How much time are you spending on social media? Has it benefited your social life or added to your income; or is it taking a toll on you? For the latter, have you ever heard of social media detox? In this article, we explore the what, the how, and the why you should consider a social media detox plus we look at how to handle social media after the detox.
What is Social Media Detox?
I would define it as a conscious decision to quite social media for a period of time. Note that, a break is not just switching off your phone and burying your head in the sand for a month. A social media break should be intentional with you being fully aware and living in the present.
Why Should You Detox?
If you’re constantly checking your phone after every five minutes without even a notification, you’re clearly addicted to your phone. And if you’re constantly looking for negative posts and mindlessly scrolling social media posts for hours, it’s time to detox.
Statistics show that out of a world population of over 7.7 billion, over 3.5 billion are on social media. In layman language, one out of every 3 people is using social media. And these figures keep rising daily.
While there are several benefits of being on Facebook, Twitter, and the rest, social media platforms can also be toxic. Reports have shown an increase in depression leading to suicide by users of social media as a result of cyberbullying and social comparison.
Well, let’s assume we don’t care about the statistics. Are you using your phone right now? Well, maybe that’s how you’re reading this post. But what were you doing with your phone a few minutes ago? Is social media almost breaking up your relationships, or contributing to your poor financial choices? Do you even have time to think about your next investment? I’m sure you understand what am getting at.
So, let’s fix this.
How to Detox from Social Media Addiction
#1: Delete or freeze your social media apps?
First, identify how deep you are into social media. If you’re not in too deep, freezing the apps will work. However, if you will still be tempted to check, simply delete the apps. Out of sight, out of mind.
#2: Identify for how long you need the break
Just like any other detox, social media detox doesn’t go on forever. However, I will be honest with you. Some people start the detox journey and after the scheduled period, they realize they have been happier without social media and so they quit forever. But for you, give yourself a timeline. It could be a week, a month, or a year.
#3: Are you switching off completely or for just a few hours?
Now, this is a tricky question. If you’re benefiting from social media, like generating your income solely on social media, you can’t switch off completely. You still have bills to pay. For such, you can decide to be on social media for just 1 hour a day. So, you schedule your break for 23 hours daily and make sure you stick to this no matter the emergency.
If you haven’t benefited from social media yet, you can decide to switch off completely. The world will still go on without you. In fact, you’ll be surprised after a month nobody from Twitter or Facebook calls to ask how you’re doing. Sadly, that’s the reality of life. So, you need to make this time count. Besides, once your detox period is over, your profile will still be active and your pages and groups will be there.
#4: Find an alternative hobby
Say you’ve successfully quit social media, what do you do with all your free time without getting addicted to the couch? See that training you’ve always wanted to enroll in, do it now. Or that morning routine you’ve been rushing as you try to catch the latest social media gossip, now take your time.
Develop better habits, listen to motivational podcasts, develop your talents and most importantly, dedicate more time to you and your family. While at the coffee shop, instead of scrolling your phone, start a conversation, catch up with your kids, discuss important issues and so on.
#5: Watch out for the fallbacks
Quitting social media is easier said than done. Sadly, most people don’t even last a day. You have to watch out for the drawbacks. Drop that friend who keeps sharing the trending social media post links, or that one who calls you to update on the latest gossip. You also need to make sure you’re always busy so you rarely find time to think about Facebook.
Moving Forward After the Detox
Is it now time to go back to social media? For starters, you need a clear come-back plan otherwise you might find yourself right where you were before the detox. So how do you achieve that?
#1: Use social media more intentionally
Follow people who motivate and inspire you to be your best version. Engage with experts in your field for opportunities. Sign up for social media webinars to learn and grow.
However, don’t overdo it. You can’t be a sponge to absorb everything that comes your way. Filter information and only apply what best suits your dreams and life goals.
#2: Create genuine friendships
Don’t add or follow people randomly just because you envy them or wish to be like them. Find friends with whom you have a common goal. For example, if you’ve decided to join a weight loss program, join social groups with similar programs. From there connect with like-minded people or what we call accountability partners. You’re more likely to benefit from such friendships instead of strangers who at any time would make you feel like a lesser human.
#3: Stop hating or trolling random strangers
You might think you’re trashing the other person but the truth is that you’re the one hurting. See, when someone posts something that you don’t believe in, just pass the post. You will sleep better at night when you don’t have to constantly check who engaged in your negative posts.
Most importantly, always remember it’s easier to get stuck in the social media black hole and all its shortcomings as opposed to benefiting from these platforms. So, choose your struggles wisely.