When we talk about detox, we’re usually thinking about ways to remove synthetic chemicals and other harmful substances from our bodies and environments. But what if those harmful substances are virtual? That’s when it’s time for a social media detox.
And most of us could really use one. According to a 2021 Pew Research study, 30 percent of American adults say that they are online “almost constantly,” including 44 percent of adults age 18–49. That’s especially disturbing when you consider a 2017 study published in Computers in Human Behavior, which found that using more social media platforms is directly related to increased levels of depression and anxiety.
The good news? A basic social media detox can be as simple as limiting screen time. A few seemingly small changes—from avoiding all nonwork-related social media platforms and setting daily time restrictions to simply not checking your phone or email when you wake up and before you go to bed—can make a huge impact, says Cal Newport, author of Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. They pay off: Limiting the use of social media to 30 minutes per day for three weeks decreased loneliness and depression, according to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. In January 2021, Tokmatik, a TikTok marketing and analytics firm, conducted a poll which found that more than 40% of TikTok users spend more than an hour a day on the platform. Additionally, these users are at increased likelihood of anxiety disorders, stressing over the number of followers, likes, and views their content has.
So, how do you minimize burnout and detox from social media while staying connected? Just try some of these simple mindfulness practices.
Socially Distance from Your Timeline
Taking time off social media allows us to find other ways to connect with loved ones while cultivating intentional moments of personal practice. Replace the scroll with self-exploration and deep creative work: Practice mindful movement, center yourself for meditation, or simply take some time in nature.
Take Your Own Pulse
Practice self-study by asking yourself where your feelings are stemming from. Then, instead of posting, journal about your inner thoughts. Detox by giving yourself time to fully process your emotions through meditation and contemplation instead of posting every thought on social media.
Set Your Social Media Intention
Making social media less toxic starts with you. Before you post, ask yourself, “What are my intentions for this post?” Are you looking to inform your digital community about an important issue—or to grab some attention or praise? Be honest. Then, practice a grounding exercise to root back to your core values and stay in alignment with how you want to share yourself with the world.
Build a Community, Not a Following
Feel like you spend all of your time online attracting an audience to promote your work? Instead, pour that energy into creating content that will be meaningful to your existing community. Take stock of who has been supporting you and look for ways to keep them engaged.
Put Presence Over Perfection
Wherever you are, practice being fully present in your current moment rather than trying to capture a winning photo. Some moments are simply just for you, and that’s enough. Maintaining your own well-being and peace will keep you balanced and mentally resilient.
Measuring your worth based on “likes” doesn’t support mental well-being. Meditate, do some at-home spa treatments, and write in a gratitude journal when you’re feeling like you need some self-affirming pick-me-ups.
Studies show that social media disrupts our natural sleeping patterns—so we get less sleep and feel more fatigued throughout the day. After-hours work emails aren’t more urgent than your well-being. Remember to take intentional moments to rest.
from Yoga Journal