EVERY once in a while, I try to steer away from the constant buzzing and pinging sounds emanating from my mobile phone and, instead, take a well-needed social media detox for a few hours or even days.
There are many times I realise I’m spending a third of my day constantly scrolling through apps instead of simply living in the moment. Sometimes, I obsess about how I come across online and, subconsciously, I start to compare my life to others. However, by taking a few days to myself and focusing on what’s important in life—without social media—has certainly helped me to de-stress.
I started to use social media for myself, rather than to try and please others. I love keeping in contact with my friends and family online, but with certain sites I found myself becoming overwhelmed. So instead, I began to use various apps to follow inspirational content, educational posts and things that make me feel inspired. Moreover, this has helped me to easily skim through apps without getting overly invested.
As someone who experiences regular anxiety, I have noticed that social media detoxing is a great way to minimise this. For instance, you have more time for relaxing activities, such as journaling, painting, going for long walks, and much more.
Although we’re still in a tough position with lockdown still restricting the ability to meet others in person, I believe social media detoxing can give us more time and energy to spend with our loved ones. As some restrictions have eased in Scotland, I found it highly refreshing to meet with my friends, go for a nature-filled walk and be present in each other’s company. Hopefully, when lockdown comes to an end, we can experience benefits such as these from more face-to-face interactions.
The Potential Cons
Sometimes, after gradually detoxing from certain social media sites, I feel obliged to stay actively in contact with people. This may, in fact, be a good thing, as there are people who simply like to keep in close contact with me. Yet, it’s not uncommon to feel a sense of guilt when staying clear of social media for too long.
For me, social media is both a blessing and a curse. It allows you to be creative and show a sense of originality, while simultaneously consuming your life. There have also been moments when I have experienced ‘fear of missing out,’ also known as ‘FOMO.’ For instance, the fear of not receiving an invitation to an amazing event or missing a vital piece of news or gossip that’s all the rage at the moment. There is also the fear of our friends forgetting about us if we’re not always fully active online—which, if they are true friends, should not be the case.
The Bigger Picture
Ultimately, if you find that social media causes more stress, irritability, and anxiousness than peace, comfort, and happiness, maybe it’s time to consider having a little detox. Even if it’s just for a few days or a week; it may help settle your worries.
I definitely wouldn’t suggest deleting every single mode of contact with others, especially during these uncertain times. However, certain apps are not a necessity and often they’re something we can live without.
As much as social media is not necessarily a bad thing, I believe that how and when we use it is highly important.
Colette Cooper is a journalist, blogger and creative writer
PIC: PRATEEK KATYAL VIA UNSPLASH