Social media is a huge part of modern life, and there are some positives to using it – it keeps us connected with what’s happening in the world and friends, loved ones, and family members.
However, using social media is a slippery slope that can lead to addiction, anxiety, loneliness, depression, and low self-esteem.
Experts say that there is a healthy balance when it comes to using social media and suggest limiting yourself to 30 minutes per day, but it can take up to three weeks to notice the benefits of cutting down on your social media time.
A social media detox simply involves taking a break from social media. You can define what the looks like and how long of a break you need, but the more you limit yourself, the more you will reap the benefits.
But if you’re not sure whether or not a social media detox is necessary, here are some signs that it’s time to take a break from social media:
1. You Check Your Phone ALL THE TIME
You wake up and check your social media. You go to bed and check your social media. You sit down for supper and check your social media.
If you find that your phone is in your hand all day and you are constantly scrolling through your Facebook feed, it’s time for a social media break!
2. You Have To Charge Your Phone At Least Twice a Day
The battery in a brand new phone should last 24 hours – unless you’re constantly on social media and draining its life halfway through the day.
Granted, older phones likely need to be charged more even if you’re not using them, but if you find you are plugging in your phone multiple times throughout the day, it’s time to put it down for a while.
3. You Can’t Leave Your Phone or Turn Off the Notifications
Understandably, your phone is likely your primary source of contact, so you want to ensure it’s available in case of any emergencies.
However, you can turn up the ringer volume so you can leave your phone in another room. Likewise, if you’re out at the park or wandering the mall, you can leave it in your purse or pocket and listen for a call to come in.
People really do get separation anxiety when it comes to their phones and social media apps, and if you get nervous when you don’t have your phone in hand, you need to take a break.
4. You Post WAY Too Much on Social Media
Do you find yourself pausing during activities to snap a shot and share it to your Insta? The problem is that you’re missing out on the present and focused too much on sharing your life with others.
Especially if you are then waiting anxiously to see how many comments and likes you get.
Having a social media addiction, especially when it comes to oversharing your life, impedes actually building face-to-face connections in real life.
5. You Scroll Through Your Social Media Feeds for Hours
It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for hours. There’s so much information to read and so many updates from friends and family to see!
But think about the time you’re wasting on social media and what you could be doing instead! A few minutes here and there isn’t detrimental, but scrolling for hours is not healthy.
You could be focusing on your friends, hobbies, skills, health, responsibilities, and more.
6. You Treat Social Media Life Like Real Life
Do you ever feel offended that your best friend didn’t like your recent post? Or that your aunt didn’t wish you a Happy Birthday on Facebook? Or someone unfriended you?
Nowadays, so many people blur the line between social media life and real life. It’s not. It’s a virtual world where people are not obligated to give you any attention just because you have a presence there.
Real life is the world you see when you put your phone down. If you find yourself getting upset at people on social media for not engaging with you, it’s time for a break.
7. You Keep Comparing Yourself to Other People
A while ago, I wrote an article about social media and the pressure to be a perfect mom.
It’s amazing how easily we compare ourselves to the “real lives” of other people. The thing is, again, that social media is not real life, and what people portray is often not the truth.
That beautiful girl with the toned abs? She may be sucking in her gut. That beautiful family with the perfect-looking home? It’s probably chaos when mom isn’t snapping pictures.
If you have a difficult time reining in your jealousy and not comparing yourself to other people on social media, do yourself and your self-esteem a favor and take a break.
8. What You See Makes You Feel Worse
Apart from the self-esteem blow of seeing other people and their perfect lives, social media is also filled with the world’s harsh realities.
You may think you want to stay in the know regarding news and politics, but social media has a way of constantly shoving it in your face, playing on your emotions, and eliciting arguments.
It’s okay to keep up with the latest, but you can rely on news sites for this information. Please reconsider your social media habits if you can’t scroll through your social media feed without feeling sad, defeated, or angry.
9. You Have to Check Your Social Media When You’re Hanging Out With Other People
Are you that friend? The one that pulls their phone out while hanging out to check Facebook? The one that scrolls through Instagram while out for dinner?
Trust me when I say that you eventually reach an age where time with your friends is precious. We all have busy lives, so being able to spend time together is a gift.
Don’t waste it by diving into your social media feed. Put the phone away and take a social media break so you can truly enjoy your time with your friends.
Okay, I Agree – But How Do I Take a Break?
There are a few ways you can take a break from social media and keep your habits in line:
- Track Your Usage: You can download an app like Social Fever or Offtime to track your social media usage. You can then decide how much you want to cut back and go from there.
- Set a Social Media Schedule: Determine a time each day and week when you can check your social media accounts. For example, you can give yourself 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunchtime, and 10 minutes before bed.
- Use a Motivational Lock Screen: Set your phone’s lock screen to a motivational phrase or meme that reminds you of why it’s important to cut down on your social media time. Check out these social media detox quotes.
It’s Time to Take a Break From Social Media
Now more than ever, we need to focus less on what other people are doing and more on our mental health.
While you don’t have to sit down and practice mindfulness to be mindful (although it helps), simply refocusing your attention and energy back on the real world will help boost your self-esteem, improve your mental health, and help you live a more fulfilling life.