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Your Complete Guide to a Social Media Detox
March 3, 2022 by Martin Luigi Lagustan
Social media is exhausting, especially when the trending topics are bad news or things that could make you feel bad about yourself. So, instead of focusing on your RFO house and lot hunt, you may find yourself stuck because you feel demotivated from all the things you’re seeing in every scroll. Luckily, a social media detox could help.
Do you need a social media detox?
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably already feeling social media fatigue. It’s great that you’re asking yourself, “do I need a social media detox?” because you know you’re probably having too much of it. After all, knowing something’s wrong is the first step to fixing your problems.
Now, social media has become a part of all our lives, so much that it has made some of us believe that we need it. Well, if you own a business or your work involves using social media, then you do need it.
Take a moment to reflect on how you use social media. How much time do you spend on your phone, scrolling through posts about beach trips or your friend’s moving-in day to their new RFO house and lot? In recent events (at the time of writing), how invested are you with the upcoming Philippine elections and the war between Russia and Ukraine? How are your relationships in real life?
If you feel like it’s already taking so much of your time and you’re already feeling exhausted about everything you’re seeing, it’s not your fault. Social media apps are created to be as addictive as possible by feeding you content that you might want to see so you won’t stop scrolling.
Don’t worry, social media fatigue isn’t unfixable.
6 steps to conduct a successful social media detox
When you feel exhausted from working out, what do you do? You take breaks, right? The same goes for social media fatigue. A social media detox can help you detach from it so that you can be more present in your daily life. Here’s how you could do it:
1. Identify what apps you're using most on social media
Before you start uninstalling every single social media app on your phone, first identify which one of them you’re using the most. You can download an app to help you track how much time you’re spending on each app. For iPhone users, you’re most likely familiar with its built-in feature called Screen Time.
Although if you’re heavily using your phone, you most likely already know which apps you’re using the most. A time tracker app, however, will help you see just how much time you’re spending on them. Think of it as your reality check.
After knowing which apps you’re using the most, identify which ones you need. You might want to keep messaging apps if that’s where you communicate with colleagues or friends.
2. Have clear goals outside of social media
It’s difficult to do something if you don’t have a clear set of goals of why you’re doing it. So, same as your plan of buying an RFO house and lot, you should set goals of what you want to achieve in doing a social media detox.
It doesn’t have to be a huge goal. You can start small, like cleaning your room or finally starting that fitness journey you’ve always talked about. This is important because once you achieve these goals, this will indicate that your social media detox is successful.
If you’re in business, think of your social media detox goals as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). These are goal-setting frameworks that are used to measure your goals and track outcomes.
3. Detox with a friend or partner
Doing a social media detox with a buddy can be a great help because having someone who can hold you accountable can keep you focused on your goal.
Find someone also interested in doing a social media detox and ask them if they want to do it together. It would be great if you have the same interest. Make sure you both have a goal on what you want to achieve during your detox. That way, you can motivate each other and even do some of those goals together.
Say, for example, you both want to stay off of social media apps until you both reach a target weight. You can work out together or at least help track each other’s progress. Because let’s be honest, having someone praise you on your progress makes you want to do it more. Luckily, this time, you don’t need to post it on social media because you have a real person with you.
If you have kids, you can teach them how to do a detox and do it with them. Let them decide how they want to spend their time off of social media, as long as it involves doing real-life activities. Spice things up by rewarding them with something more fulfilling than going back to social media once the detox is done.
You can promise to take them on a trip if their social media detox is successful. Be creative with the reward system. Just make sure that they don’t feel like going back to social media is their reward.
4. Delete your social media apps
The moment of truth.
This part might sting a little. And no, you don’t have to announce that you’re doing a social media detox. Be honest with yourself, people don’t care that much. People move on to the next thing after liking or reacting to your post (unless they’re your best friend or partner and you talk about your post).
Now that you know which apps you’re using the most, it’s time to let go of them. Don’t worry, you’ll have a lot of things to do after this.
5. Plan your free time and timeline
The best thing about saying goodbye to your distractions is you finally have time to do other stuff.
To keep you on the right track, plan out your free time and fill them with stuff that you’ve been wanting to do. If most of your free time has been spent on social media, you can now use that time and work on starting a hobby or going out with your detox buddy. Heck, you can even use that time to start planning.
In planning your free time, you should also set a timeline on how long you’ll be off social media. We’re not trying to remove it from your life, after all. We’re just giving you tips on how you can remove yourself for a while until you find your balance and get your energy back.
Include a timeline of the goals you want to achieve during the detox. Having a timeline for your goals or habits will help you slide through each day with ease. Just make sure you don’t procrastinate.
6. Understand your feelings and repeat once in a while
You’re doing a social media detox for a reason, but for whatever that is, you have to understand that this is something you should do to refocus your life. Having goals in your detox is one thing, but understanding why you need to do it is another.
So, don’t be too hard on yourself if you do relapse because social media is addicting for almost everyone. Doing a detox every once in a while can help you find that balance between real life and social media.
How to prevent spiraling back to social media fatigue
Speaking of relapse, we did say that this is a complete guide to a social media detox. So we’ll also help you prevent spiraling back to fatigue. Here are three things you should do:
1. Make social media less available
During your social media detox, make social media less available by spending more time away from your phone. Make your phone less accessible so that you won’t be tempted to use it for social media. You can go as far as buying a work phone that is strictly for communicating with colleagues or business partners only. Any app that can be used for leisure shouldn’t be on that phone.
You should also consider buying an alarm clock. If you’re a chronic social media user, we’re positive you’re browsing your social media apps as soon as you wake up. So, to prevent that from happening, use a proper alarm clock instead of using your phone to wake you up.
After your social media detox, you can prevent spiraling back to fatigue by removing your social media apps on your home screen. That way, you don’t have easy access because you’ll have to scroll through your app drawer before you can reach them.
2. Schedule your social media use
We did say that we’re not trying to eradicate social media from your life. Honestly, it’s kind of impossible.
So, to prevent spiraling back to social media fatigue, try to schedule your social media use. You can use apps like Stay Focused or StayFree. These are screen time trackers that also act as website and app blockers when you’ve been spending a set amount of time on them. This will help you limit your use and remind yourself that it’s time to do other things.
If you’re always on your phone, you might already have impulses of checking your phone even when there’s no notification. That’s how addictive social media are. Having a schedule for social media will also help you build a routine outside of social media.
Once you get your life in the real world back, you can enjoy more things for yourself and have real social connections.
3. Find better socializing habits
Since we’re on the subject of connections, you should also find better ways to socialize. We mentioned keeping your messaging apps. Use those to meet the people you’re talking to.
Ask your friends to come with you to visit an RFO house and lot, go on trips, meet new people, anything. There are a lot of ways you can socialize.
If you’re an introvert, then this may not be good advice for you. You might not even be using social media apps that much. But if you do find yourself in need of a social media detox, interact with people you like hanging around with so that you don’t feel exhausted. After all, socializing is only tiring if you don’t enjoy the company of the people around you.
Benefits of a social media detox
Of course, we won’t end this article without showing you the light at the end of the tunnel. While social media has a lot of negative effects, there are also quite a lot of benefits in doing a detox. Here are some of them:
1. Your self-esteem improves
According to a study published in Rowan University in 2015, women who use a lot of social media tend to have lower body image satisfaction and tend to have a greater drive for thinness. Another study in 2017 found out that an hour spent on Facebook every day can result in a 5.574 decrease in self-esteem score.
These studies are only two of tens — if not hundreds — of studies that found a conclusive link between social media and self-esteem. So, it only makes sense that conducting a social media detox will help improve your confidence (that is if you make efforts to improve it during your detox).
2. Conquer your fear of missing out
Social media has opened the world to a lot of people, and we see so much of each other’s lives. This also means you’re more exposed to trends, which can trigger a huge sense of fear of missing out. When in fact, you’re not missing anything.
Remind yourself that you’re only seeing what they want you to see. You don’t have to go to the beach just because you see everyone posting pictures of being at the beach.
3. Begin living in the moment
Life has so much to offer, but you have to let it give you the best experience you can get. Social media has prevented a lot of people to live in the moment because we’re constantly on our phones. Enjoy that concert instead of recording it. Let the taste of your food embrace your taste buds without watching Netflix or YouTube. Be in the moment.
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