If your slight obsession with social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have gotten in the way of you living your life, maybe it’s time to consider a “social media cleanse”. Which is basically just a fancy term for removing yourself from social media.

You probably already realize that social media consumption isn’t the best environment for improving mental health, and it doesn’t have to be. Understand that your life and relationships that exist over social media are not real. Sure, it’s great to keep connected over social platforms, but it also creates a false sense of reality. You’re only seeing the highlight reel of other people’s lives.

Remember that removing yourself from social media doesn’t have to be a forever thing. Luckily, these platforms have ways of deactivating them so you can return at a later date. If anything, you can simply log out and delete the app from your device. If you’ve ever considered a cleanse, below are the benefits I’ve experienced when removing myself from social media for prolonged periods of time.

1. Reduced feelings of anxiety

Constant pings from your device make it easy to feel like you need to be tuned in at all times. This can be stressful for those who struggle with anxiety as there’s seemingly no disconnection from the outside world. In a study from University of Pittsburg, researchers found that “Engaging in activities of little meaning on social media may give a feeling of “time wasted” that negatively influences mood.”

2. More focus for things you love

Back in college, I almost forgot the great outdoors existed when I went through a phase of being obsessed with social media. Yea, for real. There’s so much our world has to offer and social platforms are a huge drain on our time and energy. What are your hobbies? What brings you happiness? What are some self-esteeming activities you can do right now that don’t involve your mobile device?

3. Decreased feelings of FOMO

Or fear of missing out. Comparing your life to everything you see online is nearly impossible to avoid and it leads to feelings of isolation. Of course, people are going to post about their best experiences, lavish vacations, and big life milestones. It is not an accurate depiction of what’s actually happening behind the scenes. Plus it has nothing to do with you. Jealousy doesn’t look good on anyone!

4. Encouraged to talk to people

Remember that thing called a phone call? Millennials today seldom use their phone for the main purpose that their phone exists – an actual phone call. My seventeen-year-old brother will ignore your phone call then immediately text you, “What’s up?” Don’t be that person, and don’t forget that there is so much power and connection through real interactions. Call your friends and family and stop living your entire life on a tiny little screen. Your relationships will flourish.

5. Better sleep

For many folks, scrolling through social platforms or emails is one of the last things they do before getting some shut-eye. Try this: don’t use your phone at least 30 minutes prior to falling asleep. Keep a book on your nightstand and make a habit of reading print before bedtime instead. Technology keeps us away from the present moment, making it harder to fall asleep. When we’re winding down, it’s important to disconnect from the online world. I promise it will be there in the morning.

6. Increased productivity

Imagine the possibilities without social media! Also, there’s a reason you hide your phone every time your boss walks by. You could probably be doing something more beneficial with your precious time. This one was by far the most noticeable benefit for me. Hell, I even started the blog which you’re reading now.

I can understand why it may sound daunting or even unnecessary to do a cleanse for those of us who spend a lot of time on these platforms. However, I strongly encourage you to give it a go. Set a goal for yourself and if you need to, start small. When I removed myself from Instagram I was literally shook by how much better I felt. Let’s put it this way: Nobody has ever told me a social media cleanse wasn’t worth it.

If you’ve gone through a social media cleanse and have experienced great benefits from it, please share your thoughts in the comments!

Originally published at www.todaywithtara.com