According to a recent study, nearly seven-in-ten Americans now use social media, as 69 percent of U.S. adults are social media users. However, the quality of life may be better offline. Although keeping up with your loved ones, colleagues, celebrities, or even the news, may help you feel more connected, the constant exposure to other people’s lives, thoughts, and opinions may be too overwhelming and draining to handle daily. In addition to becoming overstimulated, you may find yourself consistently distracted by social media, which ultimately takes you away from completing your tasks on time and can leave you in a continuous anxiety-ridden loop.
Whether we like to admit it or not, social media can negatively affect our mental health, self-esteem, confidence, and productivity levels, and we should all be re-evaluating its role in our life.
But with its increasing popularity, social media proves to be hard to wean yourself off, as many users report that they find themselves becoming addicted to multiple platforms. A 2019 survey found that 40 percent of U.S. online users aged 18 to 22 reported feeling addicted to social media. Five percent of respondents from that age group admitted that “I am addicted to social media” described them completely. Many app and platform technologies are designed to be immersive, producing flow using a specific app.
In an additional 2019 study, social media platforms were reported to manipulate and confuse our psyche – proving to cause psychological damage, the need for constant belonging and acceptance – increasing social comparison and reward. For example, Facebook and Instagram’s “Likes” reward system demonstrates positive social feedback on one’s posts or gives another person such feedback, altering how one can feel about themselves or others.
Still, how can one know when they need a social media detox? The best way to find an answer is self-reflection to gauge if social media is making you happy, positively impacting your mental wellness, productivity, and creativity, or taking from it. Need some help detoxing yourself? We have you covered. Try out these simple ways to disconnect for a little while, hoping to have a happier and healthier relationship with social media moving forward.
Set a timeline: If you don’t want to give up social media forever but would like to take a break from it, you should set a timeline for when you’ll return to your platforms. It could be as simple as taking a leave of absence for one week to several months.
Get an accountability buddy: Who says you must shoulder this social media detox alone? Reach out to a trusted and close friend to let them know about your social media detox plans and invite them to join you so you can have support and an accountability buddy.
Delete your social media apps: Once you have your social media detox timeline, scrub all social media apps from your phone, so you won’t be tempted to use them.
Reframe your mindset: It’s time to evaluate where your attention is going. Use your energy and attention to social media and pour it into a new hobby or community.
Intentionally place your phone elsewhere: Set a bedtime for your phone (like 9 pm); your phone should be placed outside your bedroom to monitor your social media usage. The less you have access to your phone, will help you limit your social media activity.
Set time limits on your apps: If you aren’t ready to delete your social media apps, you can set limits through your phone settings or independent apps like Freedom (available on iOs and Android).
Practice meditation: Meditation has plenty of benefits, like managing stress and improved sleep, and can distract you from time-wasters like social media.