It’s easy to get sucked into social media for hours at a time, blinded to the fact that it’s not images of reality you’re looking at, but a carefully curated version of lives. Since the pandemic, social media usage has skyrocketed. We’re alone at home with our phones and a serious case of cabin fever, which is a recipe for disaster.
Social media allows us to connect with friends all over the globe while sharing thoughts, photos, and milestones. But it’s a double-edged sword. Going on it too much can lead to unhealthy comparisons, low self-esteem, and hours of potential quality-time thrown out the window as you mindlessly scroll through your feed. We all go through a range of different emotions when we’re scrolling through those accounts, and it can leave us feeling jealous, emotionally exhausted, and overly critical of our own lives.
There’s a reason why one of the biggest causes of loneliness and depression is social media usage. One study suggests that the performative nature of posting your life online can “promote narcissistic behavior” — and even cause it.
It’s ironic – there’s an entire web of people around the globe socializing, with no attempt to forge a deeper connection. So we suggest “unplugging.” Whether it’s temporary or permanent, a social media “detox” can help clear your mind of the clutter, encourage self-love, and help you reconnect to reality. Many of us are addicted to apps, and a withdrawal (though it might make you panic initially) can ultimately help you be less stressed and more mindful.
Don’t let your life pass you by. When you’re not staring at your phone or computer screen, the possibilities are endless!
How to go on a detox – tips to unplug
1) If the idea of deleting your account is too overwhelming, start by limiting your usage to 10 minutes a day, per platform. Simply reducing time on these apps can positively affect your well-being. Minutes, hours, or days all make a big difference.
2) Stop following “influencers.” They only encourage more comparison and self-criticism. Remember the days of Facebook, when it was just friends, family, and acquaintances? Hit “unfollow” on the celebs and influencers so only real friends that bring you joy remain.
3) Distract yourself with hobbies, chores, and activities. Every time you want to pull out your phone, have a shortlist of other things you can do. Read a book, wash the dishes, walk your dog, or get in a short workout.
4) Delete social media apps that aren’t essential for work. Although it feels like phantom-limb syndrome for a short while, you can unlearn that pattern and won’t miss that app so much.
5) Get comfortable with “alone time.”
Sometimes it’s scary to be alone with your thoughts, but it’s the most valuable skill you can learn. There are less handy distractions around with coronavirus, and alone time is pretty fantastic once you learn to appreciate it.
6) Practice meditation. While the idea of passive meditation is boring to those of us who can’t sit still, active meditation can include adult coloring books, knitting, yoga, and more.
7) Reconnect with nature and leave the phone at home. Go on a hike, a bike ride, or even sit on a bench at your local park. Observe the world around you and soak in the calming qualities of nature.
A final note
These are all just reminders on how to live in the moment and make the most of your time.
During this time, many of us are seeking connection more than ever, and it’s important to get your social needs met. But try to resist the urge to superficially “skim” – instead, work on meaningful connections and attempt to go deeper, even if it’s not that easy. It’s worth the effort.