Here’s Why You Need a Social Media Detox

unhappy woman looking at her phone
You're probably spending more time on social media than you realize. Here's why it's time to take a short break from it all.

At this point, it’s pretty well known that social media isn’t that great for us. Sure, social media does have its benefits. The most obvious benefit is the ability to stay in contact with people we don’t normally get to see. We can now remain connected with people who live halfway across the globe. And it’s all done in an instant. No more playing phone tag or waiting on letters to arrive.

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Social media can help you discover events happening in your area. People are learning new recipes, making their lives easier with hacks, and even discovering new things they’ve never heard of. There are groups for finding lost pets and support groups for just about anything. Hey, you can even shop on social media networks these days.

At the same time, too much time perusing the likes of Facebook or TikTok can have negative effects on your mental and physical health. And we are certainly spending a lot of time online. The average person in the United States spends more than two hours looking at social media.

That seems like a lot of time, doesn’t it? When I first saw that statistic, I thought surely that isn’t me. There is no way I’m spending that much time looking at my phone. Sound familiar? Just take a second to think about how many times you check your phone (or tablet or computer) each day. It really starts to add up. Our social media habits can easily start consuming our lives.

All that time doom scrolling, and you’re bound to already realize that all that time on social media isn’t exactly great for your mental health. Not to mention, it’s also not good for your physical health either. In an effort to take better care of yourself, a good social media detox might be in order!

How Long is a Social Media Detox?

So, you know you need to step away from the scrolling, but how long should you do it for? There isn’t really a set time that will work for everyone. Like plenty of other things, the length of your detox depends entirely on you and your situation.

For instance, your job might require you to use social media, so signing off for a lengthy period of time definitely isn’t an option. Or, maybe you have family members that live really far away, and social media is the only way you get to see them regularly.

The good news is that even a short detox can provide plenty of benefits. But if you do a quick detox and decide the benefits far outweigh the use of Facebook and the like, then by all means, sign off for as long as you like!

To start out, a good 48-hour detox is probably a good length of time. You know, just over a weekend. Even during just those couple of days, you’ll start to feel better. And who knows, you might even make unplugging a weekend tradition!

The Benefits of a Social Media Detox

Let’s go over some of the benefits you’ll see with a social media detox. Some of these you might notice pretty quickly, while others might take more time.

You Will Improve Your Overall Mood

sad woman thinking, sitting on sofa

The more time you spend on social media, the more likely you are to end up feeling crummy. Not only does spending all that time scrolling leave you feeling disconnected from the real world, but it has also been linked to a greater risk of developing depression. On top of that, feeds filled with angry rants, tragic news, and other negative content will leave you feeling low, anxious, angry, or aggravated.

Social media also makes us feel more competitive and anxious. That’s because the main basis of these networks is to attract attention to your posts. You might find yourself obsessively checking back and getting anxious about how well a post is doing. It can also make us feel really competitive, striving to outdo others or even our past posts.

But stepping away from all that – even for just a couple of days – can improve your overall mood. You will likely notice a swift change after you step away from social media.

You Will Gain More Self-Confidence

Even if your social media feeds aren’t filled with depressing news and angry rants, the positive stuff can be hurting your mental health, too. That’s because comparing ourselves to what we’re seeing is unavoidable. When we continually see “perfect” bodies and beautiful faces, “successful” lives and expensive vacations, it’s nearly impossible to not compare all of that to our own lives.

I know you’ve heard it before, but I’ll remind you again: what you see on the internet isn’t real, even if it looks real. By stepping away from all of that, it will give you time to break the unhealthy comparison cycle and refocus your attention on yourself.

You Can Live In the Moment

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Do you even remember what it’s like to do something without taking a picture first? Social media has become so ingrained into our lives that people post every activity or life event while said event is actually happening. If you happen to be a person that takes a photo of your meals before you eat or takes selfies every new place you go, a social media detox can help you live in the moment.

Taking pictures of everything can be a great way to document your life, but if taken overboard, it also takes you out of the moment. Go ahead and take a picture, but maybe post it later with a #tbt. And instead of living through the lens of social media, directly interact with your present surroundings. Just be present and enjoy!

You Will Be Able to Reconnect With the Real World

All that time you spend checking in with friends and family on social media makes you feel like you’re connected, and in some ways, you are. But if you rely solely on social media to connect, it can actually leave you feeling disconnected and isolated. If you feel like the world is passing you by, it’s time to put the phone down.

friends laughing

The key to solid, lasting friendships is real-life, in-person interaction. While online contact can certainly do plenty for our relationships, we also need that face-to-face interaction, too. It’s time to get out there and connect in person.

Even introverts need to reconnect with the real world, too. Connecting with a friend or two will boost your mood, but so will just being in public – alone. Go to the park or hit the local coffee shop for a cup. There is a whole world out there, and you can see it and experience it for yourself.

You Can Improve Your Physical Health

We often hear how bad Facebook or Instagram can be for our mental health, but social media is also taking a toll on our physical health. And while it might not be the first connection you make when thinking about spending too much time online, it’s definitely not healthy.

First of all, the time we spend staring at social media is also a time of inactivity. It’s causing us to be even more sedentary than we already are. So, after you sit at your desk for eight hours, you’re adding another few hours of doing nothing physically on top of it.

But social media’s effects on our physical health go further than that. It’s ruining your posture, leaving you with rounded shoulders, neck pain, and even spinal curvatures and vertebrate disorders. The blue light emitted from devices is giving you headaches and could be damaging your retinas. That blue light is also delaying melatonin production, preventing you from getting enough quality sleep.

Woman lying in bed looking at her phone
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Regularly taking breaks from social media could help you become more active, improve your posture, and help you sleep better at night.

You Will Gain More Free Time!

Hey, remember when I said that the average person spends more than two hours looking at social media each day? That is a whole two hours that you can get back! You just have to back away from the feed.

Those extra hours can be used for anything else, and I bet most things will be more beneficial than doom scrolling. Spend that time making art or learning a skill. Read that book you never have time for, or spend more time in the kitchen cooking meals. You can go for a walk around the block or hit the gym. I mean, you can even just relax and unwind in the bath for a while.

Need ideas on what to do with your newfound time? Here are some self-care ideas, based on zodiac signs!

Final Thoughts

Look, social media dependency applies to just about everyone these days. We’ve all been hooked. And while it’s definitely functional when used in moderation… most of us aren’t exactly moderating so well.

The thought of taking a temporary detox might seem scary or overwhelming at first, but just give it a try! I promise you’ll see improvements in your well-being by reigning in your time spent on social media.

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