Today, the number of social networking sites we use is actually more than the number of close friends we have! Let that sink in for a minute.
Social media has become central to our lives and the mere thought of deleting Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat fills us with dread. We spend a lot of time scrolling our social media feeds – even at times that we shouldn’t – like while having dinner with family.
The time that we should spend with our loved ones is replaced by undivided attention given to the tiny screen of our smartphones. You might think that you’re not that addicted to social media until you start taking note of the time that you spend checking your phones.
You might not even be aware of the effects that social media has on your mental health. One of my colleagues once said, “I’ve stopped using social media as I was always feeling sad by seeing other people do fun stuff constantly.”
Whether it’s the FOMO-inducing vacation selfies from influencers or friends, constant pandemic-related news, or the unwanted political rants from media pages – the content that we consume on social media shapes our mood in a way we can’t even imagine.
Thus, if there were a time to think about taking a social media detox – IT’S NOW.
Wish to know how it can help improve your mental well-being?
It improves your self-esteem
Social media makes us constantly compare ourselves with the success stories and achievements of others. It can have a serious repercussion on our self-esteem. And it has been proven that this continuous comparison might eventually lead us into depression.
Say, for example, if you are a digital marketer, you’ll always be surrounded by updates made by big shots on social media. Seeing such content on a daily basis can make you feel sad about your life. Thus, you can consider scheduling all your posts in advance and shut off your accounts for a while.
When you take a break from social media, you actually don’t come across what other people are doing in their lives. Your major focus will be on doing things that you love and connecting with your friends and family.
It protects your privacy
Deleting social media apps for a while will not only keep you away from constant updates, but also from the ads you see on every other app you use.
It improves your productivity
This is the most significant positive effect of taking a social media detox. Researchers claim that over-use of social media platforms can hamper our productivity and our commitment to professional lives. A study paper published last year in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology reveals that platforms like Facebook can distort time perception due to attention-grabbing content.
It makes us believe that we aren’t spending too much time on it, and even while at work, we still feel the need to check out the new likes or comments, and the updates shared by others. Another research found that employees spend 2.35 hours on average checking their social media during work hours! No wonder why people find it hard to meet their deadlines – they’re more committed to meeting the number of likes on their social posts.
Thus, when you keep those time-sucking apps away, you’ll definitely notice a boost in your productivity levels.
It reduces your anxiety levels
As said earlier, the way we compare our lives with others on social media triggers anxiety and depression. These platforms make us competitive – we always want to get more likes on our posts as compared to our friends and followers. This repetitive cycle of uploading posts and checking likes increases our anxiety, even if we don’t realize it. Also, responding to new messages on social media can be stressful, and getting away from it can help feel good.
It helps you reconnect with the real world
What’s one ironic thing about social media? It doesn’t make you feel social! It’s a sad truth that people who spend much time online claim that they feel alone and lonely. They are also said to suffer from a weaker immune system. By just interacting with people on social media, you’re missing out on the much-needed personal connections.
Even if you are an introvert, you can boost your mood by simply stepping out in public. Take yourself to your favorite park, watch a movie, meet up with your friends, have meals with your family – reconnect with the world that you lost connection with.
It will free up a lot of time
A person on social media spends an average of 2-2.5 hours every day scrolling their feeds. With this much spare time in hand, you will never feel the lack of time to work out, journal, or do household chores. The logic is quite simple: when you stop taking out time for one thing, you can make time for another.
Simply going on a walk for 30 minutes every day can boost your mental health, which is a much better usage of time as compared to scrolling Instagram feed. A world free of social media holds immense possibilities, you can do whatever you can with it!
It will help you get better sleep
Well, there has always been a deep connection between screen time and sleep. Using a lot of social media means higher screen time – which can take a toll on your sleep cycle. If you are addicted to your phone, we can bet that you keep it on your bed or near to it while sleeping.
The artificial light from screens can meddle with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep. So, when you use your phones right before going to bed, it can disturb your ability to fall asleep.
This ultimately brings us to the fact that separating yourself from social media will cut down the time you spend on your phones, which will help you sleep better.
It will improve your overall mood
A lot of studies have already discovered that spending less time on social media keeps you away from anxiety and depression. The number of hours you spend scrolling your social feeds directly determines how stressed out or happy you feel. All of the factors listed above will combine and affect your overall mood positively.
Thus, if you have been feeling anxious or stressed out lately, it’s a good time to start your social media detox. You will feel a bit weird and left out at first, but slowly you will get the hang of it. And once you start getting the feel-good vibes, the urge to log in back to Facebook and Instagram will also vanish.
Ease back to social media when you’re ready
You need to understand that social media is a fake world. No one is sharing their failures. No one is sharing the times when they had it hard. There’s a huge difference between sharing happy pictures and actually living a happy life.
During the time of your social media detox, maybe you’ll find out which platforms cause you more stress. You can keep those apps off your phone forever. Or you can simply set time limits for scrolling social feeds. But most importantly, SET YOUR OWN PACE.
You don’t need to give up on all social platforms altogether. You could take a break once every week, delete some apps from your phone, or keep your phone on airplane mode for one day every month. You have plenty of options to choose from. In the end, it should just make sense to you!