Do you know how much time you spend on social media? On average, people spend two hours a day on social media. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter can suck a huge amount of our time. They’re a fun way to connect with people and to laugh at silly memes, but they’re also a cause of stress and can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Many of the stressors around social media have to do with playing the comparison game – it looks like people are leading the perfect life that you don’t have.
While social media can keep us connected to friends and family, it’s important to take time off if you feel that social media is affecting any of the following:
- Quality of sleep
- Sense of well-being
- Feelings of anxiety
- Feelings of depression
- Quality of relationships
- Feelings of loneliness
If you feel fine about the time you’re spending on social media, there’s no reason to guilt yourself into doing a detox. But, if anything is bothering you about it, stepping away for a weekend or a month will be very therapeutic.
What is a Social Media Detox?
A social media detox is removing or signing out of your social media accounts for a certain period of time. Some people decide to avoid social media for a few days and others go for a whole month. The amount of time is up to you, but the important part is removing your access to social media.
Social Media Detox Benefits
The biggest obvious benefit of a social media detox is getting back time. Lots of people check their phones first thing in the morning for twenty minutes – what else could you do with that time? Perhaps make a delicious breakfast or spend some time meditating. If you don’t have social media in your morning routine, it allows you to create time for other, more fulfilling pursuits.
A social media detox can also help you focus more on what you want to get done. If you aren’t constantly flipping between tabs or clicking around on your phone to watch videos, you can dial into what you actually want to spend time on.
Logging out of your social accounts could also help you save money – you won’t be served targeted ads as you’re scrolling.
Most importantly, perhaps, it can help you boost your self-esteem. For young women especially, the comparison game on social media can be very damaging. Logging out has been shown to improve self-esteem.
How to Do a Social Media Detox?
If you want to detox from social media you need to answer two questions – what’s included in the detox and how long will it last? Some people have success with a social media detox weekend and others want a full 30-day social media detox. The time frame is up to you – check in with yourself and see what feels right to you.
So how do you actually remove social media from your life? Here are some tips for shutting it down, for however long you decide you need to detox.
- Notify friends and family that you regularly interact with that you’ll be offline. Let them know how to reach you – either by phone or email.
- Delete the apps from your phone – not being able to immediately log in will make it much easier to avoid them.
- Download a newsfeed eradicator for Facebook – if you *have* to get on Facebook to manage a group or ads, at least get rid of the newsfeed so you aren’t tempted to scroll. I keep this on my computer at all times.
- Put your phone into airplane mode or turn it off.
- Disable any pop-up alerts.
- Leave your devices in another room.
- If you can, leave your phone at home when you go out for a walk outside.
You also need to plan for easing back into social media after your time period is up. It will likely feel overwhelming to go back to the same schedule you had before. If you’re doing this because you want to cut down on the time you spend online, set some ground rules for adding social media back into your life. These could include:
- No social media first thing in the morning.
- Staying logged out of all your apps but not deleting them from your phone.
- Keeping the newsfeed eradicator on Facebook all the time.
- Setting a timer for the amount of time you want to browse each day.
- Leaving your phone in another room while you sleep.
Tips for Surviving a Social Media Detox
Your time away from social media doesn’t need to be painful or a hardship. Bring in some fun things to replace your social media time. Assuming you would have spent 2 hours a day on social media, that’s an extra 14 hours you’ll have in a week – how do you want to spend it?
Here are some suggestions for how to enjoy your social media detox.
- Choose a new hobby you want to try – Have you always wanted to learn to knit or watercolor? Have you been thinking about trying stand up paddle boarding?
- Get together in person with friends – Who are the people in your group chat, and can you get them all together in person?
- Read some great books – Wondering what to do in the evening when you would usually be scrolling through Instagram or TikTok? Grab that book you keep meaning to read!
- Take up meditation in the morning – Not checking your phone first thing? Go spend some time on your own and quietly center yourself for the day. It will make a huge difference, I promise.
Conclusions on Detoxing from Social Media
If any of this information intrigues you, give social media detoxing a try – there’s nothing to lose and you may end up enjoying it immensely. Social media detoxes can improve your feelings of well-being and create more time in your day. Let us know if you decide to try a detox and how it’s going!
A Note From Cassie…
Emily Wilson is a super talented blogger who posts about wellness, relationships and all sorts of awesome lifestyle stuff on the regular! Check her out at A Thousand Lights!
This was an excellent read. Thanks so much for writing it.