Social Media Detox – How to take take one (+ Why you should)

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social media detox

I can’t believe we are in the time of “Social Media Detox

Honestly, a lot of us cannot live without the gadgets. When I am not on my phone, I am working on the laptop. If not that, it is the TV.

I am living in India, and according to a study, nearly 50 percent of adults reported they “couldn’t live without” their phones.

WOW. That is a huge number!

You tell me – How often do you reach out for your phone first thing in the morning to check Facebook? Email? Twitter? Any other social media or just about anything?

**** Don’t cheat, tell yourself the truth ****

Do you go on a vacation and see yourself clicking a lot of pictures and posting them on Instagram (while you are on a vacay!).

Do you cook something new and even before relishing it, you post in on Facebook story or Instagram?

Have you recently joined Yoga classes and already started putting pictures of your workout while you are in the class (or right after it?!)

Well, if you relate to even one of it, you NEED a social media detox.

If you take a deep breath and think clearly for a moment – you spend a h*ll lot of time on social media doing things that aren’t even that important!

Well, you spend a lot of time knowing about people that don’t matter. People you know BUT never talk to!

They are as good as stranger…

Come on! Enjoy your life, vacation, admire the beauty – not click pictures and make videos to upload!

The sheer amount of mental energy that we spend on social media is horrifying. We could do so much more, and so much better!

In fact, I would not mind saying social media is controlling us (it should be the other way!)

It influences everything – from elections to public discourse to how you feel about yourself (and your life).

BUT SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT REAL LIFE. IT IS NOT COMPLETE PICTURE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING

If you are reading this today, I am SO happy. You are one of the few who has realised this and are conscious about their time on social media.

Two of my college friends just decided to delete Facebook off their lives, and that’s wonderful.

Well, I cannot. I use social media for work and that’s about it. I have literally stopped myself for using it personally and I am incorporating social media detox into life.

and, its been amazing!

Okay..

For starters, you do not need to go cold turkey with social media. All you need is a social media detox, especially if you are experiencing anxiety and stress

In this post, we will talk about

  • What is social media detox
  • How to do a social media detox
  • Why you should do a social media detox
  • Tips for social media detox.

Let’s start with

What is a social media detox?

A social media detox is simply eliminating the use of social media for a few days or hours (a set period of time!).

While most people do a social media detox for 30 days or more, you can start with a 7 day social media detox if you like.

Start with something you are comfortable with and would not drive you crazy.

Remember, social media detox is equal to eliminating social media from life. You do not check any social media platform AT ALL.

Nada. Zilch times.

Delete the apps from your phone and if that does not stop you, it is time to disable your accounts for a while!

social media detox

Why take a social media detox

If you are here, you probably know the answer to why take a social media detox and you should go ahead with it.

People do a social media detox for all sorts of things –

  • If your mind is always preoccupied with social media
  • Reaching out for your phone all the time
  • Responding to messages or waiting for it
  • Closing down on social media app only to open another one etc.

If you do any of that (or anything similar to that), it is time to take a social media detox.

Let’s look at a few reasons for social media detoxifying –

Declutter your mind

When you are using social media incessantly, your mind is occupied with it.

You are always thinking about it and want to reach out to check for notifications.

If not that, we are always thinking about what others are doing. Whether it is a social media influencer we follow or our friends who post about their lives and their amazing vacations, outings, outfits, achievements etc. – Anything!

All this put together puts a lot of people in mental stress unconsciously!

It is happening to many and they do not know about it.

Just like we need to declutter our homes, we need to declutter our minds too!

A social media detox helps you clear your mind, be mindful and focus on things that are important.

It helps you take a step back and evaluate what is really important in your life.

Take back control of your mind

Social Media apps are made to control your mind.

With years of research and behavior scientists and psychologists working with them, they have created a platform that can engage you and trick your mind into staying longer.

Read about 10 creepy things social media is doing to control your mind.

You stay on the platform hoping to get something new.

You come back and check notification wanting to have something to engage with.

If you are bored, you go to these platforms looking for something stimulating…

You get addicted to it – the feed loops, notifications, likes gives you an adrenaline rush

and, this is what social media companies intended.

Oh yes, it is intentional!

They want you to spend more and more time on their platforms so they can serve you ads and make money. That’s how they profit from everyone who is social media obsessed

Facebook earns millions of dollars each month and this tells you about their “engaged or addicted” user base.

Social media detox helps you get back in control of your habits and your mind. You are no longer that compulsive person who reached out for your phone hearing the slighest tings.

Be mindful

How many of us do not use their phones when we are out for dinner?

Do you reach out to your phones every time you have some free time? In the movies? while commuting? while at the traffic signal?

We are mindlessly spending times on something extraordinarily trivial.

Social media detox helps us being mindful. When you are doing something (walking, standing, commuting, eating etc), you are being mindful of that and appreciate it.

It directly affects your mental health. Mindfullness helps you stay calm and keeps stress at bay.

Benefits of a social media detox

So, are there any real benefits to taking a social media detox?

Free time

When you first start with social media detox, you may find a lot of time in your hand and very little to do.

You will have to replace that time with another activity! Something more productive.

You can take up a new activity (like yoga, reading, painting, music etc) or learn a new skill (like cooking or baking).

There are numerous things to do without having to use social media.

And, if you were one of those people, whose no. 1 excuse was “I don’t get time to do this”, then you will have the time now.

Less stress and anxiety

Did you know Studies have discovered that the more time you spend on a social media site, the more likely you are to develop depression?

Social media detox helps you with mental health.

With time (in a few days or weeks), you will start feeling calm. The mental clutter is out of your way and you no longer get the urge to reach out to your phone.

You also realised social media isn’t important! At all.

With passing days, you will also find yourself being more positive.

You will also leave certain negative habits like comparing yourself to other people, wondering if your life is worth it or not, thinking of what is missing in your life etc.

For example, if you are not married and everyone on your time line is getting married, it can cause depression in many cases.

This will help lower your anxiety significantly and boost your confidence.

Related: Activities for stress relief – 17 simple ways to relax and reduce stress

Better mornings

So, you do reach out for your phone in the morning. The first thing when you open your eyes and get down from bed is to take your phone and open up a social media channel.

and, then begins the endless and mindless play of notifications, feeds.

Social detox will help you stay away from this. The first thing you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day and you do not want it to start in a bad way.

You could instead utilise your mornings in a better fashion. Instead of a feed, read newspaper or a book.

Take a morning walk or have a 15 minute yoga routine. Meditate!

More mindfulness

We already did talk about it. With social media detox, you will be more mindful.

You will no longer be a victim to social media hazards. It will help you practice mindfulness in your daily activities, live in the present and learn to appreciate it.

How to take a social media detox 

So, finally we are here and it is time to begin a social media detox.

Tell people

Start by telling people that you are taking a social media detox. This could be your family or close friends you interact the most.

You can also go ahead and inform the people you interact with the most on social media.

Declaring it to the world will help keep you accountable. If you are back to social media within a few days, these people can call you out.

The sheer thought of being called on may help you stick with the detox.

Similarly, sharing it with people will help them know you have not just disappeared from their lives. You are taking a social media detox!

Most people won’t really care, and some may not even notice (don’t take it personally!). The people who do care are generally not the ones close to you!

Delete the apps and block the websites

This is one of the most important steps of taking a social media detox.

Delete all the apps and block the websites.

If you think you can stay away from social media or limit your time on these apps if you keep the apps, you are wrong!

I am guaranteed about your failure if you not delete the apps from phone.

For a social media detox to work, you will have to uninstall these apps!

To keep you away from social media on computers and laptop, you can use platforms like Freedom and Cold Turkey

It is a necessary step if you spend a lot of time on your computer and tend to open up social media platforms every now and then.

Like, I am going to check Facebook feed now. Blah, just kidding!

Plan what you will do during your detox

So, you will have a lot of free time and you will need to fill that in with an activity!

Replace your social media habit with something which does not involve technology. I suggest this because using your phone or laptop to replace a digital habit isn’t really productive. 

Some suggestions that I found useful:

  • Reading
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Learning something new (language, hobby, skill)
  • Working on a side project or business
  • Exercising, gym, yoga
  • Travel during your detox
  • Meditate
  • Cook or Bake

If you are not interested in any of these activities and want to replace it with a digital activity, you can

How to deal with FOMO

Fear of missing out is real.

For a lot of people who take social media detox, there first question is “how will I know what’s going on?” or “how do i keep in touch with friends”

If you feel that you are going to miss out a great deal, let me break it to you – you are not.

If there is something important and you need to hear about it, you will. People can always call you!

Remember – not all the information that you consume is related to you or important for you to know!

If you fear missing out on people you love or care about, take some extra effort –

  • Write an email to them
  • Call them
  • Spend more time with that person in person

Your turn

Your first step to social media detox is to try it for a day! See how you feel going without social media for a few days.

Like how you feel? Extend it.

Don’t like it? You definitely need a social media detox! Try harder.

A lot of people I know have cut off from social media permanently. It is just not that important for them anymore and it helps them lead a simpler/calmer life.

What do you think? Have you tried a detox from social media before? What happened? Let us know in the comments.

Social Media Detox

social media detox tips