Nowadays, it’s so easy to be sucked in by social media and the thought of a social media detox seems almost impossible. We find ourselves constantly checking our feeds looking for something, but what exactly? Admiring pictures and tweets may seem harmless but sometimes, it makes us feel bad about ourselves or disconnected from the real things around us. We ask, “Why don’t I look like that?” We say, “Oh my gosh, so and so is always travelling, I’m jealous!” So, why? Why do we feel the need to look? Why do we feel the need to follow and retweet and like? Sometimes, we just need a break. In honour of a much needed social media detox I have experienced lately, I came up with 3 things that helped me get offline.
1. Do a social media cleanse before your social media detox
Unfollow, mute, block, do whatever you have to do to make yourself happy. If someone bothers you, block them. You do not owe anyone your attention or your time. If something does not benefit your emotionally, or makes you feel bad about yourself, get rid of it. There’s no need to constantly read tweets or see pictures from people that are toxic. Cleanse.
2. Get off for a few hours to ease into it
This one is really, really hard. But, get off your phone for a few hours. Use Do Not Disturb, leave it at home, or give yourself an incentive (no phone for 3 hours means you can watch 27 Dresses AND Dear John in peace!) I know this sounds crazy but once you get off your phone, you’ll actually get to experience the things going on around you without being worried about missing a picture opportunity or envying someone else’s highlight reel. Do this a few times and you’ll find that actually, a social media detox isn’t as hard as you initially thought.
3. Monitor your time online
See how much time you spend on your social media apps and try to reduce it. Once you see that number, you’ll be hit with a sharp, “Do I really do that?” The answer is yes, you really did probably spend 6 hours on Instagram today. Give yourself time limits. Set a timer on your phone and say, “When this goes off, I’m logging off”, and stick to it. It will make your time on social media much more enjoyable and your day more productive. The amount of time we find ourselves constantly scrolling and flicking from app to app may seem small because we do it in bursts but all in all, we spend more time on our devices than we do in the real world. Most of our jobs will involve looking at a screen, whether that’s a laptop or a phone, and more than anything it’s become a habit to pick up our phones when we’re bored.
Getting offline is hard but at the end of the day, you’ll feel so much better. You’ll actually feel like you experienced the world without thinking about what your social media followers think. Whether it’s picking up a book, exercising, taking up a hobby that involves being outdoors more, having a rule with friends that brunches and dinners are a ‘No-Phone-Zone’ or immersing yourself in something creative, there’s so much more to the world than social media. We know this but sometimes, we just need a little reminder. Live life. Love it. Detox.