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There’s now a growing body of research evidence to suggest that a social media detox could be good for your mental, physical and emotional health. The reality is that social media can have a huge impact on how we view ourselves, what types of relationships we have, and even how much sleep we get each night. A social media detox can help to get our lives back in balance. In fact, going on a social media detox has gone mainstream, with some of the biggest celebrities in the world now exiting social media for weeks or months at a time to re-charge and reconnect.
Reasons to do a social media detox
If you’re staring at perfectly curated Instagram photos for hours each day, you could be falling into a black hole of lost time. Instead of taking care of important tasks or responsibilities, you’re simply clicking on photos and handing out likes. And that’s in a best-case scenario. In a worst-case scenario, seeing your friends having such perfect lives (or, at least, what appear to be perfect lives) can take a real toll on your psyche. Even in older adults, it can actually lead to feelings of anxiety and self-doubt.
Moreover, social media can actually lead to people feeling lonelier and more isolated. That sort of defeats the whole premise of social media, which was supposed to make us feel more connected. Yet, so many people now complain that all of the contradictory feelings produced by social media – such as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) – can be overwhelming. Not to mention the fact that social media leads to all kinds of “echo chamber” effects, in which you are only shown the same type of content, over and over again. Instead of being exposed to healthy debates and diverse criticism, everybody seems to be saying the same thing, with many of them doing it ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS or with annoying emoticons.
How to do a social media detox
So how do you break out of the social media rut? The easiest way is with a social media detox, in which you slowly wean yourself off social media. It’s sort of like doing a juice cleanse – you can make it as intense as you want. The first step of a social media detox is simply turning off all those annoying messages, pings and alerts on your smart phone (“Friend X has just posted a new photo!” “Friend Y is celebrating a work anniversary!” “Friend Z has just tweeted for the first time in awhile!”). At the same time, you’ll need to stop visiting all of your favorite social networking apps. Fight the temptation to open up Instagram and check out the latest Instagram Stories. If need be, delete the app from your phone.
The social media detox, celebrity-style
It’s actually easier than it sounds. Just consider all of the famous celebrities who have done a social media detox at one time or another – everyone from Arianna Grande to Kim Kardashian – and you can start to see why the process of getting away from social media for awhile can help to re-charge and reconnect. Who knows? You might just start meeting your friends in real life, rather than living vicariously through their photos and updates. And you might discover that you’re a lot more focused and living “in the now” than ever before.