How-To and Why You Should Detox from Social Media
Social media is a great tool – both for professional and personal use. It allows us to do so many cool things from connecting to people around the world, keeping up with news, and so much more. However, there’s also a lot of negativity that comes with these platforms as well. Not to mention, it’s not great that we are staring into a screen a good portion of our day. A detox from social media, whether long or short, is something that we all need from time to time.
If you think about your day from morning to night, social media really has taken over in many aspects. I mean, as soon as I wake up, I grab my phone and see what notifications I have from Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Most nights, I even fall asleep browsing different social media platforms. As a society, we spend A LOT of our time on social media.
Do you remember the last time you went an entire day without checking these apps? Probably not, and I don’t either – so no judgment here.
Why Should You Take a Detox from Social Media?
There are many different reasons why it could be a good idea to take a break from social media. The first being that there are several physical and health benefits in doing so.
We’ve likely formed many habits without even precisely recognizing what we are doing. Cycles and patterns you may have developed over the years due to social media’s growth could be broken after a short break. For example, we can break the habit of checking our Instagrams as soon as we wake up or the habit of falling asleep to scrolling through Facebook and Reddit. Instead of spending time on these activities, we may pick up a book and fall asleep reading.
Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and started comparing every aspect of your life to the lives you those you are scrolling past? We all have. Whether it’s someone else’s body or their hair, or the fact that half of your feed is getting married or having babies. We are continually viewing other people’s lives through small peepholes and ultimately comparing our lives to their timelines. It’s easy to forget that people only share on social media what they want others to see. No one has a perfect life – despite what their social media accounts may suggest. Comparing your life to those feeds isn’t fair to yourself – or healthy.
If you need a breath of fresh air from it all, a social media detox can be a gift to yourself. You’ll be able to live your life on your own schedule and with your own thoughts – not the ones other people want you to see.
Think of it as a little bit of self-care.
Benefits of a Social Media Break
Believe it or not, there are quite a lot of benefits from taking a break from your social media. Think of the amount of time you spend on these platforms and your phone in general. Did you know that you can now see your “screen time” and which apps take up the most of that time? Yeah, it’s kind of mind-blowing to see that you’ve spent three hours today on Instagram. It adds up.
Taking a break from social media also provides you with more opportunities to be productive in other areas of your life. You’ll not only spend less time reading about other people’s lives on social media apps, but you’ll be bettering yours in “real life.” Think of all the things you could get done or hobbies you could start in those three hours each day.
Giving yourself a social media detox will also allow you to be more mindful of your daily life and what’s happening around you. You’ll be able to get up and do things. No more sitting on your couch, endlessly scrolling. Plus, you’ll be more present in the moment and not accidentally ignoring the conversation happening right in front of you.
And If you are suffering from anxiety and/or depression, social media could be a contributing factor as well. Studies have shown that social media is a direct link to several types of depression and even loneliness. Taking a short break, whether its a few days or a full 30 days, could be beneficial to your overall mental health and lifestyle.
How to Detox from Social Media
So how do we detox from social media? It’s simple, set a goal for yourself and follow it. Of course, if you set your goal at one week of detox and decide you need more time away, it’s always okay to increase your goal. The hard part of the detox is sticking with it, and it may seem nearly impossible – but you can do it.
After you set your goal, the next step that can is either deactivating your social media accounts entirely or just deleting the apps. That part is up to you. If you think just uninstalling the app will be okay, that’s perfectly fine too. You won’t get the notifications regularly, and with each passing day, you’ll miss social media less and less.
With this new time that you’ve freed up, what happens if you’re bored and want to get back on social media? To make sure your mind doesn’t creep back into the land of the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), you may want to find other activities to replace the time. You should consider the different hobbies you could try. And you could pick anything: reading, exercising, cooking, learning something new, the list is endless!
It takes about 21 days to break a habit fully. So, if you really want to change your ways, a 3-week break is ideal. Of course, a month, a week, or a few days can also be beneficial.
What Comes Next?
After your social media detox, you’ll download your apps again, and things may go right back to how they were before. If you want to change this, you can. You could always limit yourself to an hour per day of social media usage or whatever time you feel comfortable with. You could even choose days of the week where you use social media and days where you don’t. Also, stick to those hobbies you started – give those new activities the priority over social! A lot of your free time can be taken up with these new habits.
And remember, social media is not something that has to have a negative implication attached to it. Social media platforms do a lot of good, as well. They can also be used positively and help spread awareness, information, and news! You just have to find the positivity in these platforms and try to stick with it. Easier said than done, we know. But we hope this article helps you if you feel like you need a social media break.
Alyson Pittman is a contributing writer for WBD and a JR marketing associate for Excite Creative Studios, an Atlanta-based creative agency.
Alyson graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelors of Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. She was in multiple organizations at KSU where she held leadership positions. As a part of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, Alyson held the Social Coordinator position and planned/promoted large events.