Friday 14 October 2016

How to go on a social media detox

I'm writing this just after deleting Instagram and Snapchat off my phone. This is something I do fairly regularly for a few days, sometimes a couple of weeks and I've even deactivated my Facebook for a couple of years before needing it back for work or uni. It might seem attention seeking through trying to be elusive (oxymoron?) but having a social media detox from time to time makes me personally feel a lot anxious and a lot less jealous.

There are many reasons why you should go on a social media detox rather than, say, an alcohol detox. As we all know, social media just shows us the best snippets of people's lives and then we take it out of context and think other people's whole lives consist of them drinking colourful cocktails on a beach. Jealousy is very normal but I think it's easier than ever for us to feel jealous of people's lives that are actually not much more (if not less) exciting than our own. Another thing is measuring our worth based on the number of likes we get on a photo we posted, it's pretty exhausting and it is not something we should need to worry about it when lets be frank, we all have bigger fish to fry.

Social media is great for keeping in contact with people, spreading ideas and just generally for interacting with other human beings you would never meet in your everyday life. I think social media is great but it's also addictive and moderation is a good thing.

Everyone might have their own reasons for having a social media detox. Maybe it's because you've been through a break up and you don't want to see what your ex is up to. Maybe you've got an exam coming up and need to concentrate. Or maybe you're just sick of comparing yourself and your life to other people's. Either way, here are some tips on how to go on a social media detox (if you're thinking of going on one).

Set yourself a time frame
You probably won't want to delete all of your social media accounts forever, rather just have an amicable break. Whether you want to have a weekend off of Facebook or a month of all social media platforms, give yourself a realistic time frame and stick to it.

Delete the apps off your phone
Most of us spend more time on our phones than on our laptops so just delete your social media apps. I personally always keep Twitter because I mainly follow news or funny accounts so I actually enjoy it and find it more useful than other platforms. If you delete the apps, you won't spend your time reopening and closing them without even realising that you're doing it. Because that is the biggest waste of time when you're using social media just instinctively and subconsciously.

Do all the things you thought you didn't have time for
A lot of us complain that there aren't enough hours in the day when really we're just not using those hours to be productive or do the things we really enjoy. If you usually waste an hour on Instagram a day - read a book, draw, write... just do something that you've always felt you don't have time for.

Let your friends know
Let your closest friends know that you're not on social media so they know to contact you in another way. We're not limited for choice - I am personally sick of people thinking they can only contact me on Facebook or Snapchat when they have my number. It requires no more effort sending a text than it does a message on Facebook. Although you should maybe tell your closest friends and family, to be honest most people won't care because we're all too caught up in our own lives.

Realise that you are not missing anything
Realistically, in the time that you are away from SM, you will not miss a single thing that will be of any importance to you. Nothing. When you return, everything will be as it was. All the important things you will find out another way. It's really that simple.

React to how you feel
If being off of social media just feels inconvenient, maybe social media detoxing isn't for you. If you feel freed and more relaxed, think about what you can do to keep it that. This might mean limiting your use of social media to certain hours of the day, or limiting how many social media apps you have on your phone. Either way react to how being on a social media ban made you feel.

I by no means think that everyone needs to go on a social media detox, but if you're finding yourself a bit stressed or in a bad state, I think removing yourself from social media can be pretty liberating.

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