how to take a social media hiatus the right way.What's the first thing you do in the morning after you wake up? Okay… but what’sreally the first thing you do? Let’s be real — for most of us, it’s not a sun salutation and a litre of celery juice. It probably looks something more like scrolling through social media, getting a cortisol spike from an ex’s post or the state of global affairs, and being overstimulated before your head has even left the pillow. I’m here to tell you: it doesn’t have to be this way! While social media has become a large part of how we communicate, socialize, and even work for some people, a designated social media detox can be very grounding and help us reset our priorities. Sometimes getting rid of the neuroticism and stress can be as simple as getting rid of the apps.
Whether you feel like it’s diminishing your attention span, making you ultra self-critical, or just simply distracting you from living your life, deleting the apps off your phone can be a much-needed reset. Are you having trouble sleeping at night? That could be your phone too — the blue light emitted by our devices can interfere with melatonin production, or the hormone that tells us it’s time for bed. In case you need a little more nudging…
- A break from social media gives you the space to step back and reflect on why you use it and what place it holds in your life. Does looking at fitness models bring you inspiration, or does it just make you feel inadequate and dissatisfied? Both answers can be true, but it’s up to you to figure that out for yourself.
- Social media exposes us to infinitely more bad news that we are built to withstand! Before social media, bad news was limited to word of mouth or the news if you tuned in on TV at the right time. Maybe you’d hear about a breakup or a layoff every once in a while, but this pales in comparison to the constant feed of worldly tragedies and doom-scrolling and the existential terror that comes with it. You can still support a cause without social media, so give yourself permission release any guilt about switching it all off for a while.
- It’s easy to forget that social media isn't real life. Everything is curated, even the posts that look effortless and throwaway (yup, this is a trend now too). On top of this, the algorithm is working overtime to keep you on a drip of content that is perfectly tailored to your likes, desires, and opinions. Despite appearances, it’s not a slice of the real world. Give yourself a chance to step back and form your own opinions and interests — life is boring if we’re all walking around repeating the same not-so-hot takes like parrots.
So you’ve decided to take a social media break! It’s okay to admit that it’s hard. No shame here. Here are some tips to make it more bearable:
- Try it out! You don’t have to go cold turkey for a full month. Test it out gradually — maybe it’s a four hour break or a no phones in bed rule to start. You can always redownload them. It’s all about — say it with me folks — being less shiddy.
- Find another activity to spend your free time doing. Maybe it’s learning how to crochet, reading, or going on walks. It’s important that we have leisure time, but rather than scrolling the supercharged apps, spend it doing something stimulating but neutral.
- Tell people! You don’t have to announce it on social media à la Miss Selena Gomez, but tell your friends, loved ones, or coworkers so you’re more likely to hold yourself accountable.
- The FOMO can be the worst part, but try to remember that if something important happens, someone will tell you. Most of what we fear we will be missing is just chatter anyway — if it’s important enough to alter your life in some way, trust you will be informed.