Social media is consistently transforming our lives. It keeps us connected to family and friends, creates community for like-minded people, and helps us share news quicker than reporters can publish a post. But sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming, and a social media detox is the key to regaining focus in our lives.
Within this post, I am going to share with you why YOU need a social media detox and how to successfully unplug for weeks at a time. It is time for you to see life outside of these apps and what happens when you live more present.
Are you ready for a social media detox?
5 Reasons You Need a Social Media Detox
1 // Mental Health
Unfortunately all social media apps are formulated to create an addiction within you. It causes you to feel like you are missing out if you aren’t consistently checking what is (or isn’t) happening with everyone else. This addiction is closely related to gambling due to the effects it has on your mind.
Check out this post by Independent that shows just how bad social media can be for your mental health.
The addiction alone can have a horrible effect on your mental health, but the addiction is not the only thing that can harm your mental health.
Social media can become toxic. It can cause anxiety and depression to increase dramatically in someone. I say this, because it has happened to me. This is one reason I took off an entire month from social media a couple of years back.
When social media is not used to solely connect with people, it can do much more harm than good.
Related Post: Mental Cleanse Challenge
2 // Creative Space
Social media can be the worst for sucking your creative energy. Are you noticing ideas aren’t forming as quickly? What about just not feeling creative at all?
Getting stuck in a non-creative mindset can very much be the result of too much time spent on social media. Taking a step back to stop consuming other people’s creative energy could be just what you need to regain focus on your own.
Just some food for thought: If you are consistently being influenced by those who surround you, how will you determine the originality of your own creative abilities? Will you be able to keep yourself distinguished or will you start to align with those you follow?
3 // To stop the unfair comparison game
Hopefully by now you realize that social media is all about highlight reels. There aren’t many who share their deep, dark struggles online. While I have been known to share about my anxiety and depression, that is not my only struggle. And I honestly am not comfortable sharing more than I already have.
Everyone has their boundaries, because we mostly want to be seen for living by example. We all want to appear like we have it all figured out and just love our lives. There is nothing wrong with wanting to point out the great things in life.
BUT when we start comparing ourselves to other people’s greatness, we often forget they struggle, too. We forget that they are trying to find their way in this world like we are. We forget they are human, too.
When you take a social media detox, you can regain perspective on reality versus the presence of what someone chooses to share. You realize that everyone you follow is just as human as you are.
4 // To stop procrastination
Social media is the BIGGEST time sucker of all! The wonderful feeds that never seem to end, matched with never ending recommendations of who you should follow or topics you should explore, and all the ads that appear and strangely enough match to things you’ve searched or talked with a friend about recently.
If you are like me, you don’t need any help with procrastination. However, social media seems to take the cake at making it so much easier to put things off.
I’m willing to bet that you waste hours on social media a week instead of moving closer to your goals. Could you imagine how much closer you could get to your goals if social media was not helping you procrastinate? I bet you could even accomplish some of your biggest and scariest goals that you’ve set for yourself this year!
5 // To actually be social
So the last reason I am giving you is probably the most confused by the younger generation [Yes, I am talking to anyone born after the mid-90s.] Social media does not allow you to actually be social.
Nope! In order to be social, you have to put your phone down and talk to someone who is in the same room as you. This may mean leaving your home to meet up with a friend, or going to a relative’s house for brunch. Either way, it does not include getting online to see what everyone who is not currently with you is doing.
It honestly saddens me that people think social media is the same thing as being social. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Getting out to have real conversations face to face with people is the only way to be truly social.
Now I won’t deny the fact that social media allows you to virtually connect with people in different location all around the world. BUT it is still NOT THE SAME!
Okay, let me get off of my soapbox, and get to how you are going to successfully unplug.
How to Successfully Unplug from Social Media for ANY Length of Time
It can be hard to fully unplug from social media, but I know you are capable of doing anything you set your mind to doing. Let me walk you through a few quick steps for unplugging, so that you can get started in your social media detox!
1 // Log Out & Uninstall Apps
This one is the most important of all the steps. You not only need to log out of all social media apps and websites, but you also need to uninstall these apps. Removing the temptation of logging back in to check up on things will encourage you to stay off social media for your designated detox time.
Related Post: What Happened when I Removed Several Apps from My Phone
2 // Have Someone Change Your Password
If you need additional support, having someone change your passwords can be very helpful! Figure out which friend or family member is the biggest pain in the neck when it comes to getting them to do something they don’t want to do, because you don’t need them giving in when you ask for them to change it back before your detox is complete.
3 // Install Extensions to Your Browser to Block Websites
Search your Extensions in your browser for add ons that block certain websites. This will be helpful for when your habit of checking social media sites occurs. It will be a quick reminder that you’re on a detox, and help you stay on track.
Bonus Tips for before the Detox Starts
1 // Declutter who you follow, friends, and groups
One thing I encourage you to do is to take some time to see who/what you follow, people you’re friends with, and what groups you are a part of. Clear out the ones you don’t know, don’t want to follow, or be a part of anymore.
This is a major benefit for when you get back onto social media, because it will only include the people, pages, groups, etc that you enjoy seeing.
Speaking to bloggers/influencers specifically: Don’t feel guilty for removing anyone from your circle of influence. It is easy to get sucked into follow for follow threads, follow loops, etc. because you want to support people within your niche. If you don’t feel encouraged or inspired by someone, then how do you expect to genuinely support someone? [Truth: you won’t]
2 // Hide those you cannot unfriend, but don’t want to see within your feed
We all have those family members or friends we cannot actually remove, because so much drama will come as a result of that. Thankfully, you can mute or hide them from your feed, which is AMAZING!
3 // Declutter your messages within each app
If you really want a refreshed feeling as you reenter social media after the detox, going through your messages and clearing out old conversations can be a great way to create that feeling. Just be sure not to delete something you’d like to reference in the future like I accidentally did….
How Long of a Social Media Detox Do You Need to Take?
I honestly believe this one is different for everyone. Sometimes a few days works and other times an entire month is needed.
The most important thing you need to focus on during this detox is gaining perspective on why you have social media in the first place. When you reconnect with why you want to be on different social media platforms, you’re able to establish and keep boundaries for each one.
In addition to gaining perspective, you need to focus on living more present, because most of the time that is the priority for taking a break. You need to see that you can live without social media and how things shift as a result.
Related Post: 15 Smartphone Detox Activities You Need to Try
How to Reintroduce Yourself to Social Media After a Detox
1 // Establish Boundaries
By giving yourself boundaries, you are keeping the priority on living more in the present. It becomes more difficult to get swept back into hours wasted due to endless scrolling.
One boundary I established for myself is to only have social media apps on my phone that aren’t functional on my computer. So Instagram is the only social media app on my phone. Facebook and Twitter are both accessed on my computer.
This cut down the time I spend on my phone dramatically! I also feel there is a purpose for when I get onto Facebook or Twitter. The time I spent scrolling feeds is minimal compared to what it used to be.
2 // Create a Rewards System
When you have really big goals, it may work in your favor to create a rewards system for accessing social media. For example, when you finish your task list for the day you get X amount of time on social media.
If social media is really important to you, this can be a very productive way to access time to it. It also encourages you not to procrastinate on getting things done.
I go back and forth with this one, because at times I have it under control and other times I really want to connect on social media. Being flexible is fine as long as you keep your priorities straight.
3 // Install Time Blocking Apps
There are several apps you can install that limit your time on social media or on your phone in general. This is great if you need help breaking the habit of checking your phone every few minutes. It also brings attention to how conscious you are or aren’t when using social media apps.
The only one I have experience with is the one Apple installed during an update a few months ago. It helps keep you conscious of the time you’re spending on different apps, but it does not completely block the apps once time is up. I wouldn’t recommend it specifically, but it has improved my awareness for scrolling.
4 // Don’t Take Your Phone into the Bedroom
By now you are probably aware of the stimulation blue light has on our minds, so bringing the phone into the bedroom needs to become a no-no. Don’t open yourself up to temptation of a long night spent on social media instead of getting the sleep you need.
Now that you know how to successfully take a social media detox, it is time to unplug and experience life outside of social media. It won’t be easy in the first couple of days, but after that a new world will open up for you. Just wait and see!
If you would like support during your detox, feel free to email me at erin[at]thetannehillhomestead[dot]com. I’d be more than happy to support you as you disconnect!