Should You Do A Social Media Detox?
Social networking sites are an essential part of today’s hyper-connected world. They can also add to a hyper-distracted life. Think about it. You open your smartphone to check an app and lo and behold, a friend has posted a picture. It’s of their family vacation. The next thing you know, you’ve opened your browser to research “Caribbean getaways” and “how to tone your stomach in two weeks.” Sometimes social media can feel like a bit of a vacuum, one that sucks up time as well as emotional and mental energy.
Several studies have found that social media use can be linked to increased levels of depression and anxiety. Children and adults alike report feeling stressed out by the pressure of unachievable standards of beauty and success that are plastered across different platforms. People also reported feeling lonely or isolated because this kind of hyper-connectivity occurs at a superficial level. Elements of communication like eye contact, body language, tone and physical touch are all missing.
An over-active social presence can even alter your sleep patterns! A 2014 study found that, on average, participants checked their social media accounts for over an hour every day. They also logged on about 30 times per week. Ultimately, 57% of these users reported sleep disturbances.
Spending time on social media platforms can also negatively affect your work performance. A paper published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology suggested that people end up spending more time on social networks than they think they do. This can end up wasting a valuable resource: time.
“Unplugging” from social media from time to time doesn’t have to be difficult. It may even help your mental and physical well-being. You can make disconnecting something that works for your schedule and life. For instance, if you need your smartphone for work, try deleting social networking apps from the home screen for a period of time.
If you don’t want to unplug completely try setting limits for yourself. Research suggests that limiting your social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day can significantly improve your well-being.
Try getting out of the house to do real things you love with real people. Dinner with friends or a walk with your family will reduce the temptation to check your phone or social sites. You’ll also feel more present and mindful in your relationships and experiences.
Just like proper nutrition and exercise, focusing on your mental well-being is vital to living a healthy life. Our Online Health Coach can help you set and manage goals to help you feel your best.
You can also get ongoing support for depression, substance use disorder, grief and more through behavioral health services.