Why everyone needs frequent social media detoxes

How many times have you felt like you need a break from social media? And how many times have you felt overwhelmed because of it? 

Social media is used by the majority daily and frequently. According to The Telegraph, ‘the average person spends at least 1 hour and 40 minutes per day looking at their favourite social media sites and apps.’

Over the past few years, and escapism during the Covid-19 pandemic, these platforms have become a very essential part of our lives but it’s important to understand the negative impacts that they have.

Spending a lot of time on social media is harmful without us even noticing it. By spending time extended periods of time on our phone, we’re leaning more into a lazy lifestyle. We all know that once we’re on a social media platform it’s easy to spend an embarrassing amount of time engaging in content rather than just the intended and initial few minutes. This can be controlled and by doing so can improve your mental health.

Pic: Getty Images

Scrolling and spending time on any social media platform exposes us to a lot of pictures and impactful stories. These can have negative connotations. How? By comparing our lifestyle, our looks, and what we have, compared to what is portrayed by others. You might even forget that sometimes what we see on social media can be far from the real reality and that a lot is going on behind the screen. 

Influencers and other social media users commonly portray the supposable ‘perfect body type’ and lead many to feel extremely self-conscious with the unrealistic portrayal. Not only will it affect others negatively but social media allows the ability for others to reply and comment on published posts. Some comments can be very harsh which can also lead to low self-esteem or even more serious issues.

Social media illustration. Pic: Julia Martins

Checking the news is crucial in our life and we do it regularly. Educating ourselves on what’s happening around the world is essential but overconsumption can harm our mental health. Opening an app will undoubtedly expose you to all varieties of news. Even if unattended, there’s a high possibility that it will pop up.

If we try to distract from the news on TV, we risk exposing ourselves to it on social media. It’s an endless loop which creates the risk of increased chances of obtaining stress-driven anxiety.

Where does a social media detox come into it? When we talk about ‘detox’ we commonly mean to rid of toxins. Social media detoxes are an essential time-off the digital world. Taking a detox will allow you to reconnect with yourself, understand how you’ve been feeling, increase your mood, and help build healthier relationships. With a social media break, you’ll be breaking the unhealthy cycle of spending hours on our phones.

According to the National Centre for Health Research, ‘13% of 12–17-year-olds reporting depression and 32% reporting anxiety, mental illness is a concern for adolescent health. It is a concern for young adults as well, since 25% of 18- 25-year-olds report having some form of mental illness.’

 As much as social media makes our lives easier with communication and staying up to date with the latest happenings around the world, it causes a lot of problems and has a significant correlation with mental health issues.

Breaks from social media are significantly important. A detox for at least one hour per day to reconnect with yourself and to disconnect from this virtual world is healthy and mentally rejuvenating. Put your phone away, avoid any form of screen, go for a walk, play some music, read a book, anything that makes you feel good… Everything else can wait!

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