Although social media revolutionarily allows us to stay connected with all our loved ones while we are away from them, staying present during the holiday season has numerous benefits worth acknowledging.
It is incredibly normal to miss the people you are not around during the holidays; especially when you spend the majority of your time on campus. Leaving all your university friends to go home for the holidays can feel like cutting off a large part of your life. However, avoiding electronic usage in moments where you can enjoy the people physically around you can bring you much deeper joy than you imagine.
One motivator for why we go on our phones so much is FOMO, otherwise known as “Fear of Missing Out”. Social media allows us to see what everyone else is doing all the time. This can be very damaging for our self-esteem because we are constantly comparing our lives to others, even though logically we know social media never tells the full story.
Ally Tarantino, a physical education student, shared, “It’s just so easy to stay on social media and see what everyone else is up to. It can also be exciting at times to know what is going on in your friends’ lives. My family definitely appreciates it when I stay off my phone during family time, though.”
Our phone usage is a habit we have built over time. For any habit, you must make a conscious effort to quit it. For the technologically obsessed, the holiday season is the perfect time to start practicing less screen time and be present in the moment.
Keep yourself busy during the holidays will help you use your phone less. Use this as an experimentation time to try new things. When with company, keep your devices to the side and focus on being together. When you’re alone and feel the familiar itch to spend the next seven hours scrolling mindlessly down the feed of other people having fun, consider the ways in which you could make your alone time fun. Consider picking up a crafting hobby or learn to cook your favorite recipes all on your own.
If you are on your phone less, all the anxiety that comes with screen time will diminish. The FOMO phenomenon causes anxiety, especially if people are very concerned with their own accounts and the level of engagement they receive compared to their peers. If you are present in the moment enjoying time with your family and friends, you will not be so worried about how many Instagram likes you are getting.
Another benefit of staying unplugged during the holidays is getting more sleep. The holidays allow us to reset with a schedule different to our normal routine. Taking advantage of this time to truly recover and allow your body to rest will result in various health benefits.
Staying off your phone during the holidays will make reuniting with the people you were away from even more exciting. You will have so much to talk about, considering you weren’t watching each other’s every move on social media while apart. This also allows people’s own experiences to hold more value in the conversation. You can receive your friend’s true feelings about their holiday without it being repetitive because you saw their social media posts about it already. d more value in the conversation. You can receive your friend’s true feelings about their holiday without it being repetitive because you saw their social media posts about it already.
This holiday season, be more present where you are and try to give yourself over to familiar, comforting, new and stimulating experiences. If you dedicate yourself to expanding your horizons and challenge yourself to distance from technology, you may be rewarded with peace of mind and a stronger sense of freedom.