When life gets overwhelming or you are overscheduled, one great way to take a step back is to do a social media fast, especially if you have a smartphone addiction. Taking a break from social media has amazing mental health benefits, and it helps your productivity too! Keep reading for tips to help you do a social media detox.
Social Media Detox Benefits
There’s no denying that social media is great. It helps us keep in touch with faraway friends and relatives (which is a must-have for us military families). With 15% of TikTok users utilizing the app to stay connected with loved ones, it has shown to be an effective tool for overcoming distances. Social media keeps us linked and offers support even when we are separated, whether it be by sharing amusing videos or by chronicling daily occurrences. It completely transforms how people communicate while deployed, providing a lifeline of virtual encounters that bolster familial ties.
But social media isn’t always a positive place to be. Have you ever wondered how social media affects your mental health?
Social media is a place for showcasing. It is a place for boasting and shouting our opinions for all to read. Some people use it to air their dirty laundry. Many use it for political arguments.
Some people are brutally honest about showing their lives exactly as they are – sharing both good and bad (and evil). Others only show their best side – like all of us influencers who have the one picture-perfect spot we always showcase in our Instagram photos, in our otherwise hot mess of a house.
Social media causes us to play the comparison game – why is so-and-so doing this, and why can’t I do it too? It gives us mom guilt when we feel we don’t measure up to our peers.
Social media addiction keeps us from being in the moment with our family or ourselves. It keeps us distracted and irritable.
What happens when you take a social media break?
Being on social media less, gives us more of this:
- Living in the moment and practicing mindfulness
- Focus on gratitude and find joy
- Reduces comparison and lets us be more confident in our lives
- Allows us to get out and be healthier
- Face to face connections with those around us
- Reconnect with and find yourself
- Boost your mood
- Relax more and get better rest
- Increased productivity and focus on goals
- Make your own choices without seeking validation
- Increased creativity (found this study)
Will taking a break from social media help my mental health? Definitely! There’s a Healthline article that shows a study that even just one week off social media can help you feel better overall. WebMD shows how this break can reduce anxiety and depression.
How to know you need a break from social media
Sometimes we don’t even realize how much time we are spending on our phones. Sometimes we don’t even know we have a social media addiction. Here are some signs that you need a break from social media or digital detox in general.
You need a social media detox if you:
Is it good to take a social media break? Here are signs you need a social media break:
- Are losing time or are unsure how so much time has passed while you’re on your phone
- Can’t go most of a day without being on social media
- Check social media when you first wake up and before you go to sleep
- Feel tired or irritated after scrolling your feed
- Feel left out or bad about your life after reading about other people’s lives
- Don’t notice what’s going on around you or miss out on family events because you’re scrolling
- Are missing moments because you’re too busy posting about them
- Are constantly checking the number of likes or comments you get on a post, seeking validation from others
Did you know that some of these can be attributed to too much social media use?
- Losing sight of your goals/being unproductive/trouble staying focused
- Lower self-confidence
- Being tired/trouble sleeping
- Weight gain (metabolism changes)
- Getting sick a lot/Headaches/eye strain
- Feeling lonely
Sure, social media is great in moderation, but overuse has some significant negative side-effects. So take a social media break mental health vacation! Here’s more reasons to do a digital declutter (check the infographic).
How to stay off social media
Here are things you can do to help your social media break and to stay off social media:
If you’re doing a social media break challenge, these will help.
- Turn off notifications (on your phone, smartwatch, desktop)
- Remove the app from your most-used device
- Or log out of the app if deleting the app is scary
- Hide/group the apps in a folder on your device and keep them off the home screen
- Unfollow or mute people who rile you up or post threads that suck you in
- Leave groups you are not benefiting from
- Turn off wi-fi or turn off your phone for periods of time
A change of scenery helps a lot. Go outside, find joy in nature and your surroundings. Go to mom group events or find a book club.
If you can’t stop or scale back, pick a social media time window. Set a scheduled time you can log in, and track your time (there are many device tracking apps to help set limits). Then, be sure to log off when the timer says your time is up.
A social media detox is so important, especially for those of us who work full time on a computer or device as it is. Between my career and this blog, I spend way too many hours on the computer. Taking a break from social media is a must to maintain my health and sanity. Make it one of your resolutions!
How long should a break from social media be?
You can start off with a social media break as short as 24 hours, just to decompress. Some people take weekends off and completely unplug to spend with their family.
You can do a 7-day social media detox challenge and see how that feels. I’ve seen quite a few 21 day social media detox ideas around the internet. Some people even go as far as a 30 day social media detox. You can decide what fits best with your schedule and how to best manage your social media addiction.
How do you tell someone you’re taking a break from social media?
Sharing an announcement that you’re taking some time off and unplugging is important if social media is part of your job. You can post an image notifying of you taking a break from social media and include a timeline. You can explain more in the caption.
But really, you can just disappear for a while if you wanted to and come back when you’re ready. The people who care about you and are closer to you can reach out by email and/or text.
Are you doing a social media or digital detox? Share some tips with us in the comments.
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