my daily routine that makes me happier, more energized and not longing for TikTok like I used to feel in a moment of boredom or tiredness.
I have to admit, I didn’t think I’d last, but I am super proud that I managed to push through. Of course there were several moments where I was bored and thought “Why not take a break from this detox and watch a little bit”, but I’ve always found something to do – whether it was the dishes, call my parents or write this entry!
I know it might sound pathetic that I am this proud of me – but TikTok has really been eating me up, 2 hours a day every day for more than two years straight. Now, I am a bit on Instagram, but it’s around 30 mins a day and I am giving myself that break. I usually get bored after 5 minutes on Instragram, then pick up my phone an hour later and look at stories for another 5 minutes – but that’s okay.
I really want to continue to ban TikTok – I’ve been able to enjoy my own company and just cherish the first hour of the morning and be more aware of my surroundings!
That’s it for today – I hope you enjoyed this different sort of post!