Parenting, in fact, living has been changing and evolving so much in the last twenty years. I sometimes feel like we are all involved in some grand experiment about how computers and smartphones will affect society. It seems I use my smart phone a million times a day and social media is the most addictive thing in the strangest way. You just constantly find yourself checking to see what is happening while you were away. And there is always some fabulous post about all the good food and cool places you are missing out on. If you find social media is increasing your anxiety levels, it may be time for a break from social media. This blog post discusses the addictive nature of social media, the importance of setting boundaries, and provides a step-by-step guide to successfully completing the detox challenge.
Are you tired of feeling chained to your smartphone? Does the constant scroll of social media leave you feeling drained and disconnected? It’s time for a change. In this article, we introduce the social media detox challenge – a powerful tool that has the potential to transform your entire relationship with technology. By breaking free from the addictive nature of social media, you can regain control of your digital life and find a sense of balance and fulfillment. From understanding the addictive pull of social media to setting boundaries and following a step-by-step guide, we will explore how this challenge can revolutionize your online experience. Get ready to embrace the transformation and discover the positive impact it can have on your overall well-being.
Studies have linked the use of social media to depression, anxiety, poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem, inattention, and hyperactivity — often in teens and adolescents. – Healthline
I happy to welcome Jill Sylvester, a mental health therapist and author to share with us her expertise on taking a break from social media. Jill Sylvester recently authored the self-help book, Trust Your Intuition: 100 Ways to Transform Anxiety and Depression for Stronger Mental Health (affiliate link below). It has a warm, conversational tone but helps coach you through feelings of anxiety and depression. You will learn helpful techniques she uses in her own private practice. Today, I get to share an excerpt from her new book, reprinted with permission, on why taking a break from social media may be just what you need to help ease your anxiety.
Feeling Anxious? Taking A Break From Social Media Could Help
by Jill Sylvester
Using technology for the good it provides, like staying connected, and doing research on topics you are interested in learning more about. Understand recognize though when the social media zaps your energy and you become unproductive. Like anything else, moderation is key. When you begin comparing yourself to everyone else’s perfect life, understand that is an illusion and if you spend too much time on social media, you can get swept away in that illusion, losing the vital force of your own life.
Taking breaks each day to read, engage in other activities, or better yet, connect with someone in person, is good practice. Set time limits for yourself, and schedule breaks. Know yourself and when you feel you need to step away and do that. Honor what you need and feel better from the stepping back of what might seem like fun but be unhealthy when you engage in social media for too long.
The Importance Of Taking Social Media Breaks
The following book excerpt has been adapted from Trust Your Intuition: 100 Ways to Transform Anxiety and Depression for Stronger Mental Health by Jill Sylvester, copyright (c) 2019. Published by Old Tree House Publishing.
Yes, even if you’re not a teenager. Take breaks from everyone else’s happy, perfect, beautiful lives. Trust me, as a therapist, I can tell you that’s likely not the whole picture. Feeling down often comes from comparing yourself to everyone else. If you start to feel bad from surfing online—or your body sends you a migraine—shut down the connection. Use technology for what you need. Social media can be an amazing tool. However, when you’re done researching for work or pleasure, shut the thing off and go read a book, go for a run, or even better—go talk to someone in person.
Use social media for good and recognize when the beast sucks your energy and you become unproductive. Like anything else, moderation is the best practice. I remember posting a picture on Instagram one Sunday morning of my perfectly set dining room table with a post that stated how everyone was home for breakfast and our family time together was going to be great. The table looked so inviting! Meanwhile, shortly after I posted, my son stayed in bed because he felt tired (from playing Fortnite) and I sat at the breakfast table feeling sad because the four of us weren’t sitting together like I planned. So much for the post! The picture looked great, but that’s not really how things went down.
Thanks again to Jill Sylvester for sharing on the importance of taking a social media break.
Call to Action- Do you need a social media break?
To truly grasp the power of the social media detox challenge, it’s important to first understand the addictive nature of social media. Our smartphones have become extensions of ourselves, always within reach and ready to deliver a hit of dopamine with every like, comment, or notification. The constant scroll of social media feeds keeps us hooked, craving the instant gratification that comes with each interaction.
This addictive pull is no accident. Social media platforms are expertly designed to keep us engaged for as long as possible, employing tactics such as infinite scrolling, autoplay videos, and personalized algorithms that serve up content tailored to our interests. They tap into our basic human need for connection and validation, keeping us glued to our screens and craving more.
As we spend more and more time on social media, we often find ourselves feeling drained and disconnected. The endless supply of information and the constant comparisons to others can leave us feeling overwhelmed and dissatisfied with our own lives. We may even experience a fear of missing out (FOMO) if we’re away from social media for too long. This unhealthy relationship with technology can negatively impact our mental health, productivity, and overall well-being.
How often do you engage in social media? What do you really need technology for? What time limit per day, per subject, would be healthy for you? How do you know when things become unhealthy? What are the signs your body gives you? They’re there. Trust those messages. Power down for periods of time when you’re at home. The information will still be there the following day. Make the choice to honor how you feel.
Here is a little inspiration for taking a break from social media.
Taking A Break From Social Media Quotes
“Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings and emotions.” -Will Smith
“Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.” -Erin Bury
“Sometimes you have to disconnect to reconnect.” –stylefox.co
“A little social media break never hurt.” –strandsocial
Setting Social Media Boundaries: Why It’s Important
In the following section, we will explore the importance of setting boundaries in our social media usage. These boundaries will enable us to create a healthier relationship with technology and ensure that social media enhances our lives rather than consumes them. Setting boundaries is not about completely cutting off social media or becoming anti-technology; it is about establishing a framework that allows us to regain control over our digital lives and prioritize our well-being.
When we don’t set boundaries, social media can easily seep into every aspect of our lives. We find ourselves mindlessly scrolling through feeds, constantly checking for notifications, and feeling the need to respond immediately to every message or comment. This constant connectivity can leave us feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and distracted from the real-world experiences happening right in front of us.
By setting boundaries, we give ourselves permission to unplug and create space for other activities that bring us joy, growth, and connection. It allows us to reclaim our time and energy, freeing us from the endless loop of comparison and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Instead of being controlled by social media, we become intentional about how we engage with it.
Setting boundaries can take many forms, depending on our individual needs and preferences. It could mean designating specific times of the day for social media use and sticking to those times. Turn off push notifications to reduce distractions and interruptions. It might also entail creating tech-free zones or activities, such as device-free meals or screen-free evenings before bed. The key is to be consistent and committed to these boundaries, making them non-negotiable parts of our daily routines.
The Digital Detox Challenge: Step-by-Step Guide
Here is a step-by-step guide to reclaiming control over our digital lives.
- Define your goals: Before embarking on a social media detox, it’s important to clarify what you hope to achieve. Are you looking to reduce screen time, improve productivity, or increase mental well-being? By defining your goals, you can tailor your detox to align with what you want to accomplish.
- Set clear boundaries: Determine specific limits for your social media usage. This could involve designating certain times of the day when you won’t check social media, or deciding on a maximum amount of time you’ll spend on these platforms. By setting clear boundaries, you create structure and prevent mindless scrolling.
- Identify triggers: Reflect on what triggers your excessive social media use. Is it boredom, loneliness, or a need for validation? Once you identify these triggers, you can find healthier alternatives to address them. For example, if you tend to reach for your phone when feeling bored, create a list of activities or hobbies to engage in instead.
- Audit your social media accounts: Take inventory of the social media platforms you use and evaluate their impact on your well-being. Consider unfollowing accounts that make you feel inferior or anxious, and focus on following content that inspires and uplifts you. Curate your social media experience to align with your values and goals.
- Explore alternative activities: Instead of reaching for your phone out of habit, discover new activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. This could involve reading a book, practicing a hobby, spending time outdoors, or connecting with loved ones offline. By actively seeking out meaningful experiences, you’ll naturally reduce your reliance on social media.
By following these steps, you can successfully navigate the social media detox challenge. With clear boundaries, a support system, and alternative activities, you’ll be well on your way to reaping the benefits of a detox and transforming your digital life for the better.
By consciously setting limits on your social media apps usage, you can free up valuable time and mental space to focus on what truly matters to you. Whether it’s spending quality time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies and passions, or simply enjoying some quiet moments of solitude, detaching from social media allows you to prioritize the things that bring genuine fulfillment to your life.
Replace the time spent on social media with activities that align with your interests and values. You can discover new passions and deepen existing ones. Whether it’s reading, exercising, pursuing creative outlets, or exploring the great outdoors, the possibilities are endless. Through these alternative activities, you’ll not only fill the void left by social media but also experience a greater sense of fulfillment and purpose in your daily life. Take this opportunity to enjoy interacting in person with friends and family.
So, are you ready to accept the challenge? Are you ready to prioritize your mental health, relationships, and overall well-being? Take the first step, detach from the digital world even for 24 hours, and see how it positively impacts your life!