Why A Social Media Detox Could Be The Smartest Thing You’ll Do All Year
Within our lifetimes, one of the most remarkable phenomena has been the rise and rise of social media. What many outside of Silicon Valley predicted was a fab as risen to become the premier channels of news, communication and socialisation in must of our lives.
Unlike Gen Z, who are digital natives and have never known a world pre-Facebook, it's often the previous generations who can struggle with the all-consuming stranglehold social media can exercise on our lives. With the average person spending almost two hours a day refreshing their feeds, liking updates and posting comments, many of us begin to feel resentful at the irresistible lure and accompanying time drain it represents.
More and more of us are now choosing to practice periods of social media detox – to give ourselves mental space, to exercise control and freedom of choice, and to free up more time for other pursuits. Whether it’s a vacation or just a weekend, some smartphone-free time is now almost a status symbol in itself. Here’s why carrying out a social media detox could be the best thing you’ll do all year…
Rediscover The Real World
Ok, we’re not suggested you’re completely cut off (gotta go somewhere to get those shots for Instagram, right?) but in these days when you can order up everything from tonight’s takeout to tomorrow’s hot date without glancing up from your phone’s screen, its quite easy to feel disconnected from reality. So pack your detox time with real-world experiences to enjoy without the filter of a camera lens. Book those concerts through TicketOffices and then switch off. Allow yourself to experience the sights, smells and sounds without breaking off to post about it. Being in the moment is really valuable and will allow you to have a much richer experience.
Stop The FOMO
Social media has sparked a new wave of anxious conditions, from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) where everyone seems to be having a better time than you to the dreaded comparison of your life, holidays, home and thigh gap with old school friends and hordes of Insta-models. It sounds trivial, but comparing yourself to others is proven to have a negative impact on your mental health and can even lead to clinical depression. Despite the fact that we know people present more polished versions of their realities online, that doesn’t stop the insidious creep of feeling like everyone has it better than you. ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ as Roosevelt once said – how true that is today. So taking a break can stop this unhealthy cycle in its tracks.
Claim Back Your Free Time
It’s incredible how much of a time drain all that mindless scrolling on the sofa is – what could you do if you had that time back? With almost two hours daily coming back to you, you could start that new exercise regime, tackling some of the chores piling up or read that book you’ve meant to tackle. You could even take the time to actually call up a friend or family member or invite them out for coffee and have a proper conversation. Try and use some of the time to walk or exercise outdoors. Studies have shown that spending time outside during the day increases our levels of serotonin, the chemical that creates a good mood. Time spent offline could benefit your mental and physical health.
Leave The Past Behind
If there’s a traumatic event in your past, such as the loss of a loved one, or a bad break up, then your online world can become an echo chamber repeating memories back at you. And although this can create a weird kind of comfort initially, as time goes on, it becomes an unhealthy mechanism. To move on from our pasts, we have to let them go. Leaving social media for a time can give you enough space to begin the healing process. After all, if you continuously monitor your ex’s feeds, how can you be over them? Perhaps delete your Snapchat until you feel you really can be neutral about those pics of them with someone else. Consider blocking or muting people who provoke an adverse emotional reaction for you when you do return.
With so many mental and physical benefits of taking a social media holiday, why not give it a chance this year? It may seem hard at first, but the more you make it a part of your life, the more benefits you’ll experience. So go offline for a while – what’s the worst that could happen?