A social media detox means when an individual voluntarily decides to take a break from social media platforms. This form of detox has started to become quite popular as people are starting to spend a lot more time on digital devices and on the net. And we don’t blame them.
We all want to feel special, we like feeling as if we are accepted. We want to feel loved by the people around us. But the continuous use of social media increases these desires of ours and we don’t even realize it. This goes up to a point where it becomes unhealthy. We criticize ourselves for not having enough followers or likes. We constantly think we are not enough and essentially live with the feeling of being enough. Honestly, we all deserve a break sometimes. Here are just some of the many reasons why a social media detox is very important for us:
We all feel a little competitive sometimes, and social media brings out a lot of the competitiveness in you. We like to acquire as many likes, comments, and followers. Each like, comment or follower is a representation of how ‘popular’ you are. Each post that we make is an attempt to outdo the others. The process of posting and checking can cause a great deal of anxiety too. Taking some time off social media can help us break away from this.
Get rid of your FOMO:
The fear of missing out is common. We are afraid to put our devices away because we like to stay updated on everything that goes on around us. Those who are addicted to social media can potentially destroy their personal and professional relationships with others. Chances are if something has happened that needs your immediate attention, people will directly contact you. You can cut this out of your life by limiting yourself to opening your favorite app one or two times a day.
You will stop comparing yourself to other people:
Going on Instagram or Facebook is almost like entering people’s lives through a window. We know everything they are doing. How rich or well off they are, when they got married, when they are having children, when they won their awards etc. It is human nature to become jealous over something that others have that we don’t. We also compare ourselves to other people, while criticizing ourselves. Doing this leads to severe depression in some people. It is a good idea to break away from this for a while by cutting yourself off social networks because our mental health is very important.
You will have a ton of free time to focus on the things that actually matter:
We constantly complain about not having enough time to do things like reading books or cleaning the house. Pausing your social media shenanigans for a few hours would help you do everything that you wish to achieve in a day. You could have enough time to do things that you never thought you would, like going on a walk, exercising, painting and more. Putting your phone away can also help you find what you are passionate about because usually, your phone creates a barrier between you and your passion.
How to correctly cut yourself off social media:
Yes, there is a right method and a wrong method of doing it. There are a few steps you should follow to detox correctly and prevent withdrawal symptoms.
- Delete the social media apps from your phone: With social media, you usually have an account, so deleting it is only temporary. You can reinstall it later, so don’t worry. Once you can completely quit it for a while, limiting yourself after reinstalling it will not seem so daunting anymore.
- Put your phone away at bedtime: Treat your phone like your friend, if you need a bedtime then so does your phone. Ideally, you want to keep it far away from you when you sleep to prevent radiation affecting your brain while you sleep. If you charge your phone overnight, station it far away from you. Enough so that when you reach your arm out, you shouldn’t find it.
- Get a real alarm clock: By doing this you can ensure that the first thing you do in the morning will NOT be scrolling through Instagram and checking your snaps. You will have a real, better start to the morning.
- Do it with a friend: This way, you can keep each other motivated, and you can plan on how you will go through with it.
- Chrome Extensions: You can do this on your laptop if you get too tempted to open up Facebook while you should be doing work. It will prevent you from opening social media on your laptop. Here is a link where you can access this extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/stayfocusd/laankejkbhbdhmipfmgcngdelahlfoji
Here is my experience with a 15-days social media detox:
I tried a social media detox for 15 days earlier this year. Initially, I was getting very restless without being able to open Instagram or Snapchat. The first week was incredibly tough.
When I went out with my friends, I would see them Snapchatting and Instagramming things and it made it difficult to resist reinstalling the apps on my phone again. What I also noticed was that while at a social gathering, most people spend an average of 20% of their total time on social media. With the presence of other people. It was mind-blowing to watch my friends being on their phone instead of connecting with the real world, if only they could look up from their devices.
By the second week, the urge to redownload the apps had passed, and while doing work, I did not feel the need to take frequent breaks. During the last few days of the detox, I started considering taking it from a 15-days detox to a 30-days detox. I realized that I actually did not need my phone as much as I thought.
Going into it, my prediction was that I would last a minimum of 5 days. But I made it through to the entire 15 days.
If this is something you would like to try, just remember that it is worth it. Deleting your apps is only temporary. After reinstalling it, you will find that you are able to have full control over how much time you spend on social media.