We are all the way in the social media age folks.
I remember way back in the day, when Myspace was the coolest website around (wasn’t it?) and Facebook was just beginning. I remember thinking, this seems pretty cool, but how many people are actually going to use this?
Fast forward to today: social media, digital technology and the Internet have become natural parts of our lives. The recent advancements in technology have changed the way we communicate, entertain ourselves and spend our time. (Especially the latter.)
I know I’m in good company with scrolling through Instagram multiple times a day, commenting on my favorite posts and watching (and re-watching) hilarious video clips. My social media usage is pretty high, considering how I spent my time years ago.
Being that many of us use social media so frequently, sometimes we may over-consume it. According to the Pew Research Center, adults are using social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, several times, every day. In many cases, social media has unconsciously become a routine part of our everyday life.
It’s then no surprise that taking an intentional break from social media has become more and more popular amongst folks who practice self-care. And this intentional break is sometimes referred to as a social media detox.
If you feel like taking a break from social media in an intentional way, here are some ideas to support you on your journey:
Reflect on your current usage.
When beginning this type of detox, its helpful to start with looking into how you are currently using social media. Ask yourself:
- When am I using social media?
- Am I aware of how often I’m using social media?
- What do I use social media for?
- What will I not be able to do when I am detoxing?
This knowledge will be helpful later, when you are actively detoxing.
Set your intentions and create realistic goals.
Once you’ve reviewed what your social media usage is, think about why you want to detox from it. For instance, you may have noticed that you are, in fact, spending too much of your time of social media. Or, you may feel short on time with your self-care and want to create more time for yourself by cutting down on using social media. As with many of our self-care practices, you will want to be intentional in your approach when interrupting long-standing patterns.
Reflect on why participating in a detox will be helpful to you:
- Why is a social media detox important to me right now?
- What do I hope will come out of me participating in this detox?
- How long do I want to detox from social media?
- What’s my goal(s) with completing this detox?
- What does detoxing from social media look like for me?
I want to emphasize the last question: you decide how and why you want to do a social media detox. You can detox for a day, a week, a month, or more. What’s most important is that you take time to reflect on what you need and how you want to get your needs met with this detox.
Find ways to stay accountable.
As with breaking any habitual behavior, there may be times where you may have to fight temptation to stay focused on your detox. While turning your device completely off is usually not an option that many of us have, you can use apps like Screen Time to help record or observe your time spent on apps in your phone.
Lean on your support system and use healthy distractions to deter you from breaking your detox goals. It helps to think ahead of time about what you think your obstacles might be and creating ideas to stay accountable.
Replace your time spent on social media with self-care.
Speaking of which, with all this time you’ll have back, how do you want to take care of yourself? Use the time you would spend on social media to engage in the self-care that you have been wanting to do.
Record, journal and process your detox experience.
Doing a social media detox can be a unique experience that you will want to remember. Record your experience using voice memos or a journal to recall things like: what you like about this experience; what was challenging and; how this detox has or has not been helpful to you. There’s a good chance you will want to listen or read back how this experience has been for you in the future.
How do you detox from social media?