How to kick-off a “Digital Detox” and break up with social media
At their best, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat can serve as a constant link with our friends and family. We rely on them to keep us connected and up-to-date, while giving us the opportunity to share both validation and inspiration (thank you, Pinterest).
That said, digital overstimulation – especially in a time when up-to-the-minute information is free and unfiltered – is taking a toll on our health, both mentally and physically. A study from the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health found that using multiple social media platforms increased the risk of depression and anxiety in participants, especially among those using seven to 11 platforms, compared to peers who used no more than two.
And apparently, we’re conscious of at least some of these negative side effects of social media addiction. In a recent survey about New Year’s resolutions, the number one goal reported by respondents for the year ahead was to quit social media, easily beating out old standbys like quitting smoking and losing weight.
If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “I need a break from social media,” we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 expert-approved strategies for overcoming a Facebook addiction – or any social media addiction, for that matter – by embarking on a “digital detox.”
Delete social media accounts you don’t use
According to Marie Potter, Marketing Director for the Professional Organisers, the first step in overcoming social media addiction is to consolidate your devices and delete all the platforms you don’t use. If this task in itself seems overwhelming, break it down into bite-sized chunks. “Start by taking 10 minutes a day to declutter your devices,” Potter says.
Be realistic when setting goals
Instead of quitting social media cold turkey, Potter suggests making “micro-commitments” in a gradual weaning process. “Make these goals realistic and attainable,” she says. These might include declaring a 30-minute social media time-out while at work, or setting aside an entire day as a social media blackout. It might even be as simple as limiting yourself to checking your phone during your morning coffee break – whatever it takes to rein-in the habit.