If you’re feeling drained, stressed, or over-exposed you might need a social media detox. A detox can be your social media reset button. Use these signs here to determine if you’re ready to take control and re-focus.
When It’s Time for a Social Media Detox
How do you know when it’s time to give a break, like a social media detox? It seems like the sob-stories on Facebook and videos on Instagram never end. Calling it quits can be hard, but you’ll enjoy every minute you get back that otherwise would have gone to social media.
These are the can’t miss signs that you need a social media detox. Knowing how to create a schedule that keeps your mind off technology helps a lot.
Doing Social Media Detox: You’re Stressed and Don’t Know Why
This stress seems like it comes out of nowhere. Even though adults face various levels of stress throughout any day an overall increase won’t go unnoticed. The occasional rough day isn’t anything to worry about. But, if you can feel your heart race when you phone chimes, that’s unnecessary stress.
Increased stress levels are visible in lost sleep, feelings of isolation, and anxiety. If you previously haven’t had issues with anxiety or depression you need a break from social media.
Studies show that taking a social media detox implies positive effects on your personality and behavior. Why does social media make us more stressed? There are a few reasons behind the added stress that social media produces:
- People don’t post about everyday stress.
- Pressure to respond
- Hyper-connectedness through social media cultivates feelings of loneliness.
That’s right. A forum made to make it easier to talk to nearly anyone in the world can make you feel completely alone.
If you’re feeling isolated, or can’t pinpoint where your stress is coming from, it’s time for a social media detox. Many people, however, miss the apparent association between social media and this type of pressure. Instead, they feel propelled into the next major sign that you need a break from social media.
Confusing Your Best “Self” or Your Best “Online Self”
You, like nearly everyone else, probably have an ideal image of yourself. Maybe your ideal self will take long walks on a moonlit beach, or drink fancy coffee in French cafes. But, a lot of people lose this unique version of their ideal self when they start seeing posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
When you’re looking at what other people are doing on their accounts, it is easy to wonder why you aren’t doing those activities too. But, there is a line that you shouldn’t cross. You should never feel compelled to change your goals based on what you see on someone’s page.
This issue comes up most often with financial situations and celebrity pages. You may enjoy following high profile celebrities, but if it makes you feel that you’re trapped because you can’t travel the way they do, you need a break.
Keep your “ideal self” in mind as you scroll through the social media site of your choice. If you aren’t an outdoorsy person, know that you won’t enjoy a weekend in Big Sur or white water rafting.
If you find yourself digging up old photos to show yourself in a happier light, you need a break. The pressure to make your online self a better version of you can lead to depression. The occasional break from your social media accounts can help you focus on what is important to you.
There is Clear Strain in Your Relationships
Whether it’s with a significant other, a friend, or a relative; relationships are essential to your happiness. But, it’s well-known that social media adds another layer of stress and strain to any relationship. This leads us to understand the negative effects of technology on our daily lives.
Everyone knows someone that feels like every post is about them. Or, they have had the fear that posting something would make someone feel singled out. These concerns are typical in any group setting. But, when you’re handling these issues, face-to-face, you can use body language or verbally express the feelings behind your statement.
You could easily insult one of your close friends online, and not realize it until your next meeting with them is a disaster. There’s also the illusion of friendship online. Courtesy friend requests quickly turn into courtesy invites, and suddenly you’re locked into an association that neither of you wanted in the first place.
Take a breath and reexamine the people who are important in your life. If you know the people who are close to you are looking for a little gratification on social media, that’s one thing. But if you feel compelled to engage with people you never plan to see again, that is unnecessary stress. Pour yourself into the relationships that deserve your attention.
There is also the concern about what other people post that could strain your close relationships. Anyone who grew up before Myspace took off might not realize that tagging people in a photo are a dangerous business.
If you are feeling the need to ask people not to tag you in photos, it’s probably better to pull the plug on your account. Then they won’t have the option to tag you.
Your Private Life is Now Public
From skipping work for a day at the beach, or keeping your newest relationship quiet for a while, many people have fallen prey to accidental overexposure. People will likely share stories or photos including you that you didn’t have a chance to approve. This oversharing seems to happen to everyone. But, when it becomes overwhelming, and your private life is at stake, you need some time for social media detox.
If you’re a person who lives through multiple compartments of life, it may be best to avoid social media at all. A social media detox can help you identify if you really need to stay signed in or not. When you’re glancing down at your phone, do you cringe because someone tagged you in a video instead of sending it to you directly?
Do you find yourself scraping for the quiet corners of your life? If you can’t feel secure about your private life, you need technology detox and fast.
To start a social media detox because of this particular problem, it’s best to weed out the worst of the bunch first. Don’t check your notifications, and don’t like or share anything to be polite. Remember that technology dependency implies an adverse effect on our health.
You Never Have Time for Anything
Is it surprising to know that most adults spend over 2 hours a day on social media? That’s about 14 hours a week, but no one has time for anything because we are all so busy. If you’re feeling stressed because you don’t have time for important things, it’s time to put the phone down.
Because most social media activity takes place on mobile phones, it’s far too easy to keep checking in for updates. But, the minutes quickly turn to hours and soon enough you’re rushing out the door half asleep when you could be fully ready and well rested.
There are many apps available that will track how many times you check one of your social media accounts on your phone. Monitoring is the first step to controlling this reflexive behavior. But, if you want to take advantage of your time, you’ll start a social media detox.
A detox is a starting point for gaining control over your social media behavior. This behavior can include deciding when you check your accounts, how often you respond, and ultimately how much time you’ll allow yourself to spend scrolling.
When you are short on time, it’s easy to overlook checking a few things on your phone. But it’s hard to realize how often you get sucked into the Facebook or Instagram vortex. Even Twitter is highly addictive. When it comes to your time, you should never feel like social media must come first.
Your “High-Risk” Activity is Increasing
Although there is a lot of debate on what constitutes “high-risk” you can tell if you’re engaging in behavior that you consider high-risk. For the sake of setting a standard, let’s say that high-risk is any activity which could lead to physical harm. Whether that harm is to yourself or another person, it’s an unnecessarily high risk.
The most common example is scrolling through social media when driving. Clearly, the dangers of texting and driving are well-known. But many people don’t realize that stopping to read a Facebook post or like an Instagram photo at a stop sign is also dangerous.
When you take the focus off of important activities such as driving, you can endanger yourself and others. The same could be said at the beach. Many honest accidents happen because a parent or guardian looked away for a moment. If you realize that you’re spending more time trying to find the perfect filter than paying attention to the task at hand, you need a social media detox and fast.
Because social media uses an engagement promoting platform, it’s easy for people to see posts of high-risk behavior and want to emulate this image. Similar to original marketing campaigns from cigarette companies, people can promote high-risk behavior on their accounts as fun or inclusive. Although it’s indirectly related, social media can normalize behaviors that show excess.
Why You Should Start a Social Media Detox
If you notice that you’re engaging in high-risk behaviors or have lost control over what is private in your life, it’s time to call it quits. Give social media a break. You don’t have to give it up forever. Take a break and learn how to unplug yourself from technology.
Starting a social media detox can help you gain control over your social media habits. When you decide how you want to use social media you can set boundaries for yourself and communicate these to the people you connect with.