Instagram and WhatsApp are two very crucial apps on my phone. While WhatsApp helps me to stay connected with my colleagues over work, Instagram works as an easy way for me to stay in touch with my friends. I enjoy photography therefore Instagram is something I’m probably err.. addicted to.
Around 2 weeks ago, in an unnatural scenario, all the apps by Facebook; Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger went down. As a matter of fact, Facebook disappeared off the face of the internet! I felt so bad for all Facebook users trying to find their footing.
An hour into the outage, I couldn’t use WhatsApp. My primary messenger app was not functioning and for a second, I panicked. Or was I at peace? There was a sense of urgency and irritability to use the phone. The constant itch to unlock my phone bore no fruit to me.
I barely use Facebook, so that didn’t matter. WhatsApp and Instagram were down, and now I suddenly felt very lost. No Instagram to doom scroll on. What was I going to do? I decided to spend some time with my friend. We watched a movie together. About twice I picked my phone up to see if the apps were working or not.
This time I felt relieved. There were no messages to reply to, no expectations to live up to. Mind you, this was around 3 hours into the outage. This is when I realized, or remembered, that in order to connect with your loved ones, you can just call them. I did that. Spoke with them. A short and sweet call and my phone was kept away for another few hours. I felt more relaxed. No screen to be used. I could do more than just scroll on my phone.
4 hours later
I was now relaxed. Blissfully relaxed. A part of me felt I was missing out on so much stuff happening on Instagram, then I realized it wasn’t working for absolutely anybody on the planet.
Did that make me feel better? Yes, it absolutely did. There was no competition. There was no race to be a part of. There was complete peace, a soothing silence. No nagging relatives calling you. No constant notifications from work.
There was a pause. Nobody was in a hurry. Nobody was busy on their phone. It was as if the world had come to a standstill. By this time, I was at ease. I felt comfortable being disconnected. It felt good. I thought to myself, maybe we should disconnect from these apps more often? Everybody needs a break, a digital detox.
5 hours later
As I tossed and turned in bed, I had this urge to check my phone again. I did. No access to Instagram and WhatsApp again. These apps had been down for a really long time now. But it gave me peace to know that there was nothing I had to attend to nor could I waste my time mindlessly scrolling. I felt much calmer than I usually do. I guess that’s the power social media and constant use of electronics has over us. We all need to learn to take a break.
This taught me a very valuable lesson about dividing my time and doing things accordingly. Of setting goals within a specified time frame and that the excessive use of anything is harmful.
My personal takeaway? Learn to take breaks from your electronic devices. Set locks or limit your screen time to a few hours a day, and see the positive changes you feel in your mind and body.