Social media user numbers continue to grow. In fact, the average person spends at least 1 hour and 40 minutes per day looking at their favorite social media sites and apps. This is an astounding amount of time that could be spent in other ways, but it is also indicative of the current social and business culture.
However, this doesn’t mean that spending this much time on social media is good for you. Although your work may require you to remain social online during business hours, it can be very helpful to detox over the weekend or during a vacation.
1. Break the Social Comparison Cycle
Scientists have discovered that most people who use social media end up comparing themselves to the lives of everyone they know. The problem with this is that it can have a serious impact on your self-esteem.
For example, if everyone you know is getting married and having babies but you’re still single, you may end up feeling isolated and lonely. This can even lead to serious depression for some people. Break away from this unhealthy cycle by taking a break from social media so that you can reconnect with all of the awesome things in your life.
2. Protect Your Privacy
Therefore, if you don’t want Facebook to have access to your telephone number, make sure that you don’t have both apps installed on your phone. Even better, you can take a social media detox that includes deleting your apps and accounts to provide yourself with the best possible privacy protection.
3. You’ll Stop Feeling So Competitive
Even if you aren’t aware of it, social media brings out your competitive side. This is because the main basis of social media networks such as Facebook is to attract attention to your posts. Each reaction and comment is a measure of how popular a particular post is, which can make you strive to outdo others and even yourself.
This type of competitiveness is not healthy, and it can cause anxiety and depression. Take a mental health break by stepping away from social media for a while!
4. Improve Your Overall Mood
Studies have discovered that the more time you spend on a social media site, the more likely you are to develop depression. Additionally, the amount of time you spend on these sites is directly related to whether or not you feel stressed out or happy.
In other words, if you’ve been feeling highly anxious, stressed out or depressed, this is a good time to take a social media detox. It may feel weird at first, but your overall mood should begin to improve as you stay away from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.
5. Conquer Your Fear of Missing Out
Computer World has pointed out that social media is engineered to be as addictive as crack cocaine. This isn’t just hyperbole; when you first stop using social media, you can expect to feel withdrawal symptoms. Scientists say that this is due to the naturally ingrained fear of missing out. After all, you could miss something entertaining or important if you step away from your laptop or smartphone.
The notification number makes it even harder to stay away. But those who become addicted to social media can end up destroying their personal and professional relationships. You can minimize this effect after your detox by scheduling a once a day visit to your favorite social media sites. After that visit is over, do not look at social media for the rest of the day.
6. Reconnect with the Real World
Do you connect well with others online but find yourself never connecting in person? This can be ideal for introverts, but we all still have the need for some in-person human contact. Sadly, people who spend a lot of time on social media sites report feeling lonely and isolated in real life. They are also more likely to suffer from a weakened immune system.
The good news is that even if you’re an introvert and uncomfortable with a lot of in-person interaction, you can boost your mood by simply going out in public. Take yourself to your favorite park or restaurant if you prefer to be alone. You could even go to a movie or concert. If you want to make new friends, consider using a service such as MeetUp to find like-minded individuals.
7. Begin Living in the Moment
Do you post everything you do to Facebook while each activity or life event is actually happening? There have even been instances of people updating their Facebook and Twitter accounts from the altar immediately after getting married.
This is a viable way to document your life, but it can also become a burden that takes you out of the moment. If you’re living everything through the lens of social media instead of directly interacting with it, your experiences are going to be of a lower quality and become less memorable.
8. Stop Obsessing Over the Past
Do you spend a lot of time looking at old tweets or Facebook stalking your ex? This can keep you stuck in a negative headspace, and it makes it much more difficult to recover from a breakup.
Leaving social media behind for a while can give you the space you need to stop obsessing and actually move on with your life. Make sure that when you do return to social media that you take the extra step of blocking exes or anyone else who it pains you to see online. You can also tweak your Facebook memories to remove certain items so that you stop being reminded of them.
9. Gain a Lot of Free Time
Do you feel like you never have enough time to exercise, read or clean your house? Putting social media on pause will help you regain almost 2 hours daily, during which you can devote your energy to improving your life. Walking for 30 minutes per day offers huge physical and mental health benefits, which makes it a much better usage of your time than scrolling through your Facebook news feed. You will also feel less stressed out if you take some time to get your house in order.
If you have a difficult time unplugging completely, consider visiting one of the many websites that offer educational benefits instead. Taking a free course on a topic of interest is definitely a better way to spend your time, and it can enrich your personal and professional lives.
Featured photo credit: By Tomwsulcer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons via commons.wikimedia.org