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How many social media hangovers are you going to have before you consider yourself addicted?

Heather Pulier
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Social media addiction, like all addictions, is sneaky, powerful, and too often unconscious. Do you know what I mean? We go to check in, and one swipe leads to another, and hours later, blurry-eyed, anxious, and tired, we awake from a daze. Social media is a towering presence in our modern tapestry of digital connections. However, beneath its engaging facade lurks a question we often avoid: Are you, without realizing it, falling into the abyss of addiction? It's a question that echoes in the silent moments we allow ourselves before we are back at it.

Only you can decide if your social use is hurting your life. Here is a list of questions to consider. Take it seriously because your time is a valuable and limited resource. You can not get a refund on the hours and hours TikTok, Instagram, and all the others cost you.

Time Usage: How many hours are lost in the endless scroll? Each minute spent in the virtual world is taken from the physical one, a trade-off that often goes unnoticed. It's like watching the sand slip through an hourglass, each grain a second of real life passing by.

Morning Routine: For many, the day begins not with a moment of peace or a glance out the window but with a dive into the digital ocean. It's the first sip of coffee for the mind, a habit that may seem benign but begs the question - what are we genuinely waking up to? Does this habit set your day up for success?

Mood Dependency: Like marionettes, our emotions dance to the tune of online interactions. A 'like,' a comment, or a share has become the new currency of validation, holding sway over our sense of self-worth. But at what cost does this come?

Neglecting Real Life: We often miss life's tangible joys in chasing digital ghosts. Family dinners, outdoor adventures, and reading all fade into the background. It's the sacrifice we make at the altar of online engagement.

Constant Checking: The pull of social media is relentless. It's a dog whistle, a craving, leading us back time and again. This continuous checking becomes a reflex, an itch always needing to be scratched. It can be a perfect escape from our feelings in life regardless of where we are or what we're doing.

Sleep Impact: Sleep is critical. Too many nights are stolen by the glow of screens, with restful sleep sacrificed for just a few more minutes online. In this trade, the currency is our health and well-being, and the cost is far greater than we might realize.

Anxiety Without It: There's an unsettling anxiety that bubbles up when we're cut off from our digital world. It's a modern kind of withdrawal, a yearning for a connection that is, paradoxically, both superficial and deeply ingrained in our psyche.

Relationships: How many connections have withered in the shadow of social media? Conversations are lost to the distraction of a buzzing phone, and intimacy is eroded by the invisible wedge of an online world.

Work Distraction: The unseen competitor for our attention is always present in workplaces and classrooms. It's the tab open on our browser, the phone hidden under the desk, each glance a subtle theft from our productivity and focus.

Life Balance: Most poignantly, the equilibrium of life tilts. We live more in a virtual realm than reality, crafting an online persona while neglecting the essence of our authentic lives.

Physical Health: And then there's the silent toll on our physical health, a chapter often left unread in the story of social media's impact. Hours spent motionless, eyes locked on a screen, the body's quiet protest goes unnoticed. Our posture bends, our eyes strain, and the lack of movement becomes normal. It's a slow erosion, a gradual fading of physical well-being, often overshadowed by the immediate gratification of digital engagement. This sedentary lifestyle, a byproduct of our online habits, whispers and sometimes shouts of future ailments - a message we choose to ignore as we scroll, click, and swipe. It's a stark reminder that in feeding our digital appetite, we may be starving our physical selves, neglecting the very home (our bodies) that carries us through life.  

God only knows how many opportunities we, you, have missed. As we stand on the edge of the digital abyss, made more compelling by Chat Gbt, it's crucial to step back and ask: Is this the life I choose, or have I sleepwalked into it? The answers may not be comfortable, but in asking the questions, you begin the journey back to balance, to a life where social media is a tool, not a tether.