What is the first thing you do when you wake up? What is the last thing you do before going to sleep? If checking your phone and scrolling through social media is the answer, then this article is for you.
Social media is defined as ‘forms of media that allow people to communicate and share information using the internet or mobile phones’. Some of the most popular platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, which in conjunction with other popular platforms, accumulated over 4.2 billion active users in 2021.
The main goal of social media is to bring people together and make your life better but studies have shown that usage actually achieves the opposite. According to research by Nottingham Trent University, social media is addictive, depression-inducing and actually increases feelings of loneliness whilst reducing the self-esteem of the user.
If you find yourself feeling helplessly stuck to your phone or you are trying to stop this vicious cycle of negativity, then you need a social media detox.
what is a social media detox?
Many reports have shown that eliminating the usage of social media for a chosen period of time can help you clear your mind, reduce stress, increase mindfulness and even increase your daily free time. This process could last from 7 to 15 days and more.
It should be noted that it is not an easy process and it can be quite uncomfortable at first. However, there are ways to do it slowly but effectively. It might not work for you but there’s no harm in trying, right?
“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
acknowledge the problem and find your weak spots.
In order to reduce your social media usage, you should focus on which platforms you spend the most time on. Fortunately, there are applications and settings that can help you check your screen time and app usage such as StayFree, Digitox, Flora, Moment and even the settings of iPhones.
If, for example, you find that Instagram is the application that you spend the most time on, you can either restrict usage with a daily time limit - by using one of the apps mentioned above - or delete it completely. This will make you more aware of your usage habits and encourage you to use the application less or not at all.
don’t check your phone in the morning or before going to bed.
It is really tempting to use our phones as soon as we wake up in the morning and before we go to bed because scrolling on social media requires very little energy. However, when you use your phone and expose yourself to messages and emails first thing, as psychiatrist Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi highlights, it can increase your stress levels for the rest of the day and reduce your attention span. Thus, making you more prone to distractions throughout the day.
Many studies report that the artificial blue light that our phones radiate disturbs our sleeping pattern. According to Harvard Health, this light can suppress the secretion of melatonin levels and reduce the quality of sleep. Instead of checking your phone, you could read a book, listen to a podcast or music, meditate or workout - all of which can be done both in the morning and night.
find alternative ways of communicating.
Indeed, the purpose of social media is to help us socialize and stay in touch with people. Call it old-fashioned but there is nothing wrong with calling, exchanging text messages or using only text applications, such as WhatsApp, to communicate with our close ones.
Lastly, it’s important to consider FOMO - fear of missing out.There are many people who are scared that if they don’t use social media, they are going to miss out on information, news and gossip. However, the question is:
Is what we read and see on social media really information, or just a distraction?
Habits are hard to cut off but don’t lose hope! At the end of the day, through trial and error, you will find your own way to transform your life and become the better version of yourself.