Health & Wellness Author
Master of Education (M.Ed.)
How often do you find yourself opening up your favorite app on your phone and looking up a half hour or even hours later to discover you’ve gotten nothing productive done? Sounds too familiar? perhaps it’s time for a social media cleanse.
Social Media Cleanse
It’s all too easy to get lost down the rabbit hole of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, or any other app you can’t seem to stay off of.
Luckily, there’s research out on how to retrain your mind and take back your power when it comes to technology addiction.
A Social cleanse doesn’t have to be a complete digital detox that eliminates every modern technology. Its an effort to reset and restore more balance in a digitally driven world.
The purpose of the social media cleanse exercise is to be conscientious of how we use social media and how much time we spend online.
Time is the most precious thing we have, and so the that time we spend online come instead of others activities we may not have a second chance to do.
With social media cleanse, you usually delete all forms of social media on your smartphone, and perform other activities that help you control the urge of logging in on your laptop, tablet, or home computer.
Do I need A Social Media Cleanse? Take The Test & Find Out
Time to be honest. Do you really need a social media cleanse?
The ten questions below are not meant to judge or to conclude.
Instead, they may help you observe the role social media plays in your life.
So, for each question, try to be mindful of which feelings or sensations in your body are triggered. Do you feel love and happy, or, do you feel perhaps pressure and stress?
- How many hours a day you spend on social media? Do you think you can better use this time to improve the quality of your life?
- Are you looking at your phone in the bed, instead of conversing with your significant other?
- Have you ever felt stressed after reading social media content?
- Out of all your social media connections, how many of them do you actually know on a personal level?
- Have you paid less time to your children because you were uploading pictures of them?
- Do you often communicate with your friends or colleagues via social media, instead of just calling them? And if so, is it always the best way to discuss?
- Are you late on deadlines at work and work just keeps piling up because you can’t pull yourself away from your phone?
- Do you compare yourself or your life to others based on their social activities or social profile?
- Are there times where you feel depressed or lonely after spending time in social media?
- Do you feel like social media is having an overall negative effect on your life?
If you answer Yes to any of these questions, perhaps it’s time to look into a social media cleanse, and take your power back! and without being tied to your phone all day.
Take time to discover your true interests, explore a new hobby, go on a one day body cleanse, or call up your mom with your newfound free time. There is so much of the world to explore and if you allow yourself to free that time, your creativity will grow so much larger.
Time to take a deeper dive into the ways social media affect our lives.
Feeling Lonely? Social Media Can Make It Worse
Modern life is making us feel lonely. In fact, the research suggests this may be the next big public health issue. According to the data, loneliness increases mortality risk by more than a quarter!
It’s been proven that those who use their phones more are more likely to present feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and loneliness. If an individual is using social media as their primary form of community and connection, those feelings are going to dissipate when logging off of the app. The itch to return and scroll to see what you have missed is an addiction for fearing that you will miss out on something vital.
The bottom line: you may have hundreds or thousands of online friends, they can’t replace real friends and social interactions. As a society, we are at a tipping point where we start to feel the effects of being more isolated from our close family members and friends and having more superficial relationships with our increasing reliance on social technology.
Compare is Despair
I can’t believe how many people determine their self worth through their popularity online. Even worse, is when we start to compare ourselves to others.
It is human nature to compare oneself to others. But, when we do so using social media, we need to remember that most people aren’t posting their most intimate struggles or true selves to say the least.
Some of the problems with social media stem from feeling like we have to prove to others how interesting and luxurious our own lives are. This is only heightened by Instagram models posts, advertisements, and celebrities showcasing their travels. We don’t live in a picture perfect world, and there’s no sense in pretending that we do, by only posting the “pretty” stuff.
Seek For Approval
Posting a great picture of you hiking so you can share these beautiful happy moments with your family and friends is an example of a great use of social media. But do you find yourself later constantly checking the comments you get? And how often some of these comments affect the way you feel?
As nice as it feels when you receive a comment on a post you have written or a picture you have posted, that warm feeling is fleeting, and usually doesn’t offer a long-term effect. Even more, social media is well known for its negative comments that can have a big impact on how we feel. Another reason to consider a social cleanse.
Social Media Isn’t All Bad
Social media is associated with a lot of negative implications. Just think about the amount of time that could certainly be utilized in living a healthier lifestyle.
With that said, how you use social media matters, as there are also benefits with proper use. Social media platforms can act as a pillar for education, research, job search, and networking.
It’s an opportunity to connect and develop genuine connection with people all around the globe. Expand your horizon, learn about a wide variety of opinions. For introverts, social media allows users to develop friendships that may not have been possible without it.
Benefits of a Social Media Cleanse
The most common thing many people who start a social media cleanse mention, is that they actually have much more free time.
Getting out into nature is a great way to kick start a social media hiatus. It will allow you to reset and refocus on the guiding principles in your life that are the most important.
The time we spend in nature is well known to benefit both our physical and mental health. Learning again how beautiful and rewarding these simple things can be. It’s like opening a magic door to a world we have forgotten all about, the real world.
Some of the other main benefits of social media cleanse may include:
- Better overall mental health (lessened anxiety and comparison)
- Better sleeping patterns
- Improved posture
- More face-to-face social interactions
- Less eye strain
- Help curb your FOMO (fear of missing out)
- Help jog your memory of all the other stuff you enjoy
- Lessen your dependency on the gratification you seek from others.
And above all: reconnect with yourself, with your (real) friends, family and with your (real) surroundings.
How do I wean myself off social media?
Prepare yourself for success: Before you start with the social media cleanse:
1. Spread the word
Make your friends and family members aware of your social cleanse plan. So you won’t cause alarm by disappearing all of a sudden. This will also not give you an excuse just to check if “everybody is ok”. If needed, unfollow and unfriend users who annoy you.
2. Turn off all notifications
That means quieting the noise on the Instagram likes, Facebook comments, retweets on Twitter, and so on and so forth. Without the constant push notifications, your mind will have more space for the things that really matter in your day. You can always select a time where you will check each app, but this keeps the constant “open me now” notifications from coming straight to your lock screen and disrupting your current present thoughts and actions.
3. Check you screen time
With our phones now calculating our screen time, it’s easy to take a look at what applications we are spending the most time on. The iPhone goes as far as encouraging scheduling downtime away from your phone and setting app limits to help tame the addiction of utilizing certain apps.
Utilize the screen time functions on your smartphone in order to breakdown different app usage, how often you’ve gone to unlock your phone, and how many notifications you have received at different time intervals, to decipher where you may need to work harder to wean yourself away.
4. Switch to a simple mobile display
This is a great suggestion to prioritize and turn your smartphone back into a useful resource. Simply put the apps you find helpful (not social media apps) first. For example: navigation, maps, calendar, camera, weather, email, notes, etc. For everything else, including games and social media apps, banish these to the last page on your phone.
If you want to use these, your mind is going to have to work to find them! Another suggestion is to turn your phone into gray scale coloration, therefore your mind isn’t reinforced with bright and shiny, colorful apps.
The Social Media Cleanse Plan
Suggest timeframe: 2 weeks
(reason: that’s the minimum time it usually takes to change bad habits)
- Just woke up? do not look at your phone/email. Start your day with expressing gratitude. Towards the people in your life, towards your family, your achievements, etc. A few minutes of meditation, light yoga or just a walk in the park would do,
- Prepare a list of tasks you would like to achieve for the upcoming week. Ideally these should reflect your entire life, work and personal, duty and also fun. Perhaps it’s also time to try something new you have never done before. Volunteering, check out that new yoga place around the corner, adopt a dog, or start out a cleanse.
- Cut the time spent on your smartphone. Ask yourself before you reach out and grab your phone/laptop – do I really need to do it right now?
- Journal about how you feel overall during this time. If you feel that social media may affect your mental health, writing your thoughts may give you the ability to understand your mindset through the process.
- Pretty day outside? Perhaps a great opportunity to enjoy nature, read a book in the park, or just have a great workout.
You control your tech usage. Don’t let it control you.
REMEMBER social media is not reality! There’s no need to give up technology altogether or never use social media. The purpose of the social media cleanse exercise is to be conscientious of how we use social media and how much time we spend online.
Time is the most precious thing we have, and so the that time we spend online come instead of others activities we may always have a second chance to do.
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