Rozen Lalas, a 31-year-old independent R&B artist, is obsessed with social media.
"I feel so attached to my phone," Lalas tells Health. "If I'm being completely honest, my life exists solely on Instagram. Even while on vacation in paradise, I can't put the phone down. It's like I hop into another world and I exist there."
Lalas wants to end this obsession—that's why she's chosen to participate in Health's 21-day challenge. Her mission: To end her fixation with social media and start living offline. "I really want balance. I want to have a healthy, happy life. I want to be present," she says.
There's a catch, though: Lalas has to spend at least some time online—it's part of her job (in addition to being an R&B artist, she's also a freelance content creator). "I use my work as an excuse," she says. "It's really the gateway to unlocking the phone and then scrolling. The next thing you know, it's been hours, so it just bleeds into everything throughout the day."
Lalas's social media time has also caused some friction in her relationship with her partner, Chris. "It's just kind of like a giant elephant that stays in the room," she says. "Whenever we have a hiccup that's caused by my social media addiction, it makes me feel sad."
To help her through this 21-day challenge, Lalas spoke to Matthais Barker, LMHCA, a psychotherapist based in Washington. Together, they determined that Lalas actually spends 121 days a year just looking at her phone.
Lalas also determined that the driving factor in her social media fixation is how she feels about herself. "I suffer from low self esteem, self doubt trickles in, FOMO, just not feeling good about myself, constantly comparing myself to other peoples success and creating toxic behavior in the safety of my own home," she says. "That's mainly what i go through on a daily basis."
In the video above, watch how Lalas fared during her 21-day social media challenge—which included some daily journaling and setting time limits on her app usage—and how it forced her to find the right balance between being on the phone, being with her family, and being able to live the life she wants. "This whole journey has been really teaching me to appreciate—re-appreciate—the little things," she says. Watch her "eye-opening" journey now.
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