Contributed by Roque Pospos
Roque Pospos is a digital content specialist for Flexisource IT, a team of Agile experts and certified professionals committed to improving traditional outsourcing practices based in Melbourne, Australia.
In today’s digital era, social media is seen as a necessity in our lives. Every day, people use social media to communicate, promote, or announce the news. A lot of features of social media, like Facebook ads, come with several benefits for businesses. As such, it’s deniable all the perks of using social media.
However, the sad reality of social media is that society heavily relies on it. Many are addicted to social media, even when we should not like it while driving, walking, or even going out with friends. It’s eating all the quality time that we could be having with our loved ones.
You may think that this case does not apply to you. But if you consider how many times you check your phone, you’ll realize that you have a social media addiction. To help you with that, this article will help you with your social media detox and discuss the benefits of social media cleanse.
What Is a Social Media Detox?
A social media detox is basically taking a break from using social media. Depending on how long you want, it could be for a day, a week, or a month. It could also include just turning off your phone, removing apps, or deleting your accounts.
Social media is an enormous part of modern society, and we can’t deny the benefits it provides to us. It’s an excellent way to connect with people, especially with the pandemic and quarantine implemented. However, social media can slide many issues like anxiety, low self-esteem, and even depression.
Balancing your social media use can avoid these issues without giving up social media. According to a social media detox research published by the social and clinic psychology journal, reducing your social media intake to 30 minutes per day can significantly improve your well-being.
Similarly, it’s important to take note that these improvements cannot just happen overnight. Based on the same study, it takes a minimum of three weeks to notice any benefits of social media cleanse. So before going cold turkey, try setting boundaries first. You do not need to eradicate the entire social media from yourself. You can just take a break here and there.
Signs You Need to Do a Social Media Detox
A lot of people are aware of what damages overusing social media can bring. However, the trouble is most cannot detect the signs when they need to take a break. Many users cannot see past the filters and happy memes in social media that they don’t know how it negatively affects them. So, here are some signs that means you need to take a break from social media:
1. You can’t stop comparing.
Most people on social media want to show their achievements. Most social media profiles highlight the best of people’s lives. However, this should not make you feel insecure about your own life. So, if you are having a hard time comparing yourself or remembering that no life is perfect, then maybe you need to take a social media detox.
2. You freak out if you can’t check your account.
Have you ever experienced a time when you could not access your account due to connection issues? And during this, do you feel nervous and anxious? Do you have an itch to check your Instagram or scroll through Tiktok? That’s it, you need to take a break.
3. You can’t stop scrolling.
Checking your account here and there cannot harm you. But if you are one of those few individuals who scroll through Facebook, Twitter, or Tiktok for hours, then you might want to check your social media habits.
4. Scrolling through social media has become your habit.
Social media is an excellent way to pass your time. However, suppose you end on social media every time you take a break without realizing it. In that case, this is an indicator you are too dependent on social media.
5. You can’t enjoy life without posting it first.
Whenever you go out with your friends or attend an important event, do you always have to take a picture first to inform everyone on Facebook? Then, you spend the whole time checking how many likes you got?
6. You check social media first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Based on a study conducted by IDC research report, 80% of smartphone users check their devices within 15 minutes of waking up and 30 minutes before sleeping. Likewise, research showed that users who use mobile devices before bedtime suffers more from insomnia. It is said that the blue light emissions from the devices are linked to causing sleeping problems. So, if you do this, you might want to minimize your social media use.
7. Social media is no longer a fun platform.
Suppose you’ve noticed that you are more annoyed or irritated when checking social media. In that case, it’s probably time for you to take a break. Social media platforms are intended to be a fun way to share news and connect with people.
Yet, it has become one of the most used platforms to share politics, world news, and other upsetting topics. These topics could cause you more stress than bring joy. So, if you don’t enjoy looking at your social media, then perhaps it’s worth starting your social media detox.
How to Start Your Social Media Detox
If you fit the criteria, then perhaps, you need to start your social media detox. There are a lot of ways that you can create your social media cleanse journey. You can either change your background to a social media detox quote or simply delete your apps or account.
To give you an idea, here are some ways to start your social media detox.
1. Give your phone a bedtime and balance your screen time
As mentioned earlier, late-night mobile or computer activities can affect your sleeping habits due to the blue light it emits. In addition, it can take up a lot of your time that could have been spent better, like relaxing with your family and friends or finishing a home project.
Giving your phone use a schedule is a great way to keep social media away from you. It could be a few hours of rest before going to bed or after waking up. Most phones today include digital well-being, or social media cleanse apps where you can take social media cleanse challenges.
These social media cleanse apps have several features like setting a timer for your apps or automatic bedtime mode. You can even turn on the do not disturb setting, which minimizes notification that you receive. It can lessen tempting you from checking your phone.
This method can help you stay more present and catch up with all pending tasks or perhaps get that much-needed rest.
2. Use your mobile device for reasons other than social media.
Social media detox is generally great for the mind, body, and soul. However, technology runs most of our lives now. We use technology for things other than entertainment, such as work, businesses, or even doing groceries.
Using your phone in means other than social media can help you find your balance. Try using your phone as a way to read an ebook or play video games with your friends. You can even listen to podcasts and relax while learning something new.
3. Start a new morning habit.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of us check social media 15 minutes after waking up. To avoid this, try creating a new morning routine. You can start by using an actual alarm clock instead of your phone. This could help prevent you from reaching your phone and start scrolling through social media.
Then, adopt a new morning ritual that doesn’t include your phone. It could be cooking breakfast, taking a shower, or going for a jog. You can also try meditation after waking up. Meditation helps people manage their stress and sleep better.
4. Delete your social media apps.
Social media detox doesn’t necessarily mean going cold turkey and removing social media in one go. You can delete apps anytime you need to take a break and redownload it when you are ready. By deleting apps, you are cutting down any temptation of opening your accounts.
This method is an excellent way if you are only taking a small break rather than leaving social media entirely. It’s perfect for those who cannot delete their social media due to work or a business.
5. Spend more time observing the world around you.
Many people who suffer from social media addiction often forget the joys that the surrounding can give us. We are sucked into a world of lies with pretty filters. As such, you can try enjoying outdoor activities instead of spending time indoors and using your phone. Go for a hike, sit in a local park, or go to a beach. Enjoy and observe everything you see. You will find yourself appreciating the world’s beauty.
Benefits of Taking a Social Media Cleanse
By limiting your social media intake, you may find yourself with renewed energy and a clearer mind. You can find a new perspective on life without stress or any distorted perception. In addition, social media cleanse also comes with a lot of benefits such as:
1. Reduce feelings of anxiety.
As mentioned earlier, social media is an avenue where most users share their latest achievements. And sometimes, this can create an accidental competition among peers or friends. There is also a race to see who has the most likes, views, comments, and shares on any social media. A lot of people consider these metrics to define themselves. If they get a lot of likes, they are pretty. If there are no likes, no one likes them.
This situation can often lead people to constantly post, check, and worry if their posts are good enough or not. It can ultimately lead to anxiety and depression. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine sampled 1,787 participants, ages 19 to 32, to determine the relation of social media use to depression. And in their study, they found out that a quarter of the participants have high indicators of depression.
As such, stepping away from social media can help reduce anxiety and depression. Great benefits of social media cleanse.
2. Enjoy better sleep.
One benefit of social media cleanse is that it can help you get a better quality of sleep. As mentioned earlier, many people on social media suffer from insomnia. One research found that the more time adults spend on screen-based activities they have trouble sleeping during the night.
As such, you can try not to use your phone 30 minutes before sleeping. Instead, make reading a book a habit before bedtime.
3. Increase productivity.
Social media takes up too much of our time. According to the Global Web Index (GWI), an average digital consumer spends more than 2 hours and 15 minutes per day on a social network.
So, one great benefit of social media cleanse is that it frees up your time. You can devote this time to something more essential and beneficial for you, like doing chores or finally doing that pet project. Perhaps reading a book or starting a blog.
Likewise, social media detox can also help you prioritize work and decrease the likelihood of being off track with your task. You can also use the time you earn from staying away from social media by researching effective ways to motivate team members or be efficient at work.
4. Reprioritized personal forms of interaction.
We all know that social media has changed the way we communicate with our loved ones. Today, we can immediately contact them, anytime, anywhere. You might have messaged them recently. But if you think about it, when was the last time you’ve interacted with your family and friends in real life?
Another great benefit of social media cleanse is that it lets you reprioritize personal interaction without even noticing it. We all know that people like to share everything about their life. And we might find it convenient to just visit their profile to update ourselves on what’s happening with them. However, catching up in real life while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea is better.
Meeting your friends and family in real life might not sound realistic due to the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean you can only communicate through their social media accounts. You can always try to video call them. Try watching a movie or eating lunch together. Not only will you learn about your loved one’s life without bias, but this will also allow you to strengthen your bond with them.
5. Live the moment.
Some people try to document everything in their life to post it on their social media account. As much as this sounds fun, recording every moment of your life is exhausting. It’s time-consuming, especially if you are looking for the perfect shot, caption, and hashtags. It takes you out of living and enjoying the moment.
So instead, put your phone down and be fully present in each moment. Enjoy your experiences and make them more memorable.
6. Curb your FOMO.
We all have probably experienced FOMO or fear of missing out. Imagine one day, you are just scrolling through Facebook, and you see many pictures of your high schoolmates smiling and having lunch together.
FOMO is a natural phenomenon and could cause significant stress to people. The term FOMO was first coined by Dr. Dan Herman in 1996. It includes a profound sense of envy and could affect your relationship with other people. However, FOMO has become more obvious only during the advent of social media.
Likewise, one top benefit of social media cleanse is that it could help you avoid FOMO. Removing social media can help you curb FOMO by removing factors from social media that are not important to us.
7. Protect your privacy.
We know that social media is the most convenient way to share photos, updates, and successes. But take note that using social media also requires you to give up a part of your privacy. According to the Breach Level Index, in 2018, social media data breaches accounted for 56% of data breaches.
Thus, it’s essential to keep track of information to provide in your social media accounts. Or better yet, you can take social media detox as a chance to delete your accounts, apps and equip yourself with the best possible privacy.
8. Experience better mornings.
As mentioned earlier, most people check their phone first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. One benefit of social media cleanse is that it prevents you from sleeping late at night from all the alerts and notifications to investigate. This lets you have all the rest you need.
Likewise, it also saves you from using your social media in the mornings and focusing on better things like going for a run, drinking your coffee in peace, or listening to important news. So instead of reading your social media feed, try reading a book or a newspaper. You can also try meditation when you wake up to prepare yourself for the day.
For some people, social media is a big part of our lives, whether for work, business, or personal lives. And unplugging from these platforms can heavily affect us. It could harm the success of our business’s social media strategy or leave us feeling disconnected.
But despite that, social media can be detrimental to us. As such, social media detox can really help us physically and mentally. Consider doing a cleanse and spend your time better.
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