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How To: Social Media Detox

With the constant influx of information coming at us from everywhere, it is important to keep your mental health and self-care a top priority. More and more, we are accessing news from social media. The images and news stories that we are exposed to can create feelings of fear, pain, anger, confusion, and anxiety. In today's world, we consume most of our news and other information via social media. Social media is great in that it provides quick information, however, the frequency can be overwhelming. One of the simplest ways to take care of your mental health in the world of technology is to take a social media detox.

According to the Pew Research Center, 69% of adults and 81% of teens in the US use social media. This puts a large amount of the population at an increased risk of feeling anxious, depressed, or ill over their social media use. A 2018 British study tied social media use to decreased sleep, which is associated with depression, memory loss, and poor academic performance.

Social Media Detox:

Schedule social media breaks and stick to them:

If you use a calendar to keep up with appointments and events, put your social media break on your calendar as well. Designate time each day, week, or month when you do not check your social media accounts. If it is on your calendar, you are more likely to stick to it.

Unfollow/unfriend people with triggering posts, messages, and/or comments: Sometimes we remain friends on social media with people even if we disagree with their views because we are friends with them in real life. We might feel that a friend will take it personally if we unfollow/unfriend them. Ask yourself if keeping them as a friend on social media is worth your mental health. If the answer is "no", unfollow them. It's okay, you can still be friends with them in real life. If the friend in question has a problem with you unfriending them, invite them to have a conversation about it in real life. It is helpful to go through your social media friends list periodically and delete, unfollow, unfriend people who's social media presence is unsettling for you.

Delete social media apps:

Deleting your social media apps, either temporarily or permanently, can greatly assist with reducing the amount of time you spend engaging on social media. Most social media apps have a web-based platform that you can access online. It takes a few more clicks to access social media this way. However, having to take the extra steps to view social media online might be just enough of a deterrent for you and you will automatically engage in social media less often simply because it takes more effort to access it.

Turn off notifications:

If deleting your social media apps is something you are not interested in, the next best thing would be to turn off your notifications. When your phone is constantly dinging, buzzing, or lighting up, it can be challenging to focus on anything else. We tend to feel anxious until we can get to our phones and respond to the notifications. In a society driven by instant gratification, we often do whatever we can to check the notification, easing our anxiety, yet getting right back into the social media loop. Turning off your notifications gives you the control to check your phone when you want to, not when your phone tells you to.

Find other sources for your news and information:

Social media is a great tool to use in order to stay on top of the news and current events. However, when you use social media to access the news, you are also bombarded with the opinions of others as well as other distractions that you may not have wanted. Listening to news related podcasts, signing up for newsletters, or reading a newspaper are all great ways to get the news and current events you seek without the distractions or comments from others.

There are many other ways to detox from social media, these are just a few that have worked for me. I hope they can work for you as well!!!

Love, peace, light



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