That feel-good sensation can actually be addictive. Studies have shown that using social media activates the part of the brain that is stimulated when people take addictive substances.
Like with smoking, for example, that section of your brain is quickly stimulated, and eventually, you’ll need more social media usage to get that same happy feeling.
Point is, it’s addictive.That’s why you need a social media detox.
In more serious situations, you might already be addicted! Social media addiction is real, and it’s becoming a bigger problem in recent years.
So, how do you know if you’re addicted?
Do you use social media as a way to get away from the world?
Has your social media use gotten in the way of things you have to do, like work or studying?
Do you get stressed or anxious if you can’t use social media for an extended period of time?
If you’ve answered YES to these questions, you might have gotten sucked into the social media frenzy a little too hard. Not to worry, there’s always a way out!
Now that we know why you should do a social media detox, let’s talk about exactly how you can do it!
Your 10 Tips for a Painless (Well, Almost) Social Media Detox
There was a point in your life before you used social media, so you’re definitely able to live without it for a bit.
The whole goal here doesn’t have to be to totally cut the Internet out from your life – although you can do that if you want. Ideally, you want to be able to benefit from social media without depending on it.
So, whether you want to do a full social media detox or just manage it better, here are 10 tips to help you:
Have a Purpose for Your Social Media Usage
How often do you mindlessly scroll on your Instagram feed just because you’re bored? By just stopping this habit, you’re guaranteed to cut your social media usage in half.
Have a purpose for what you’re doing on there.
Are you there to respond to people’s messages?
Do you need to check out the account of a clothing store before you decide to buy from them?
Are you looking at the news?
Being bored isn’t a really good excuse to go on social media, so try to find purpose for every time you go on your social apps!
By not absentmindedly going on your social media accounts, you’ll be more mindful of your usage.
Tackle Your Loneliness
Often, people go on social media for a long time to get their social time that they’re missing from the real world. To put it bluntly, loneliness can cause you to go on social media way more often than you should.
Think about how many people you interact with daily. Do you meet up with friends often? Think about your routine, and how often you’re able to talk to people on a day-to-day basis. If you end up being alone a lot of the time, you might use social media as a coping mechanism.
Learn how to make friends. If you’re feeling lonely, it’s time to start interacting with people who make you feel happy!
Making friends can be anxiety-inducing, but here are a few places that you can find some friendly faces:
Your local pub (especially if you’re into sports)
Classes (either academic classes or to learn a new hobby)
Through mutual friends
You know how Facebook users can list what they’re interested in on their profile? You’ll see their interests in real life because you’ll be out there!
Practice makes perfect when you try to make friends. Try something new outside of social media; you’ll be surprised at who you meet.
Download a mobile app that tracks your daily social media usage.
Apps like Moment help you stay mindful about the time you spend online, and help encourage you to put the phone down and do something else.
This particular app actually gives you little strategies you can implement to gradually reduce your phone usage, even when you’re not in the middle of a social media detox!
Even if you choose not to download an app, check the time you spend on an app by remembering the time when you logged in. It’s as simple as that.
You might feel guilty for spending so much time online, but keeping track of your habits will help you break them!
Stop Posting for a While
There’s a lot of pressure associated with creating the most aesthetic Instagram feed, responding quickly to messages, and generally being on social media all the time.
Or, you could be in the group of people who love the dopamine boost of having people like your pictures and writing comments.
Either way, what if you stopped posting for a while?
If you stop posting for your social media detox, here’s what awaits you:
If you feel pressured by social media, you’ll learn to relax. You don’t really owe anyone a quick answer, and if it’s an emergency, they’ll contact you over the phone or in person. Plus, you’ll have time to step back and think about just why social media is stressing you out.
If you rely on social media for a boost of happiness, you’ll have to learn new ways to be happy. Your social media detox will force you to look at the beauty in life and the moments in it that truly make you happy.
People won’t notice. They’re most likely too consumed with whatever they post, or not on social media enough to care.
Use this time to reflect on how you feel about what social media brings to the table in your life.
Notice How You Feel When You Spend Time Online
Before you go on your social media detox, notice how you feel when you’re on these apps.
Do you feel overwhelmed? Stressed? Envious?
Every emotion that you feel is valid!
Now, try to find out why you feel that way.
Over time, you’ll get mindful about your online habits. Since no one wants to feel negative emotions, you won’t go online as much since you know you’ll feel bad. Moderation is key!
Do a Cleanup Before You Start Your Social Media Detox
Now that you’re aware of your feelings about social media, it’s time to do a bit of housekeeping.
Clean out your friend list.
If you’re like me, you get overwhelmed with what you see on your feed or negative statuses that people post.
Take a look at the people you follow or are Facebook friends with, and remove people that make you feel stressed or overwhelmed.
Routines are awesome. Your time is valuable, and you should have time to unwind without worrying about responding to people quickly.
Make a rule for yourself. Depending on where you’re at in your social media detox journey, set a specific time of day where you’ll check your social media. For example, you can choose to only check social media after dinner.
Whatever it is, set boundaries for yourself and for other people. You’re not meant to be available all the time.
Put Your Phone on Silent
Out of sight, out of mind! Put your phone on silent and mute all social media notifications so you can try to forget about it throughout your day.
It can be really hard to focus when your phone keeps buzzing. If you’re like most people, you immediately want to hop on social media to check what that new notification is all about. So, stay in the moment and forget about what’s going on on social media!
How Long Should You Do a Social Media Detox?
Do not stop your social media detox until you notice an improvement in your mental health.