You may need a social media detox without even being aware that you need one! In this articles we introduce you to the reasons WHY you need a break and tactics that you can use to take that well-deserved break. There are signs that you need a social media break and you should recognize them. If you are already asking yourself "how to get rid of social media addiction," it is time to take action.
About 2-3 years ago I realized that social media made me act like a robot on automatic mode. I had to take a Facebook detox and even blocked my account for a few months. Yep. I did it. Why i quit social media? Because I was constantly checking it.
When we talk about social media detox, we talk about all social media platforms without a platform in particular in mind (although I do think that some platforms are more toxic than others):
- Twitter detox
- Youtube break
- Take a break from Facebook
- Instagram detox
- TikTok break
Do like me and do not miss out of life's precious moment: take a break, do a social media detox!
We all know how much time in a day we unconsciously spend scrolling, checking the information we do not need, soaking up all the unnecessary stories of lives of people we do not know. Rarely do we take a moment to unwind, take a deep breath and just be.
Simon Sinek said that social media has been making us even more addicted to dopamine, he says “We’ve raised a generation on dopamine.” Very true!
Social media is bombarding us with stimuli that create rush of dopamine in our bodies.
Your devices are the cause of the dopamine addiction: mobile phone, laptop, desktop and tablets.
On top of the addictive effect of social media, there is also the psychological toxicity that social media has on our emotions, our vision of others and our level of tolerance for opinions that differ from ours.
Good to realize right?!
Believe me, I used to work in digital agencies delivering digital experiences, and social media campaigns, for brands like Nike, Tiffany, Disney, Hipp and many more. I know exactly how social media works, and how we marketers, make sure that you spend as much time as possible on our platforms.
I am guilty! Guilty as charged, yes, but I also bring you a solution: disconnect.
I did it myself, and to this day, I developed the habit of TOTALLY disconnecting on a DAILY BASIS.
If I did it, you can do it too. You simply need to be aware of the problem and then, take a series of actions to develop a series of habits.
Willpower alone will not work.
Become the master of your own kingdom: your mind!
Stay with us until the end; I give you my 3 Ultimate Social Media Mastery Tricks at the end of this article.
Of course, Social Media also offers a lot of magical possibilities for connecting, learning and growth. As some of you may know, I am based in Shanghai, China. For me social media has been a way to keep in touch with family and friends back home.
Yet, when do we truly connect? When is the time for that soul to soul connection with ourselves and others? How often do we choose to disconnect, so we could immerse in the moment, get lost in the now?
Well, based on what we see and feel, and based on the amount of addiction that there is in our society, not often enough.
10 signs you need a social media detox
- You are constantly checking social media and cannot stop yourself
- You are constantly on your phone (and other devices) even in bed at night
- Social media makes you procrastinate, lose time and make you feel lazy
- You do not listen to your loved ones and friends when they talk to you (while you are looking at social media)
- When you look at other people's feeds, you feel unworthy (and a bit envious?)
- News and discussions bring you into the Dark Energy of arguing online, being nasty
- Social media make you anxious or even worse, depressed
- People around you tell you that you have a problem
- Social media affect your performance at school or at work (or both)
- You use social media to escape reality
You need to be honest with yourself and recognize the sign that you are due for a change!
So, let’s talk about why all of us need a social media detox from time to time and how we can take that space which is crucial for ourselves and others we love.
Why are we so attached and addicted to our devices?
Ask yourself: how do you really feel about social media?
There are many reasons why we spend time on social media:
- kill time
- feel better when you are anxious or depressed
- connect with people
- read news
- find information...
HOW MUCH time do we really spend on social media?
Now the REAL question is: WHY do we spend so much time on social media?
In this fast unfolding world of technology and constant change, we are facing some new challenges that ask for some new solutions. Since nothing is like before, we are invited to approach each situation from a new angle.
Our ancestors were never concerned about spending too much time online since they did not have the gift of modern technology that we have these days. It is a gift, yet it is a burden. No way that 20 years of technology brought fundamental evolutionary changes!
Every blessing brings a certain amount of responsibility that we have to take. Here are some ideas on how to use your time more consciously and to give yourself the blessing of being present.
It is especially hard for those working online. Imagine, it is your job to be available online, yet you need to manage that your private life does not intersect with your business life, which is both intensively based on the online communities you built.
So, here are 8 reasons why you need to detox and take a Social Media Break
1. There is no need to be available all the time. Kill your FOMO.
Somehow we slowly got tricked into thinking that if we are not online, available or near our devices, we will miss out on something important. It is not a new thing, but it is a new and extreme form of what all of us have hidden somewhere inside. C.G. Jung would call it, the “collective unconsciousness.”
We need to kill the FOMO (aka “Fear of Missing Out) that lies inside of us. You are not missing out on anything if you take the time for yourself in your day. This way you are doing the opposite, you are finding ways not to miss out on your own life.
You check in with your emails and your WhatsApp all the time. For me, this takes the form of checking WeChat every now and then. Well, try building the habit of checking in with your inner world, your flow of thoughts, your breath and your body.
Life happens when the screens are off. When you silent the devices, you may hear what your own device has to say. Social media detox can help reconnect with the reality around yourself.
There is a wonderful new term that these new ages have brought us and it is “JOMO”. The Joy of Missing Out. Give it a try. It is the feeling of not having to know what happens in virtual reality.
2. For Digital Workers: Nobody Works 24/7, nor should you! Prevent yourself from a burn-out.
Can you imagine a job where you work 24/7 and stay healthy? I thought so, neither can I.
When I lived in Beijing, you may not believe me, but I used to work 100 hours/week. I even slept at the office. Yes, hard to believe but true. I am now in my forties so forget about this hustling lifestyles, my body will not abide!
When the doctor leaves the office, he leaves his job behind. He is aware that he must take this time to be himself/herself, get in touch with the private life that await. Resting is essential to be as good tomorrow as we were today.
Life is not a race. Therefore, our jobs are not a race. We are here to follow our inner rhythm and let things unfold gently.
If we non-stop run toward our goals, not taking time to rest, to contemplate the amazing world we live in, to listen to our own body, we will end up going through a burn-out. Too much of anything is not good.
So, involve yourself with yourself, give yourself space off the screen. It will keep you light and fluid. If there is a way to keep loving your job, it is to take time off when you need it.
3. Our mental hygiene benefits from a Social Media Detox
Does Social Media make you happy?
The modern speedy and needy rhythm of life is taking us to places we have never been before. We are often overwhelmed and stuck in this world of constant noise, clicks, likes, comments. We are non-stop exposed and compared to something outside of us.
By looking at the lives of others on social media, we can not help it but think of what that person has or is, compared to us. It is unhealthy. Since the life we show on social media is but a fragment of the most convenient segments of our reality. We are who we are, and that is so enough. It is easy to forget who you are when you are busy building a virtual self-image to show off to others.
When you cut off the outer images, the factors that you can compare yourself with and when you give yourself the time to be you, you are cleaning your mind. There is space for healthier emotions and thoughts to arise.
4. Our Bodies
Those who suffer the most in this story of Social Media addiction are probably our bodies. They often do not get the attention that they seek. We get lost in the virtual world and forget that we have a living device that we need to take care of.
Engaging in physical activities and building habits of stretching and waking up our bodies often enough is crucial for our well being. Social media detox can offer us an insight on how to embody this genius device and how to nurture it and take care of it in the way it needs it.
When you take some time offline, you can smell, see, sense and ingest all the inputs from nature and the world around you in a more sensitive way. Your body is your sacred instrument that needs more attention so it could nurture you with its sounds.
5. Info Overload Detox
Too much information! Too much noise! Do you really need to know what happened yesterday on the other side of the planet? Or what X President said or did?
Not enough clarity of thought, not enough space. We are flooded with information.
Our brain is constantly working, checking, searching and reacting to some kinds of input. Social media detox is an informational detox that we all need so badly. It is with the modern times of constant access to information that the world has become a little bit too mechanical while our minds became a little bit too stiff and anxious. It is a consequence of our scatteredness.
For example, our brain is processing the fight with our loved one while reading an article about the possibilities of nuclear war and at the same time responding to e-mails, while cooking lunch. Where did the good old friend Focus go?
6. Focus brings creativity
When talking about Focus, we can also talk about creativity. There is no creativity, without a certain amount of time that we invest in a project.
To get lost in the process of creation we need to offer ourselves space without distractions.
To get in touch with your authentic creativity, we are inviting you to put your phone aside for a few hours and create, whatever it is, just make it Yours. A social media detox is essential to enter and maintain a state of focus, even if it is just for 60 minutes.
Without filming it, without trying to be like somebody else, be you and become one with your creativity. After that, you can use social media to share what you have just created, that is a way to benefit from it.
Focus is everything, nothing gets done without full focus. There is something called “the Zone;” it is proven that our best work is done when we are in “the Zone.”
Einstein used to spend a lot of time on a lake, rowing his boat. Churchill would walk and look at the horizon while smoking a cigar (he also liked to lay bricks.) In order to have focus time, we also need to have idle time where we lose ourselves into our introspective thoughts.
7. Our relationships suffer
I like to say that “online chatting is the fast-food of conversations.”
This one is self-explanatory. How often do you divide your attention by listening to your partner while doing something online?
How many times do you miss out on things that matter in real life, while engaging in those less important online?
Do you chat constantly? Do you always have your phone nearby?
When was the last time that you went to spend some time with your loved one and left your phone at home? Is this even real in today's world?
Well, there should be that time in the day, or at least in the week when we take care of our relationships when we invest ourselves fully in being there for the other person, without screens, without news, without approval from the online world for everything that we do.
When I am with my daughter, my phone is set to Airplane Mode. Nothing is more important than family.
8. Our Freedom, Our Lives
Last, but not least. We are fooling ourselves if we think that we are free from digital entrapment. I am not talking about any conspiracy theories. I am talking about the fact that most of us check our phone first thing in the morning. It is not a healthy way to begin your day in this body.
The advice that I once got was not to use my phone an hour after I wake up and an hour before bedtime. Implementing this advice made me much freer in consuming my “sacred” time healthily and satisfyingly. Starting the day with negative news is a really bad way to start what can be a wonderful day. Have a bouncer at the door of your mind, and do not let enter any negativity!
In other words, by taking social media breaks, we offer ourselves freedom from addiction, freedom from information, the freedom that we deserve. Offer yourself a chance to be free of what our society told us is “normal” and you will discover the magic of silencing your mind and freeing your spirit.
How to (really) do a Social Media Detox?
1. Firstly, go easy on yourself. Don't go Cold Turkey.
The most important thing is to go slowly. When modifying any habits or addictions, there is no point in being radical or extreme. Don’t be hard on yourself and don’t be stiff when thinking about the solutions. Take one step at a time.
Start by being aware of how much time you spend online. Observe how much energy do you invest in messaging, scrolling, checking your notifications.
With this awareness of where you are and where you can be, find the optimal path that will lead you there.
Solution 1: Use an app that calculates the amount of time you spend on social media!
2. Set Those Boundaries
When you define where you are and where you want to be, set boundaries to keep you disciplined on your path. It is much easier to stay focused on changing your habits when you create a structure you ought to follow.
For example, take 2 hours in the day to switch off your phone, let’s say that 5 pm - 7 pm is your “no screen time”. Or maybe, limit your social media time on your phone to 1 hour a day. Another idea is to have a “no phone at the table” rule.
Or choose a corner of your home where you can use your devices and make the other parts device-free zones. Whatever option you choose, you should be honest to yourself and limit your access to the constant noise of the online world.
For me personally, my phone is off at 8pm. The weekends my phone is in a drawer 50% of the time.
Solution 2: Set the boundaries and the rules, just like you would do with alcohol (e.g., no drinking before 6pm.)
3. Delete Social Media from your phone
Why you should delete social media?
To stop feeding the best and constantly get dopamine hits!
Another option that could work is only deleting social media from your phone and using social only when you use your laptop/PC. It is a great way not to get distracted during the day and use your time wisely. This way you do not have to take a social media detox, yet you have the defined amount of time when you are online. I know many people that are satisfied with this method. It helped them use their devices with more awareness. Although, I will warn you that you may feel empty in the beginning, like something is missing.
Why you should delete Instagram?
To free yourself from comparing your life with other people's (fake) lives.
Why you should delete Twitter?
In my opinion Twitter is by far the most toxic, because of all the politics.
You will probably reach for your phone very often in need of something, some notification or a message, but your expectations will not be met.
In other words, your brain will not get the hit of dopamine that he is used to. It could be a little bit annoying and hard to cope with. But if you go through it, you will soon forget this habit and start living normally without it.
Solution 3: Just get rid of what I call the Dark Force's apps on your mobile phone. Nowadays phones are like small computers, and guess what, we carry them all around. Phones constantly ask for attention. Use a tool like Freedom to block websites and apps on all your devices, including computers.
4. Social Media Free Days
If you are lucky enough that you could afford yourself Social Media free days, do not hesitate!
Imagine that every Sunday you choose to fast. Imagine how grateful your body would be if you would offer it a weekly detox. You would give it time to regenerate, space to breathe and relax its muscles. In many indigenous cultures, this was completely normal.
Same as with your brain, try giving it an informational detox every Sunday. You will be amazed by the clarity of thought that the Monday morning will bring.
Solution 4: Schedule time in nature. Bingo. Simple, but it works. Another option is to get a small box dedicated to your phone. It's a small box where your phone goes to relax...
5. Set an "off time"
If you can, here is an idea: choose the online hours of your day and leave the rest of the hours to be offline, yet connected.
Make it a habit to respect those hours, do all that you need to do and then turn off the wifi. It could be at the same time every day or changed based on your mood and schedule. But, make sure that it is a fixed amount of time. For example, an hour and a half a day.
Solution 5: Why not going off the internet? If internet is off, then your social media is also off. Just disconnect! Enjoy the moment. Read Eckhart Tolle “The Power of Now.”
6. If it is impossible to Disconnect, invest your time wisely!
If you really cannot disconnect, for whatever reason, please make sure that you constructively use the internet.
Instead of wasting your time on watching excessive amounts of funny videos, scrolling and downloading some useless information to your brain, or reading news for the 5th time in the day, do something more creative. For example, create your blog or start an online business. In other words, use the internet as a blessing, not as a time-killing tool.
Solution 6: Track, measure, review and adjust. "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it" -Peter Drucker
Here are my 3 Ultimate Social Media Detox Mastery Tricks
- Trick 1: I add in my calendar 1 hour per week, on Friday afternoon in my case, where I can spend time on Social Media. Extreme? Big problems require big solutions.
- Trick 2: I switched off ALL notifications on my phone, laptop and desktop. All of them (except my wife.) I also hide other people’s feeds. No offense to anyone!
- Trick 3: There is something called “Airplane Mode” on your phone. Try it, it is a wonderful function! I also put my phone is a drawer and just forget about it. Try it, and you will feel liberated.
We hope this opened something for you or at least reminded you of something you already know. Enjoy your time away from social media.
Last but not least, if you are truly addicted to Social Media, consider getting help from a therapist, an online course or a group of like-minded people.
Let us know what you feel in the comments below! We give personalized answers to all comments!