June 9, 2023

Are you due for a Social Media Detox?

By Aspen Csaszar

Is your mental health declining?

Are you unsettled by the amount of time you spend on your phone each day?

When was the last time you did not check social media within 30 minutes of waking up?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may need a social media detox! Or at the very least, these questions can help you think about your social media usage and how it could be affecting your health.

Between class and assignments, we spend hours on our laptops a day. If we add social media and general phone time to the equation, we can spend more of our time awake on our devices than off them. If this is freaking you out, you’re not alone. But there is a solution! It may sound crazy, but I really suggest we all take social media detoxes (or breaks) periodically as a form of self-care.

According to this study published in 2018, social media usage is correlated to loneliness and depression. So check in with yourself: Are you feeling lonely? How about… depressed? Refraining from social media for a bit may not be the ONLY solution for these symptoms, but it is a good place to start. The study also concluded that limiting your SM usage to 30 minutes a “may lead to significant improvement in well-being.”

Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

3 signs you need a detox:

  1. You compulsively check social media
  2. You compare yourself to others constantly
  3. You post about everything you do, or you do things specifically to post them

After reflecting on your social media usage, you may come to the realization that you need some time away from your phone. This is totally normal. But how do you really DO it? You can delete all the SM applications from your phone at once, or if this is your first detox, I suggest easing into it by deleting your most-used apps first, then a day or two in, deleting the rest of your social media apps. Starting with a single day or a weekend is great! I find it easiest to detox from SM Monday-Thursday, but the duration of your detox is totally up to you! It really helps if you make a list of things you want to do during the detox instead of SM time, such as reading, exercising or learning something new.

I know it may sound crazy, but I have found that a couple of days (or weeks if I feel so inclined) without social media helps me clear my mind and refocus my energy on how I am feeling. I have better mornings, less anxiety and more free time when I am unconcerned with SM. But there are many benefits of a SM detox.

If the time isn’t perfect for a social media detox, this article suggests that putting a rubber band around your phone can also help curb your mindless scrolling. I haven’t tried that before but am excited to try that next.

There are plenty of options when it comes to detoxing from SM, but you surely won’t regret taking a break to reflect on your relationship with social media.

25 thoughts on “Are you due for a Social Media Detox?

  1. I am definitely in need of a detox! I find myself checking my phone at times when I have nothing I even need to look at. It brings stress and exhaustion. Loved this post! Great explanations.

  2. Very insightful post revolving around the modern issue of social media and mental health. The benefits to newer technology in terms of connection are incredible, however there is no doubt the impact it has had mentally on our society in all age groups. I think many people could benefit from social media detox, however it is difficult to do in a media age where businesses and jobs rely heavily on this technology.

  3. Your post was very inspiring! I never really thought about a set way to detox from social media and this really helps. We have been so in our phones since the pandemic started that I now catch myself using my phone in situations I didn’t usually.

  4. I loved this post! I think it’s really important to grasp this especially in the like of work we do since we are always on social media and need to keep up with the latest trends. Along with that since COVID started we are always looking at screens it is important to be able to step away for a little and restart your mind. I will have to try it!

  5. This was such a wonderful and well needed read!! Thank you Aspen. As someone with a screen time well over 6 hours each day I am painfully overdue for a social media detox. I think especially in times of remote learning it can be hard to disconnect from our phones as that often feels like our only option for connection with others, but I definitely think it leads to a lot of really negative and oftentimes harmful side effects. I just recently deleted Tik Tok and Instagram from my phone which are my two most used apps and its so shocking how much more time I have in my day when I’m not mindlessly scrolling on these apps. I think I’ll try to rubber band trick next!

  6. What an intriguing post! I have been feeling very similar to a couple of the signs you wrote about and want to detox. Thank you so much for including the 2018 study! I looked into it a bit more and will defiantly be practicing more phone usage control. A very insightful post. Great work!

  7. When I first started in the MABR program, we watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix and it made me realize how much I was on my phone. It made me feel like I was wasting my life. After doing some reflection, I ended up turning off notifications for everything except emails and text messages and it helped a lot! Fewer notifications meant fewer times I was prompted to visit a social media site for no reason. I ended up cutting my screen time almost in half. I would highly recommend it!

  8. This is such an important topic to discuss! It’s unbelievable the amount of time we all spend on our phones and how damaging social media can be to our mental health. Lately, I’ve been trying to stay off my phone more when I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed. I’ve found it helpful to set my phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ for certain times of the day to help give my eyes and brain a break.

  9. After reading this blog post, I definitely need a social media detox. It’s crazy how even when you delete some of your favorite SM applications, you’re still inclined to check them. It’s almost like muscle memory. It’s wild how addicted we are to our phones and constant need to check our phones or our feeds.

  10. The answer is yes! I (and everyone else) can probably use a social media detox. As I continue to mindlessly scroll through social media, I am constantly reminding myself that it doesn’t bring me any joy. So why can’t I delete it? You tell me. Really great blog post!

  11. Reading this article really made me step back and reflect on how much of my life revolves around screens! I waste so much time mindlessly scrolling between apps and passively taking in content. I think the pandemic has only heightened these problems, and going to class and work online doesn’t make it any easier to stop. I am definitely going to try out that rubber band trick!

  12. Hi Aspen,
    What an excellent post topic. I feel that the majority of people do not take enough breaks from social media and don’t realize how healthy/important social media detoxing is/can be. It’s just like being addicted to any other activity, you need to give yourself a break from it or you can damage your mental/physical health.

  13. Hi Aspen!
    Great article, I am totally in need of a social media detox. I often forget how healthy it is to take a break from my screens. Especially during the pandemic, my life revolves around being online all the time. I find it helpful to go on hikes/paint, or do anything that I used to do pre-pandemic as long as I am still socially distancing. Really great blog post and it was a nice reminder that I need a break from social media.

  14. I think social media detoxes are so important and most of the time, you don’t realize how much one can benefit you until you actually do it and can feel the benefits. My wake up calls are usually when I go somewhere where I don’t have service, like camping, and I’m forced to be off my phone that I realize how much I enjoy not being on it.

  15. Great blog post Aspen! I actually took some time to reflect after reading what you wrote about and realized that I may be due for a social media detox. I recently have tried to refrain from checking social media right as I wake up and so far I have not been successful. I think deleting the apps off your phone for a certain amount of time is the way to go!

  16. Aspen,
    This is such a pertinent topic and I really loved that you provided some helpful tips to curb our reliance on social media apps. I know personally whenever I am feeling overwhelmed or like I am playing the constant comparison game with my followers on social media I like to delete the apps off of my phone. It’s crazy how fast I am able to carry on with my day normally once the apps are gone whereas when they are on my phone I feel the need to be constantly plugged in. I think it is a excellent reminder that social media should be a benefit to our already amazing lives not the end-all-be-all.

  17. I definitely need a detox! I used to never think about needing to take time off social media but getting older has made me realize how much I use it. Freshman year of college I used to post everything I did on Snapchat and now I barley ever post anything to my story. I think growing older made me realize that social media doesn’t need to see everything I do. With that being said I still have so much room to grow; every morning I wake up and go on Instagram and TikTok for at least 30 minutes before getting out of bed.

  18. I am in need a detox! I have always thought that not having an Instagram or TicToc would help me to not use social media. Boy was I wrong! My screen time still is way higher than I would like it to be. I think eventually I want to delate every social media app on my phone such as snapchat and Facebook. I found that limiting your screen time in setting can help too.

  19. I think I’m in need of a detox. My screen time at this point is somewhat embarrassing. I will eventually start limiting my screen time. I thought it was interesting when you mentioned that higher levels of social media intake correlate with loneliness and depression rates. I think phones/social media are somewhat to blame for the bad mental health state the world is in. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  20. I need a detox ASAP! So much of our lives are on social media and trying to stay connected in fear of missing out on every little thing. I’m tired. Sometimes setting time limits on apps helps remind me of my usage and deter me from continuously scrolling. Thank you for giving me a sign I should take a break from social media!

  21. I am in need of a detox! I have never been a person to post everything I do but I find myself checking social media when I wake up even though nothing I see is usually that interesting. I find that spending too much time on it leads to comparing myself to others in an unhealthy way.

  22. Aspen,
    I’m very glad that you posted about this topic. Social media today is creating a very toxic environment filled with jealousy, depression and loneliness. I find myself constantly looking at my phone when I wake up and have free time during the day. I found it very interesting how social media usage can be directly related to you mental health. I’m for sure going to try detoxing after reading this. Great job!

  23. Hello Aspen,

    I really think its important for people to realize exactly how much time they engage with social media and their phones everyday. I stopped cold turkey once as a test to see if I would notice any changes. I found myself reaching for my phone an alarming number of times a day without even really thinking about it. I reached to check the Instagram app that was no longer there because I conditioned myself unintentionally to do so. I really do agree with you and think it is healthy to engage in a social media detox every so often.

  24. Hello Aspen, great article. This is something that I have been gradually doing over time. However, rather than deleting my app for a set amount of time, I slowly prepare to leave the app for good. Unless I am needed to re-download it for work or school. For example, I left Facebook and Twitter as I found that I was using them as a way to enter debates online. While it did allow me to practice my communication skills, I found that I was focusing on them much more than I should have for what they are. I am currently leaving Snapchat, so wish me luck!

  25. Yes, I am due for a social media detox! I am constantly finding myself comparing my life to what I see on social media. I hardly actually post on social media, but my first instinct when I’m bored is to pick up my phone and start scrolling. And more often than not, I don’t even find anything I’m seeing that interesting… it’s just out of habit at this point!

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