7 Reasons You Need To Take a Break From Social Media
Wouldn’t it feel nice if you could simply put your phone away for the weekend and take a break from social media without feeling like you have to check everything?
Maybe you often have to rush through your mornings because you end up spending too much time on Facebook or Instagram.
Does this sound like you?
If you can imagine this scenario, you are ready for a social media detox:
You wake up by the sound of your alarm, and you blindly reach for your phone to turn it off. You unlock your phone to open up Facebook or Instagram, and you scroll through the feeds to see what you’ve missed while you’ve been asleep.
Then you look at the time and you realize that you’re running out of time to get ready.You rush through your morning to get to work on time.
Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up without feeling like you HAVE TO check Facebook or Instagram to see what you’ve missed while you’ve been asleep?
Do you spend more than 4 hours on your phone?
Just think about it. How often do you reach for your phone to check your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter?
The average person uses their phone for more than 4 hours on a daily basis. FOUR. HOURS. This should be blowing your socks away, but if you think about, you really do spend a lot of time on social media.
Recent studies have shown that spending too many hours on social media is connected to several mental health disorders – including anxiety and depression.
It’s so important that we don’t allow social media to take control of our lives. The amount of time that we spend on Facebook could easily be put to much better use elsewhere. Do you even know how much damage social media does to your mental and emotional health?
Keep reading to learn 7 shocking reasons social media is bad for you and your mental health.
1 – Loneliness, isolation, depression
Social media can most certainly make you feel any of those or all of them together. When you spend a lot of time online, you also tend to spend less time in the real world with your friends and family.
This can very easily make you feel lonely, isolated, or depressed.
With all the things that are happening on sites like Facebook and Instagram, some people get a certain “urge” to check social media often. This urge is rewarded with instant gratification (a need to experience fast, short term pleasure) and dopamine production (also known as the feel-good hormone).
This desire to feel instantly “happy” may prompt many people to constantly refresh and update their social media feeds.
It can cause you to continuously refresh/update your feed in the hopes that someone has liked or commented on your post. And when that doesn’t happen, your feelings become negative and depressed.
So yes, social media can definitely make you feel both lonely, isolated, and depressed, which can also increase feelings of anxiety. This is a great reason to take a break from social media right away.
2 – Social media encourages narcissism
Huh? How does social media even come close to encouraging narcissism? Well, it’s all about that “urge” to check your apps and posting on them.
You make a post on Facebook or Twitter and somebody likes it. That same post is upvoted, retweeted, reposted, shared, etc. You like that. You feel “happy” when people share your post, comment on it, and like it.
Social media encourages narcissism because it’s all about how you want to be perceived on Facebook, Instagram, etc.
And it’s also about the fact that you’re chasing more and more likes. You end up getting completely swallowed up in yourself and your own feelings.
3 – The comparison trap and social media
When you see pictures of your friends on Facebook and Instagram, you automatically start comparing yourself to other people. Comparing yourself to other people is the worst thing you can do to yourself. It’s awful and absolutely toxic to your mental health.
But we really can’t help comparing ourselves to others. You see other people’s lives and you feel worse about your own life because it doesn’t measure up to theirs.
What you may not realize though, is that those moments that are put on Instagram and Facebook are just that – moments. Moments that are most likely edited.
You don’t know what happened 10 seconds before that picture was taken or 5 seconds after it was taken. Most people only post a selfie they’ve perfected with 20 different tryouts, and they post about something that is going well for them.
Social media is an unrealistic image
Social media is generally a pretty unrealistic image of people. It’s important that you try to remember this. Of course, people can be 100% transparent, and some are. It just happens very rarely. Unfortunately. You can also end up with a negative body image by using sites like Facebook and Instagram too much.
Women in one study felt worse about their own body image after looking at social media pages of someone they perceived to be more attractive than them. Even if they felt bad about themselves before the study, they felt even worse about themselves after they looked at those images on social media.
The study concludes that social media engagement with attractive people increases negative state of body image. This is one more reason why comparing yourself to others is so toxic to your mental health.
4 – FOMO addiction = the fear of missing out!
Have you ever worked on a Friday or Saturday evening/night only to go on Facebook Sunday morning to see that your friends went to a party? It can definitely make you feel left out, right?
Fear of missing out refers to:
“A pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”
Fear of missing out is a desire to constantly stay connected with what friends and family are doing. It’s also linked to depression, as you may feel a lower sense of life satisfaction when you’re not staying updated.
It comes down to the fact that humans are social beings who thrive in group settings. Being excluded for whatever reason can make you feel depressed and anxious.
But taking a break from social media will help you eliminate your fear of missing out by actually living in the real world.
5 – Social media disturbs your quality of sleep
If you use any kind of electronic device right before bed, it can seriously impact your quality of sleep. A couple of hours before your bedtime, your brain begins to release melatonin, which is a hormone that’ll make you feel more tired.
If you use your laptop, your phone, or watch tv before bed, the blue light from your electronics will keep your brain activated. It’s not enough to use blue light blocking glasses. You need to turn off your electronics completely at least 1 hour before you go to bed. This will give your brain enough time to “get ready for bed”
Too much use of blue lights can cause sleep disruption, which is one of the classic causes of major depression, bipolar disorder, and generalized anxiety.
6 – Your self-esteem can be affected
With all the things mentioned above, it’s easy to say that social media can lower your self-esteem. By comparing yourself to others, you’re telling yourself that you need to be like them before you’re good enough.
That’s not true! Your journey is your own.
Even though one of your friends put a picture up of a new car on Facebook, you don’t know if he or she got a loan in order to buy the car. You don’t know the journey before the picture was taken. So you can’t really judge people at all.
Neither can you judge yourself. Remember that you’re unique. And you have your own journey. Nothing can compare to that.
7 – Your memories of reality can be affected
When you put pictures on social media, it can distort the way you remember certain moments from your life. We spend far too much time taking just the right picture to put on Facebook or Instagram to make everything look perfect.
Instead, we forget to actually enjoy the moment and to actually absorb the firsthand experience of what is happening around you. Spending too much time on social media and your phone will distract you from the memories you’re making in your life.
What are the benefits of taking a break from social media?
Let’s dive into this a little more, because there are several benefits as to why you need to take a break from Facebook and Instagram.
- Your privacy will be protected: Social media is a great way to connect with family and friends far away from you. But, you also have to give up a lot of your privacy.
- You’ll feel less competitive: Remember we talked about how social media encourages narcissism? It definitely brings out your competitive side, because you’re chasing comments, likes, and shares on the post you put on Facebook.
- You’ll feel an overall improvement in your mood and energy: The amount of time you spend on social media is directly related to whether or not you feel stressed, depressed, anxious, or just no happy. If you’re feeling any of these, it’s definitely a good time to take a digital detox.
- Get rid of FOMO: Taking a break from social media will help you get rid of your fear of missing out. When you first stop using social media, it’s normal to have withdrawal symptoms – you have to get past the fear of missing something entertaining or important.
- You’ll get to reconnect with the real world: Are you an introvert? Perhaps you’re not good at connecting with people in the real world. Even if you’re uncomfortable with other people, just going out in public can boost your mood and energy. Go to a restaurant, see a movie, or go to your favorite park.
- You get more free time: social media sucks up a lot of overtime. Those 4 hours that you’d spend on social media can be used to exercise, clean your house, read, or something else entirely. Now that you’re taking a break from social media, you have the time.
How to do a social media detox
Maybe you’re realizing that you might be addicted to social media. You might even have admitted to yourself that you spend more than 4 hours on your phone on a daily basis.
So what you ask? You’re probably thinking that even if you are addicted to social media it’s not like it’s harming anyone, right?
Wrong! It’s harming YOU. Even if you’re still doing good in school or at work, being addicted to social media can do real damage to your quality of life. What would you feel if all social media sites suddenly stopped working tomorrow? Would you feel empty or disconnected from the rest of the world?
You have to be honest with yourself here. 100%. Taking a social media detox is becoming a thing. People are discovering how toxic it can be to your mental and emotional health.
It’s actually fairly easy to start a social media detox. The hard part is sticking with it to the end.
So, here’s how you can take a social media break with 5 simple steps:
- Put your phone away at dinner: When you’re spending time with someone else, you shouldn’t be feeling a need to check your phone. Put your phone in your bag, stay present, and connect with the people/your family around you.
- Uninstall all social media apps on your phone, laptop, iPad, and whatever else you’re using. This way you won’t get all of those notifications you usually get during a day. It will also make you less likely to go on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter in a moment of boredom.
Start by allowing yourself to go on social media just once every day to minimize the fear of missing out. But only once. Once this visit is over for the day, you have to stay off social media until the next day.
- Put a rubber band on your phone: This way, when you reach for your phone, the rubber band will remind you that you’re not supposed to go on social media and it’ll snap you out of your autopilot mode.
- Get a real alarm clock: Using your phone as your alarm clock has never been a good idea. You should not reach for your phone as the first thing you do in the morning. When you have your phone in your hands after waking up, you’re more likely to check social media.
- Replace social media time with a new activity: You need to fill your newfound free time with something else. If you simply do nothing, you’ll just find a way to go back to social media when you’re bored. Learn new skills, do house chores, read, exercise, etc. There are many ways to entertain yourself.
Some detoxes last for 7 days, 14 days, and 1 month. It’s been said that changing existing habits takes between 3-4 weeks. Doing a social media detox for one to two months will definitely be the most beneficial way to do it.
A final word
We use social media to connect with people who don’t live near us. But make sure that you don’t forget to connect with the people that are closest to you. Spend less time on your phone and take a social media break, so you can be with your family and your friends.
Ask yourself, if you can put your phone away for the weekend without checking social media and getting the “urge” to check it? If you can honestly answer yes to this question, then you’re good!
But if you’ve read the post to this point, then there must be something in you that’s telling you to do something different. If you’re spending more than four hours on your phone every day, you know now that it’s too much time.
Doing a social media detox can be an amazing way to free yourself from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. By deleting all of your social media apps it’ll be harder for you to access everything. Your mental and emotional health will thank you for spending less time on your phone and on social media.
Are you planning on taking a break from social media after reading this post? If so, let me know in the comments below and share how you’re going to do it.
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