Social media is a mindless habit that we’ve all grown accustomed to. What feels like a harmless five minute scroll on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok can easily turn into hour-long sessions. If you find yourself constantly checking your phone, it might be time for a social media break.
While there are a lot of perks to social media, there are also plenty of reasons to take a step back from it. But having everything at your fingertips can make it harder to take the plunge and actually enjoy a detox.
By implementing some easy strategies into your life, you can avoid the addiction and mental and physical health issues associated with social media.
Why Should You Take A Social Media Break?
Social media started as a fun way to interact with friends online, but it’s become a time-consuming addiction for many people. Time spent on social channels has steadily increased over the years as technology has grown more advanced. Research has found that on average, a user will spend around 143 minutes on social media per day.
More research is being done to find out how social media can impact our health. Smaller studies have shown that people, especially teens, who spend more time on these apps are more likely to develop body issues, depression and sleeping problems.
There’s also a chance of getting “text neck”, a syndrome that can affect posture and spine issues from craning your neck down for increased periods of time. Computer Vision Syndrome is another outcome; looking at a screen for too long can temporarily blur your vision and dry your eyes.
Given the possible side effects of social media overload, it can’t hurt to take a break. This simple detox might be hard for people to do depending on how much they rely on social media for day-to-day entertainment. Luckily, there are foolproof ways to lower the amount of time you spend refreshing timelines and checking notifications.
Here are seven ways you can ease into a social media break.
1. Delete The Apps You Spend Most Of Your Time On
Did you know your devices can tell you how much time you’re spending on each app? Check out your phone or tablet’s settings to see which social media apps are increasing your screen time. Then, delete these apps so they’re no longer there to tempt you.
By deleting even one app, you’ll already be lowering your social media usage significantly.
2. Put Your Phone On Airplane Mode
This one smartphone setting could be a huge help during your social media break. Airplane mode turns off all your connections to Wi-fi, cellular networks, Bluetooth and GPS. This means you won’t receive any notifications from social media and you’ll be unable to refresh timelines. The more time you spend with this turned off, the more you’ll get used to it.
You can also consider turning on “Do Not Disturb” mode. This setting is another way to stop notifications from buzzing on all your devices.
3. Download Some Helpful Apps
This might sound counterintuitive, but downloading certain apps can help you stay off your phone. There are apps built to measure your phone usage and even take action once you reach a time limit. This will give you the freedom to call and text as you need, while helping you avoid social media. There are similar add-ons you can find for desktops as well.
Here are a few options available on Android and Apple devices.
This app aims to help people stay focused and be more productive by spending less time on social media. It’s useful when you’re trying to get stuff done at school, work or clear your head. It provides access to focus music tracks, sleep stories, meditations and lots more.
The Space app helps users find a healthy phone and life balance. It does this by tracking your mobile behaviors into a report. This will help you set daily limits, compare your usage to other friends with the app and learn helpful tips and tricks to staying off your phone.
If you want to stop using your phone constantly, the Offtime app might be a good option to try. It includes features like social media scheduling, usage insights, setting daily limits and lots more.
4. Let People Know You Won’t Be On Social Media
Since nearly everyone is on social media, your friends and family could unknowingly act as enablers for your addiction. It can be hard to disconnect with people sending you tweets, Snapchats, direct messages and other notifications.
To avoid the temptation, let people know you’re taking a break from social media. This will tell others you won’t be checking in or answering them. It will also hint at them not to interact with you until you decide it’s time to come back on.
5. Find Something Else To Keep You Occupied
A social media break could be a great time to rediscover a hobby you might have forgotten about. Since the average social media user spends nearly two and a half hours scrolling, that precious time can now be allocated to something else you enjoy. Whether it be exercise, reading a book, creating art or anything else you find interesting, a hobby will distract you from your phone and limit any desire to check on the latest updates.
6. Log Out Of Your Accounts
It’s likely that you never actually log out of your social media accounts if the apps are installed onto your phone. Consider signing out of these accounts. This simple action can act as a barrier once you click onto the websites. Once you see that you’re not signed in, laziness will kick in. You might realize the app isn’t worth your time if you have to remember your username and password.
7. Avoid Social Media After You Wake Up And Before Bed
Ease into your day and nighttime routines by avoiding social media. Stay off any screens for at least half an hour after you wake up in the morning and half an hour before you go to bed at night. Depending on how prone you are to using social media during these times, this could knock nearly an hour off your daily usage.
Discover What Limits Are Healthy For You
Once you choose to end your social media break, don’t fall back into old habits. Try implementing a healthy balance and start prioritizing off-screen time. There’s always going to be another meme, video or post to capture your attention. But your break should help you realize you won’t be missing out on much.
Plan ahead when you decide a social media detox is needed. You’ll find yourself more focused, productive and refreshed.