Here’s a tough question, when was the last time you went on a full day without checking social media? Can you still remember? Or has social media taken over the majority of your day?
Although social media has its advantages, too much of anything could be harmful in the long run.
Here are some notable benefits of doing social media detox.
Clinical Psychologist | Author, “Joy from Fear: Create the Life of Your Dreams by Making Fear Your Friend“
Increased face-to-face time with friends and loved ones
Social media is not necessarily good or bad; it’s our misuse or overuse of social media that can create problems. In general, a few of the key benefits of taking a social media break include:
- Increased face-to-face time with friends and loved ones
- A renewed interest in REAL life as opposed to IG or other distracting social media sites
- An increase in productivity and focus at work
- An increased sense of self-awareness due to a decrease in social media distractions
- A decrease in depression and anxiety—both of which are correlated with increased social media use
If you’re wondering if you need a social media detox, notice if you’re feeling anxious or unsettled when you use social media. If unpleasant feelings arise, take them as a sign that it’s time to STOP. Why do something that doesn’t feel good?
When you get used to listening to your inner voice, you’ll tend to do less of what doesn’t feel good!
As well, pay attention to input from a partner, friends, or kids who might feel ignored or slighted by too-frequent use of social media. Finally, objectively assess whether or not social media interferes with work, sleep, or interpersonal relationships. If so, a detox may be well overdue!
Try to avoid going on social media the first thing in the morning or the last thing at night.
Set clear limits for yourself as to start times and ending times—e.g., “I’ll use social media only after 9:30 a.m. and before 7:30 p.m.” Limit your sessions on social media, such as 15 minutes or 45 minutes per session. Set your timer to be sure you follow through. Social media is a “time sucker” and can eat up hours if you’re not aware.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker | Author, “Put Your Feelings Here: A Creative DBT Journal for Teens with Intense Emotions (The Instant Help Guided Journal for Teens Series)“
Switch out social media for in-person connections
Being present in-person with real-life friends, not just “e-friends” provides physical warmth, the chance to hug, touch someone’s arm, look into their eyes, hear their laughter, smell their scent. Our bodies, brains, and hearts need physical connection; it’s a part of what feeds our humanity and our souls.
Get off the comparing treadmill
Take a break from only seeing other people’s highlight reels. Be with them in real life instead and watch them blow their nose, cry, belch, trip over their own feet, be at a loss for words, and blush when they make a mistake. We need to stop comparing ourselves to perfection and remember that behind that FB party-post, we’re all the same.
Balance screen time with the unplugged 5G network
More and more kids of all ages are experiencing discomfort, unease, and even anxiety and depression if they’re separated from their phones or tablets. YouTube boasts a number of “funny” videos of kids having tantrums when screens are taken away. But what can look funny at first is becoming unbalanced.
Along with all the benefits of tech and social media, there are also the very real drawbacks of cyber-bullying and social media addition. So it’s important to balance both children’s and adults’ life on the screen with more life in the real world.
Try these Unplugged 5Gs instead:
- Get Together
Plan “unplugged” play dates – put adults, teens, and kids back together with family, friends, and neighbors in person. Try board games instead of video games, build forts with sheets and chairs instead of cyberplanks and cyberstones. Have more real-life face time vs. phone face time.
- Get Outside
Fresh air, the backyard, the beach, and hiking trails should get as much time as screens. Have an outdoor scavenger hunt, plant a garden, or just sit and watch the birds and the wind. Building our relationship with nature increases our peace, positivity, and well-being vs. social media, which can have the opposite effect.
- Get Creative
Bake bread from scratch (yes, it’s possible!), write a song, tell a story, “paint” pictures all over your garage door with water and big brushes, knit, recreate your usual fast-food menu in your kitchen. Make sure you do it all imperfectly and revel in that! Creativity involves listening to our authentic selves and our inner wisdom and rejoicing in unexpected outcomes – the opposites of comparing ourselves to others on social media.
- Get Moving
Get off the chair or couch and walk, bike, swim, shoot hoops, stretch, ski, kayak, dance! Remind your body it can move into other positions besides “Looking at Screen.” Get your circulation going by stepping away from the blue light and into natural light. Resist the urge to post pictures for just one day.
- Get Mindful
Mindfulness is the act of paying attention to the present moment, without judgment. Acceptance – of ourselves, our experiences, and our lives – promotes peace within us, unlike much social media interaction, which promotes self-judgment, other-judgment, and increases anxiety and depression.
Practicing mindfulness and acceptance, even for short periods of time, helps retrain our brains to create peace and lovingkindness within us.
Clinical Psychologist | Speaker | Author, “The Fragrance of Wanderlust: How to Capture the Essence of Travel in Our Everyday Lives“
A social media detox minimizes our comparison to others
One tip to begin minimizing our dependency on social media is taking a weekly digital sabbatical. The first time opting for this can be quite difficult for people. The tic of our hand wants to reach for the phone the moment we get bored at home or in line at a grocery store.
We’ve become impatient and our attention levels have decreased over the years due to technology always being accessible. If 24 hours is impossible, then shift to delaying when you start using technology. Let it not be the first thing you do when you wake up, but maybe after you have done your other morning routines.
Be in control of when you use technology versus it controlling you. I highly recommend beginning a daily meditation or mindfulness practice to reign in your mind. Slow life down. The rest of the day will belong to others with meetings, expected email responses or text messages let the mornings and evenings be yours.
When we take a social media detox, it minimizes our comparison to others, brings a sense of ease and calmness to our lives, and allows us to be more present. My most recent book is below that discusses numerous daily mindfulness tips. We are our best selves when we travel, but how can we bring that to our daily lives. The book shares it below.
Dr. Mike Bishop
Psychologist with Camp Pocono Trails
Teens are more likely to adapt to a social media detox regimen while detoxing with peers
In our Technology Habit Reversal Track, it is our experience that after the initial detox period, campers find replacement activities quickly and can transfer their feelings of success online to an offline world. Young minds are able to quickly adapt as routines and interests change- especially if there is peer support helping the teen along.
We’ve found that teens are more likely to adapt to a social media detox regimen while detoxing with peers. The trick is finding replacement activities to replace the need social media fills- whether that’s connecting with others, or just dealing with boredom. When a group of people detoxes at the same time, they reach out to each other to fill socialization or boredom needs.
At Camp Pocono Trails, we introduce adolescents and teens to a wide variety of sports, activities, and classes geared to prepare them for success. With our therapists, nutritionists, and other professionals, campers leave in the best physical and mental shape of their lives.
Katie Ziskind, LMFT
Holistic Marriage and Family Therapist | Owner, Wisdom Within Counseling
Social media detox is a great way to refresh what is really important in your life
Doing a social media detox is a great way to refresh what is really important in your life, the people around you, and in-person, real relationships.
Being on social media can be really addicting, and can distract you from what’s really essentially important. By deleting social media apps and taking a month off of Facebook, you may find that you and your partner go for a walk after dinner, play a board game like monopoly, or have more time to cuddle with your cat. Throw the football around outside with your teenager instead of scrolling on Instagram for two hours, and be amazed at how your relationship improves.
By taking a social media detox, when you return, you will realize how much much it consumed your life. Social media detox is a great way to promote self-regulation and to get fresh air outdoors instead.
Dr. David Simonsen Ph.D., LMFT
One of the biggest benefits of a social media detox is that you immediately stop comparing yourself to everyone else. One may think they aren’t, but it happens even in the subtlest of way.
Perhaps you see a new slang and start using it or a popular hashtag starts appearing on your posts. Jealousy gets eliminate and judging others for just living their lives goes away. Being off social media allows you to interact with real people with real lives rather than real people showing their curated lives.
Seeing curated posts on social media slowly numbs one to reality.
Certified Mental Health Consultant | Relationship Expert | Dating Coach | Founder, Treeological
It will help you get over your FOMO
Some people experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) more than others, but it’s a real thing.
Social media is as addictive as drugs and nicotine. When you stay away from it for too long, you even feel withdrawal symptoms. When you get a notification, you must know what it is, and not clicking on it makes you feel like you’re truly missing out. Some time away from social media will help you get over your FOMO and realize you really aren’t missing much.
Bartender turned Best-selling Author of “Paper Maps, No Apps: An Unplugged Travel Adventure“
Because of a social media detox dare, my girlfriend and I are getting married
All because of a dare on a sixteen-day road trip, my girlfriend and I are getting married. The dare was a social media detox.
We set up rules to be 95% unplugged, and it changed our lives and inspired others to do the same. The first benefit we noticed almost immediately was a sense of freedom: Freedom from the digital leash. We are average users of social media and devices, but even at that, it is possible to miss serendipitous opportunities. Our phones were off, and a weight was lifted from our shoulders.
If we base our 95% formula on eight hours of sleep and sixteen waking hours, this leaves forty-eight minutes of online time if we chose to use this. We broke it up into twenty-four minutes in the morning and the same in the evening. The evening sessions were never used because we were too busy meeting people and learning about the cities and towns we were visiting. This was one of the amazing benefits of a social media detox. We did text our mothers and called them on Mother’s Day. I used my time to check business emails to book podcasts and radio interviews for the books that I write.
We enjoyed happy hour most days of our vacation. People responded to us differently because we showed up differently. We showed up with our shoulders back and chins up, not buried in our devices. There were servers and bartenders that would ask us, “What is going on with you two? You seem very alert and chipper.”
This was the ice breaker to tell them of our experiment to unplug and take on a social media/device detox. Even at 95% unplugged, it made such a difference. The next thing we know, the staff wanted to get to know us and take us around their town and show us the hidden gems. It was like a free local tour. We are still friends with dozens of people we met on our trip. That is my favorite benefit.
Not only was it the staff of the restaurants, but it was also the guests sitting nearby as well that joined us on these adventures. We felt like pied pipers some evenings.
One of the bartenders was leaving after her shift and made a point to come up to Kristy and me and tell us that we changed her perspective. Her name was Laura, and she genuinely thanked us. That was the moment we turned our little experiment and dare into a book idea. We inspired someone, which, in turn, inspired us.
We are not always successful, and it is still a challenge with the addicting technology in our hands. However, the road trip changed us. We are more aware of when and how much we are on our devices.
We listen to each other with undivided attention instead of being glued to our smartphones for social media updates, photos, liking, tagging, and even texting.
Our communication with each other has been elevated to the good old fashioned days of the early ’90s when we weren’t so distracted. The benefit of this is a much less distracted relationship. There isn’t as much frustration while trying to communicate. Relationships are hard enough sometimes and require a little TLC, and this is the perfect remedy.
Our wedding is set for the late fall of 2020. We are happier and more in love now than when we first met.
Nikola Djordjevic, MD
Medical Advisor, HealthCareers
It allows your mind to get some rest and re-focus
One of the main benefits of a social media detox is that it allows your mind to get some rest and re-focus.
Since we are constantly plugged into the internet and bombarded by notifications all day, our minds can use a break. Social media detoxes are a great way to get back in touch with what matters in life, such as spending time with close friends and family out in nature. After a few days of being off-line, you can then come back fresh and re-focused, with new goals and priorities.
Some have gone all the way with social media detoxing, never to return to Facebook and Instagram. If it significantly improves the quality of your life, including personal relationships, then you should consider never getting back on any social networks. After all, the majority of people don’t possess the self-control to use social media, and perhaps a cold-turkey permanent detox is the best way to go!
Writer | Consultant | Entrepreneur | Author, “The Checklist Book: Set Realistic Goals, Celebrate Tiny Wins, Reduce Stress and Overwhelm, and Feel Calmer Every Day“
Social media detox reduces stress levels
Several years ago, I pulled out a calculator and did some math. I was curious (and frankly, a little nervous) to find out, “How much time do I spend on social media every day? Week? Year?”
I crunched the numbers. I calculated how many minutes I spend on a typical day, then multiplied that by 365 to find the grand total for the year. (And then I considered how that number would continue to grow over the course of my life.)
It was a very big number. So big, I actually felt sick to my stomach.
That’s when I decided to take a *digital detox*. I took a 3-month month break from social media to give my brain a rest from all the digital noise, and re-evaluate the role that technology plays in my life.
After that “detox” period, I eventually decided to delete all my social media accounts, and completely remove social media from my life. This isn’t necessarily the right choice for everyone, but it felt right for me. I’ve never regretted it. I don’t feel I’ve “missed out” on anything important. My health has improved, and my relationships with friends and family have grown stronger, not weaker.
How to do a social media detox:
- Decide why this matters to you
Do you want to reduce stress in your life? Clear space in your brain? Spend more quality time with your loved ones? Connect with your motivations for doing this. This will help you stay committed.
- Start small
You don’t have to say, “I’m quitting social media forever.” You can decide, “I’m not using Instagram for five days, then I’ll re-evaluate and see how I feel.”
- Consider why you use social media, and how you could satisfy these needs in other (healthier, tech-free) ways
Do you reach for social media when you’re lonely, bored, or craving inspiration? How else could you satisfy this craving in another way? Choose a high-quality alternative.
Benefits of doing a social media detox:
- Clear space in your brain (less incoming information, more quiet)
- Reduce stress (cortisol) levels, get higher quality sleep, have more energy
- More time for things that matter to you: deep conversations with loved ones, journaling, meditation, and other things you yearn to do.
A checklist to help:
I made a checklist with suggestions on how to reduce screen-time and create healthier tech-habits. Less scrolling. More living. It’s free & you can download it here.
CMO for LetMeBank
For some of us, social media is a part of our business, so we can’t entirely escape.
We’ve all gotten to the stage where our social media platforms become a wall of noise, drama, negativity, and it can slowly start to replace our real lives. Regardless of how you use social media, even if it’s in a business sense, it’s vital to stop it from swallowing up your day. This becomes a problem when it’s part of your career.
Personally, I feel that every so often, we need to step away from our online lives, at least temporarily. In my case, it’s an integral part of my promotional activities, and that makes it difficult to fully detox, at least as I’d like to. If you’re in a role in your business where you literally cannot cut social media out of your life and adequately detox, there is still a good method you can use to improve your situation.
What I do when I feel the claws of social media dig in, is to switch to only business-related activities, and bail as soon as I find myself getting drawn into anything personal.
It’s not easy to keep yourself from getting sucked into online drama when you can’t entirely pull the wire, but you can at least limit your exposure to the problem. And the problem, in my opinion, isn’t the platforms themselves. It’s how people argue, create drama, and interact with them.
So at a minimum, if your career involves social media, and you can’t fully detox: keep it strictly for business purposes.
When you feel yourself reading about Margaret’s rage at some random cashier delays, and it’s nothing to do with you, click that ‘x’ and head back to what you’re supposed to be doing. I find the cause of the problem to be the drama people enjoy when they are safely hidden away behind a screen. And even if you are forced to use the platforms, you aren’t forced to engage in their drama.
Content manager, Muchneeded
Save your eyes from the glare
When you go on a social media detox, the number one benefit that’s not obvious is you give your eyes a much-needed rest. In this modern, digital world where everyone is glued to their devices from sunrise to sunset, the eyes take a beating. You sit in front of your computer at work for eight hours. When when you get home, you watch TV to unwind or browse your smartphone or tablet reading eBooks or watching videos. Throughout the day, you also update yourself on social media. You just spend so much time staring at the screen.
Studies show that all of these devices emit blue light, which is very harmful to you. It can weaken your eyes, making you prone to wearing corrective lenses. On top of that, they cause eye dryness because you stare at your gadgets for too long without blinking. When your eyes lack moisture, you cause further complications, such as being prone to sore eyes, sty, floaters, and other eye issues. When you do a social media detox, you give your eyes time to rest.
The eyes are often called the windows to the soul. This organ is indeed a crucial one because you cannot see the beauty of the world without your eyes. Most people do not even want to imagine their lives without their sense of sight. If you love your eyes, you will give them a regular break from all your gadgets to keep them from deteriorating. If your eyes are painful, scratchy, or tired, seek help from your ophthalmologist before it is too late. Don’t see the beauty of the world through your screen, but see the beauty by engaging with the real world.
Bond more with your loved ones
One of the main benefits of doing a social media detox is you can spend more time with your family. Make sure when you do your detox, you are all doing it together. Why waste time cultivating friends on social media apps just to get likes, shares, or comments that will do nothing for you in real life? Will all these Facebook friends or Instagram followers be with you when you have a problem?
Staying away from all your social media apps will free up your time. If you are like the rest of the world, it means you spend a lot of time on social media and you most likely have more than two accounts. You check them the moment you wake up, and they are also the last thing you view before you sleep. Instead of keeping your eyes connected to virtual reality, connect with real-life people who can enrich your life.
It is high time to go out with your friends for coffee so that you can have meaningful conversations without the distraction of your gadgets. Bond with your children by playing board games, going on nature walks, and doing crafts. Build lasting memories that matter instead of building a following on social media. Most social media followers are just curious, but your real-life connections genuinely care.
Content Writer, Hotels4Teams
I’m online quite a bit as a writer, but at one point, I did a social media detox that eased my anxiety and allowed me to focus on more fulfilling things.
It began when I took a much-needed vacation for a week, where I was completely without WiFi. I was at a beautiful beachside resort, and I hated the fact that whenever I took a picture, I immediately considered how it would look on Instagram.
After being unplugged for a significant amount of time, returning to “real life” filled me with dread. When I landed back home, I stared at my phone, terrified to turn it on, and deal with the onslaught of notifications that awaited me. So I didn’t. I deleted every single app without checking them and set forth on a month of a social-media-free life.
Here are the two main benefits I experienced:
Admittedly, I’m someone who struggles with self-esteem more than most. Social media aggravated this issue, so once I deleted it, I felt much better about myself. I wasn’t constantly exposed to the pristine, exciting, bleached, edited version of other people’s lives.
More free time
Like many people, I used to fall into a trance when checking social media. Suddenly more than an hour would pass, and I couldn’t recall one thing I’d read or seen. When all those apps were removed from the equation, I was able to read, sleep, and tidy up more.
Co-founder & CTO at NemaMetrix Inc
Social media detox is staying away from social media for a specific period. It could be a week, a month, or even completely “cutting off ties” with your social media circle. You have spare time and energy that can be better used in other areas.
Helpful to stop competing with others
Presently social media brings out a competitive streak in society. Most of the social media have become platforms where someone can boost his popularity, and promote a brand to get attention. People specifically share a post of their achievements to get more likes, comments, and followers.
It can spark an unhealthy obsession of striving to outdo those around you.
This type of competitiveness can cause you to suffer from anxiety or even depression and can affect health badly. Social media detox is helpful to learn that your worth as a person is not dictated by your reception on social media.
Helpful to stop comparing with others
Social media can cause you to compare yourself to those you follow or who you know. You cannot achieve all those things which your followers of social media friends in their life. There is no framework for how life should be, and you should not base your life expectations on your social media circle.
The social media detox can help you to break this unhealthy circle.
When you stop comparing your life to those on social media, you will be able to reconnect with your own life and relish what you have. You may not be in the same situation as someone else, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong, or you’re under-achieving.
There are a number of benefits regarding quitting social media accounts.
People often exaggerate things about themselves to make them appear better on social media. Then when you compare your own life to their Social Media life, you feel as if you aren’t as successful as them, which can dampen your mood.
Social media can indeed be addicting and suck a lot of time out of your day if you aren’t careful. By quitting social media completely, you can devote that time to activities that will enhance your own life.
Allow you to connect better with people
If you are constantly being distracted by social media, you may not be paying as much attention as you could be to those right in front of you. By quitting social media, you can form better relationships with family members, friends, significant others, etc.
Improved communication skills
This perhaps ties into the previous benefit, but if you spend more time directly talking to people, it will help to boost your communication skills. If people are buried in their phones and only communicate on social media, their communication skills will suffer as a result.
Outdoor Enthusiast | Author at Mom Goes Camping
Disconnecting online will make you feel less stressed
Social media is addictive and it’s really hard to do a detox when you have all of your gadgets nearby. For me, I’ve found the best solution is to go camping somewhere remote. When you don’t have a cell signal, internet connection, or even electricity, you have no choice but to disconnect from social media.
It’s amazing what a difference being disconnected makes, even if it’s just for a few days. I sleep better, feel less stressed, and actually enjoy time spent with my kids instead of feeling distracted and frazzled. I’m not alone in this. Numerous studies have found benefits of disconnecting in nature ranging from lowered blood pressure to resetting melatonin levels.
One thing that I find particularly interesting about disconnecting in nature is this: At home, I have a hard time not doing anything.
If I even have a few minutes of spare time, like while riding the bus or waiting for dinner to cook, I immediately grab my phone and check social media. Even though I know downtime is good for us, I never allow myself to just zone out. By contrast, I can sit in nature for hours not doing much of anything at all. It’s so calming to just relax while gazing at a gorgeous lake or watching wood burn on the campfire.
The idea of camping somewhere completely off-grid is understandably disconcerting to many. However, I’d recommend that everyone who feels stressed out by social media try camping or renting a cabin somewhere which at least doesn’t have internet. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it can make to your physical and mental health — and you won’t miss social media in the least.
Alesha R. Brown, MBA
Award-Winning Entrepreneur | Authors Consultant | Publisher | Transformational Speaker | CEO of Fruition Publishing Concierge Services
You will be able to center yourself on what matters
One of the key benefits of a social media detox is being able to center yourself on what matters. Social media is a powerful tool when used responsibly but dangerous when not.
Just like our children, adults are often distracted and can be discouraged by watching the seemingly perfect lives of their connections in comparison to theirs. Instead of focusing on their mission, purpose, self-improvement, and growth, many are discouraged by the skewed reality that social media can present. It is perfectly fine to root for our connections and celebrate their success, but it is more important to make sure we understand our journey and work towards the reality we desire.
Certified Mind-Body Wellness Coach, Amanda Webster Health
Limiting social media made a huge difference in my healing journey
Limiting social media is one of the top lifestyle changes I insist my clients make because it made such a huge difference in my healing journey and research only strengthens my experience.
From a physical standpoint, it makes us more sedentary and encourages bad posture which can lead to an array of health concerns such as poor digestion and poor circulation.
From a mental standpoint, social media increases feelings of jealousy, isolation and lowered self-esteem. Studies have consistently shown a direct link between increased social media usage and increased symptoms of depression.
Marketing Manager, UpFlip
It will allow you time to really focus on your own well-being
A social media detox can be beneficial in a variety of ways, but one of the most important is that it will allow you time to really focus on your own well-being. Social media, amidst its ability to help us keep in touch and provide a method of communication, can be exhausting and, in so many cases, even addicting.
It becomes so commonplace to grab your phone while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or when you should be enjoying your family’s company, and begin scrolling away.
A social media detox can provide some time to focus on things that you can’t seem to find time for, as 10 minutes here and 30 minutes there can add up. Have you ever popped in to look at Facebook and then realized that an hour had gone by? Take that time to read the book that’s accumulated dust on your nightstand table, or start brushing up on a few business skills that you’ve been hoping to add to your toolkit.
What’s important during your social media detox is that you spend that time on something that will ease your stress, improve your education, and make you feel really great about yourself. While you will undoubtedly go back to social media at some point, try to keep your time down to a minimum, as you’re already in the habit of doing so. It’ll be a great head start!
I’ve been given the gift of time
I began a social media detox a few months ago, and it ended up evolving into a complete lifestyle change.
The benefits have been numerous. I feel like my mental health has received an upgrade and – to be honest – I don’t find myself mad at the world nearly as much. (I’d seriously recommend detoxing from news website comment sections as well!)
But the most noticeable impact has been on free time. It’s easy to kid yourself about how much time all that endless scrolling adds up to, but it’s typically enough time to read lots of books or listen to lots of engaging podcasts. I still have to use some level of social media professionally, but my personal Facebook remains deactivated, and I’ve not logged on to my personal Twitter since before Christmas. I feel no desire to either.