The amount of time we are spending online and on our smartphones is increasing around the globe and at the end of the day we say we are busy; we do not have time!!
In this article, I want you to understand why consuming too much social media is not healthy for us. However, this time I will not provide you with any statistics on how long people are spending on their smartphones because I want you to check for yourself.
I seriously want you to assess how long you spend on your phone.
We constantly reached out to our phone every day as if we have been programmed to do so.
How often did you catch yourself watching the T.V and unknowingly you picked up your phone, start scrolling, and BOOM!!!! 30 minutes gone.
When you go on a holiday to "relax", do you enjoy the moments? or are you more interested in taking the perfect selfies or pictures?
Before smartphones were created, social media was not that harmful because we used to access them over a desktop computer. It was not at one arm's reach.
Now, social media is everywhere and every time with us; even in the toilet!!!
Why is the constant consumption of social media so bad?
It is because it affects your mental health, your mood, and your energy.
Because we spend a lot of time on social media and we absorb all types of content.
We are all victims of social media, but we are the one to decide how we want to feel mentally, emotionally and physically.
I was a fan of social media too. The first thing I used to do in the morning was checking my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I felt the need to be aware of who posted what or how many likes I got or simply what is going on? It was not that I was addicted to social media, but I was on an auto-pilot mode; whether it is in the morning when I am commuting, during breaks, on my way back home, after dinner, and before going to bed.
My social media side effects
I used to believe that I was not beautiful enough as I was comparing myself to my Instagram influencers. So, I used to restrict myself from wearing a certain type of clothes.
During lunch breaks at work, everyone was sitting around the table with food and their phone in one hand. I was among them. If I was not scrolling my feeds, I was chatting to someone who is far away from me instead of paying attention to the delicious food my mum prepared for me and talking to my colleagues.
I was not present, and I was certainly not being mindful.
However, after deciding to get control of my life, well-being, and wellness. I realized the harms these platforms were doing to my emotional, mental and physical health.
I was not getting the required amount and quality of sleep.
I was infusing my mind with all types of bad news which impacted my mood.
I was comparing myself with others physically.
I was body-shaming myself.
I believed I was not beautiful enough as compared to my Instagram influencer so I used to restrict myself from wearing certain types of clothes.
I was not very fond of being in photographs because I did not look "perfect".
Detoxing from social media is a big contributor to how I feel on an everyday basis.
First, let's understand what is social media detox?
Social Media Detox
Social media detox is a conscious elimination of all social media consumption for a fixed amount of time. It can be for 1 month, 1 week, or 1 day. Ideally, it involves temporarily deactivating your accounts on your phone and removing all social media apps.
I know it sounds kind of impossible to do so.
How long to detox I believe it is completely up to the person.
Why should you take a social media detox?
Social media makes us feel good because we are connecting to people who we won't be able to connect with if there were no social media. The usage of social media has increased significantly during the quarantine times.
However, similar to alcohol, sugar, or carbs. Too much social media has a negative impact on our health. Taking a break from it can help us to re-align our focus to things that are more important to us.
1. Social media affects our self-esteem. If a lot of people, we know are getting married or getting promotions and we are single and not obtaining our desired position or job. We can feel isolated and low self-esteem can lead to depression in some people.
2. It prevents us to connect with the real world and with people in person. You may feel more comfortable sending a message to a stranger than initiating a conversation with someone in person at work.
3. Social media promotes unhealthy competition. The number of likes and comments is typically a measurement of the popularity of a post. It encourages you to outdo yourself and others.
4. Get more time. Putting a pause to social media can help you put your time and energy into things that can benefit you. Like going to a yoga class, painting, or gardening.
Signs you need a social media detox
1. You constantly feel the urge to check on your phone.
2. You are experiencing phantom vibration (when you feel your phone has vibrated when it did not) or feel like your phone screen has just flashed.
3. You spend more time on your phone than you intended to spend.
4. You feel that you do not have enough time to complete your tasks during the day.
5. You feel guilty after using your phone. It is similar to how we feel guilty after eating high-calorie food.
6. You always seem to reach out to your phone for no reason.
How to take control of your digital habits?
I would suggest a simpler way. The way I did it.
Removing the apps from your phone is completely optional. It is up to you, how far you want to go in the detoxification process.
1. The first step I took was a digital decluttering, but in this article, I want to restrict it to social media detox. (I will later write a whole article on digital decluttering.)
I started with unfollowing all Facebook and Instagram feeds that I felt were toxic to me. Whether it is a News page, political page, or even friends who posted constantly on issues that were affecting my mood.
2. I started to seek out more pages and groups that match my current goals or activities such as gardening, home decor, fitness, nutrition, and animals. Now when I scroll my social media, I find posts that motivate me and inspire me to continue my well-being and wellness journey.
You can apply the same principle to any other social media account you have. The question you have to ask yourself is " how does this particular topic or group make me feel?"
I am not telling you that you should remove all "negative news" from your life. It is good to keep up with what is happening in your country or other countries.
I want you to choose the time you want to consume those "negative news". By applying this strategy, you will be more in control of what you are consuming and when.
3. In most of the smartphones, in the setting folder, we have a digital balance option. I have used this option to set the maximum amount of time I want to spend on my phone.
I did mention at the beginning of the article that I want you to check how much time you spend on social media.
Here it is, go to the setting option of your phone, select digital balance.
At this stage, you should be able to know how much time you spend on which app. Check the last 7 days option as well. This will give you a pretty clear idea of how you have spent your time.
Here are some other things I did to reduce my time online or on the phone.
No phone during mealtimes, when watching TV, or when meeting friends.
No phone 1hr before sleep and just after waking up.
Remove all applications that I no longer use.
I turned off all notification buttons for social media. Obtaining notifications from all social media apps can be very distracting when you are trying to work or focus on a particular thing. Rather than checking posts or messages each time something comes up, it is better to set aside 30 minutes to respond to all the messages later on during your day. It will help you to be more productive and increase your concentration level.
Detoxing from social media has some unarguable benefits.
More free time to invest in productive tasks.
Increase connection with people.
Low anxiety level.
More mindful about being in the moment.
Less unhealthy competition.
Better quality of sleep ( the blue light in our phone interferes with the hormones that help us to sleep).
Social media can be a great tool if we use it properly. How much is too much varies from person to person!
The main highlight I want you to take from this article is being mindful of what you are consuming and for how long. Take some time to give a good thought to how you use social media and what is your objective? Are you feeling good or are you feeling miserable?
Latest update: 12 July 2021