In my previous post, I talked about my reasons for deactivating Facebook. It’s been a year, and I haven’t looked back. I mentioned some of the negativity I felt about being online. But are there bigger affects that social media can be having on our lives? In order to answer that question, I think we need to consider how we are using social media. Are you on Twitter simply to check out what’s happening in the world? Or are you using it as a way to make a decision? I know people who go online to get advice from their social network. Is that necessary? Shouldn’t you keep that for your “real life” friends or family? Or do you use social media to escape your own existence?
Social media forces us to live online. And in many ways that is great. I can connect with people remotely. Which means that I don’t have to physically go somewhere to have a conversation with someone. But the overuse of social media can lead to – social isolation, loneliness, and depression. Which can negatively impact your relationships and well-being. I certainly felt it. I would like to point out that I had other things going on in my life at the time, so Facebook wasn’t the sole cause to my depression, but it was a contributing factor.
Why did I hold on for so long? Some would suggest that I was suffering from the fear of missing out (FOMO). Maybe I was. Perhaps I was using it as a way to feel involved when I didn’t actually have to be. As I said in my previous post, perhaps I was wanting to creep into people’s lives without having to put in any kind of effort. And all of that was making me feel worse about my own life. It’s kind of a vicious cycle in a way. Have a look at the video below and you will understand what I was feeling, and where I’m coming from now.
How do you know if it’s time for a detox?
- Are you feeling overstimulated? The information you get from social media is constant and requiring you to process it all at once. This can lead to anxiety for sure.
- Are you feeling a lack of creativity? I see ideas online, and you quickly start to wonder who’s idea it was in the first place.
- You will likely start to see a decline in your real life relationships. When was the last time you had a conversation with your partner – IRL?
- If you find yourself looking at your phone at 2 am, just wondering if someone has messaged you on Facebook, you need some help.
- Lastly, keep track of how much time you’re spending on social media. Sure you pick your phone up to have a quick look at Twitter, but before you know it a half an hour has gone by. That time adds up. Keep track of it and you will notice a pattern.
All that being said – do you think you need a social media detox? Would you be able to do it? Some people are quite extreme in that they do these cleanses for weeks or even a month at a time. If you are fed up, then you might be able to achieve this successfully. But if you’re on the fence about it, ease your way into it.
- Start by turning off the notifications on your phone. Not just the ones that will pop up on your devices, but also turn off the email notifications. You’ll still want to look at your phone, but you won’t be tempted every time you get a notification.
- Implement specific times of the day that you want to look. Do this only if you need to. Also, set a timer so that you limit yourself. Try to ease off after a week and keep doing this until you feel like you don’t need the timer anymore.
- You might even want to pick a day where you don’t look at social media at all. Like Sunday for example.
There are so many better ways that you can use your time, so why waste it on social media? Don’t get me wrong, social media is an incredibly powerful tool and I think it has some really great benefits, but there are so many people who aren’t able to use it in moderation. If you’re one of those people who aren’t able to, try some of these steps and see if it improves. Or you might try something drastic like a 30-day social media detox. Whatever works for you. You will start to feel happier, lighter and even more present. Which are all good things. If you’ve tried a social media detox, let us know how it worked for you and how long you were able to do it for.