Social media has become such a significant part of our society. From communicating with others to ordering groceries, your phone apps have the power to manage every aspect of your life. Although social media platforms can help us, if not used correctly, they can hinder us. If you use your cell phone often, pay attention to the important warning signs you need a social media detox.
A few years ago, I took a one year break from social media and it was one of the best things I have ever done in my adult life. I deactivated my Facebook account, deleted my Twitter account, and removed the Instagram app from my phone. During my social media detox, I found new hobbies and made wonderful memories with my children. After my year-long hiatus, I viewed social media and the people who use it in a different way than I had before.
Do things that make you forget to check your phone.
Constantly trying to keep up with what’s trending, what to post, and gaining new followers is mentally exhausting! So many of us obsess over social media to try to validate who we are by getting likes, subscribes, and follows. Social media addiction is a real thing, and many people are hooked and don’t even know it.
You may be addicted to social media if you:
- are often disengaged from real life
- would rather spend time on social media than spend actual time with your friends and family
- get anxiety when you can’t access your social media accounts
- can’t remember the last time you went 24 hours without checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
- freak out when you can’t find your phone
Social media statistics from 2019 show that there are 3.2 billion social media users worldwide. Companies, businesses, and people like you and me all use social media for different reasons. Some use social media platforms to entertain, promote products, or gain expose, while others use the platforms to make new friends and connections. If your primary use of social media is to find people to compare your life to, this is one of the major signs you need a social media detox.
Every time you log into a social media app, pay attention to how you feel while scrolling. How you process what you see can positively or negatively affect your mental health. For example, if you see an Instagram photo of your friend in her brand new car, will you start to feel jealous? When you see pictures of your favorite celebrities taking yacht trips and traveling to other countries, are you tempted to empty your bank account to do the same? Do you experience feelings of sadness or loneliness after watching Facebook proposal videos?
In these instances, negative emotions can come from constantly watching and observing other people’s lives through social media. If not careful, you can start to compare your life to the lives of others, obstructing how you feel about yourself. For that reason, social media addiction has been known to cause anxiety and depression in many people.
Don’t trade your authenticity for social media approval.
To protect yourself against FOMO (fear of missing out) and comparing yourself to others, it is healthy to take a break from social media every now and then. Just like you detox your physical body from waste and toxins, it is important to detox your mind from all the chaos that social media brings. Even if you have a healthy relationship with social media and don’t obsess over it as much as the rest of us do, a rest every now and then is good for your mental health.
10 Signs You Need a Social Media Detox
- Your brain feels foggy.
- You check your social media without thinking about it.
- You feel stressed out or anxious.
- You start to feel pain in your thumbs, wrists, neck, or back.
- You are becoming unproductive.
- You are losing confidence.
- You are having trouble sleeping.
- You feel lonely after scrolling your newsfeed.
- You are thinking of what to post instead of enjoying the moment.
- You feel like you need to buy things, go places, and change your life or surroundings for social media.
If these signs sound familiar, it may be time to take a break from social media. While your social media detox doesn’t have to last forever, it should last at least 24 hours. At the end of the day if you decide you need more time, take as much time as you need. I decided to take a permanent leave from social media for an entire year – and if that is the best thing for you right now – that’s okay, too.
How to Socal Media Detox in 3 Simple Steps
- Let your friends and family know you are disappearing from social media for a while. If you are a heavy social media user, tell the people who follow you that you will be taking a break from social media. By letting others know, they won’t assume the worst when they notice you aren’t posting.
- Sign out of and remove all social media apps from your phone. By removing the social media apps from your phone, you won’t be able to click them out of habit or use them when you are bored.
- Replace the time spent on social media with interesting and new activities. Use your time away from social media as a chance to re-engage with the things you loved before you became addicted to the internet. Talk to your friends in person, try new things, go to new places, and experience life without the need to capture every moment for social media.
I hope this helps!