Social media has become a huge part of our life. Many of us scroll through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter right before sleeping and even after waking up. Our days revolve around social media, just mindlessly consuming all the information thrown our way. What started as a medium of staying connected to loved ones, catch up on current affairs, and discover and explore new things, is now a source of anxiety, dissatisfaction, and loneliness. The objective of this article is to not encourage you to completely discard social media but to help you use it with purpose and intention. Before getting started, ask yourself the question “Is social media negatively impacting your mental wellness?”. If the answer is yes, then it is time for a social media detox!
What is a Social Media Detox?
Social Media Detox refers to a period of time when a person voluntarily refrains from using social media and uses the extra time on grounding themselves. Ideally, one eliminates social media consumption that is deleting all applications, accounts, etc. However, one can always mindfully learn to use social media and limit screen time.
Why should you take a social media detox?
If you unconsciously reach for your phone all the time and spend hours on social media, it’s time to take a break and regain focus. If you feel grumpy and sad, every time your friends post stories of their ‘happening’ life, it might be a sign to detox. Whatever the reason may be, it’s never a bad time to take a break from the virtual world and indulge in some self-care.
1. To declutter your mind
A detox is simply a process of removing toxins from your body. Similarly, a social media detox helps remove toxins from your mind and clears mental space. With the presence of hundreds of influencers on your feed and their pretty posts, your brain is just collecting junk and most of it is doing nothing other than disturb your balance. No matter how many hours, days, weeks, or even months you spend away from social media, it is always going to be beneficial for your mental health.
2. To take back control of your reality
Spending too much time on social media can adversely affect your perception of reality. Most social media users end up comparing themselves to the lives of the people they follow. It results in lower self-esteem and a constant feeling of being inferior and not being able to match up to some influencer. The grass always seems greener on the other side but it certainly is not.
3. To overcome the main cause of depression and loneliness
The use of social media is one of the main causes of depression and loneliness. The unrealistic expectations from one’s own life begin from social media. They can be in terms of physical appearance, personality traits, productivity, money, and many more. How many times have you felt lonely after seeing a dozen photos of your friends partying or having the time of their life? Even if you’re just having a bad day, social media can only make it worse.
Benefits of Social Media Detox
1. More Free Time
After deleting your social media apps it is normal to find yourself bored. You will probably even realise the amount of extra time you have to focus on yourself. Devote this time to improving your life. Exercise, read, clean your house, paint or find a new hobby. You will also start feeling less stressed once your life is in order.
2. Reduced Anxiety
This point cannot be emphasised enough. A social media detox will lower your anxiety significantly. You will no longer feel you have to keep up with everyone else and just have enough time to find yourself. And before you know it you would have conquered your fear of missing out!
3. Better socialising habits
If social media was your only medium of socialising, then you’re doing it wrong. When was the last time you had a face-to-face connection with someone? If you want to catch up with your long-distance friends and family, give them a call every week. You will find yourself building a stronger bond by personally sharing your moments rather than them seeing it on your Instagram stories.
If you may want to try practising public speaking when in solitude, or for the times when you will be actually going out to socialise, you can try some of these public speaking tips and beat your stage fright!
4. More appreciation of special moments
Social media detox is the way of living in the moment. Put your phone down, be fully present and cherish every moment. Living digitally can make your experiences less memorable and less enjoyable.
How to Social Media Detox?
1. Tell people or do it with a friend
By telling people you’re going on a detox, you will feel accountable or challenged to do it. In other words, you’ll stick to the commitment you announced. Also, by telling people you interact with regularly you will not be tempted to check your socials wondering in case anyone has texted you. You could always do it with a friend. This way you can motivate and inspire each other.
2. Delete your social media apps
The next step is to delete your social media apps. If this seems impossible, start by limiting your time on the apps. If you spend 2 hours every day on social media, try to use it for 1 hour then reduce it to 30 minutes, and so on. Another suggestion to help limit your time on social media is deleting the applications from your phone and only accessing them only from your laptop browser. Since it won’t be easily accessible anymore, you’re less likely to use it.
3. Plan your free time
Before you completely cut off from the digital world, I suggest planning your free time. For instance, if you’re going on a detox for 2 weeks, take up a 2 weeks self-care challenge. So whenever you’re tempted to reach out to your phone and click install, do the tasks instead. Make a list of things that you would love to do if you had time and do it during your detox. Read, spend time with your close ones, learn something new, work on a part-time job, exercise, write, take a course like digital marketing, travel. You could also take up international internships where work meets travel.
4. Understand your feelings and repeat once in a while
Post your detox analyse what you missed and what was good riddance. Clean your social media. Unfollow people who don’t make you feel good about yourself and follow accounts that inspire you. Instead of killing time on social media, start embracing it. Once you start feeling overwhelmed, take another detox break!
Social media has become an integral part of our lives, now more than ever. It has its own pros and cons. The trick is to use it wisely and rationally. It could lead to serious problems such as depression, alienation, addiction, and sleep disorders. A social media detox can help improve your overall mood, help reconnect with the real world and move on from the past.
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Blog by Priyanka from PAX