Social media. Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. Everywhere we go, people are staring at their phone to see the latest Instagram photo or Tweet or Facebook post.
Social media is meant to be entertaining, but is often a time leech. We all have enough to do without worrying about how much time is wasted on social media. Consequently, we all need a social media detox at some point in our lives.
You know what I’m talking about. Nowadays, everyone with a device strikes the same pose: head down, shoulders slouched and forward, hands in a claw position as they scroll or type. It’s an epidemic! In fact, here is an article discussing the dangers of smartphone addiction.
I’m not against social media at all. I enjoy seeing my family’s and friend’s pictures who live in other states. Social media can be entertaining or a quick way to share an important event. It can also be used to reconnect with old friends.
Social media is also vital to my business, as it is a great way to connect with all of you mamas out there. I love interacting with potential clients in my Facebook group or on my page.
The problem with social media occurs when you forget to actually talk to people in person or on the phone (not just texting). When you mistake an online comment for actual connection with another human being. When you start to make up stories about why she posted this or why she made that comment.
Why do you need a social media detox?
Maybe you don’t. If you have a healthy relationship with social media and only check it once a day or every other day, you might not need to worry about it.
However, if you are one of the millions of Americans who can’t go a day or even an hour without checking the latest posts, keep reading.
1) Find more time in your day. One of the number one concerns with moms these days is not having enough time to get everything done. However, I imagine you would be surprised to see how much time you spend scrolling through Pinterest, Facebook, etc. Here are some statistics about time spent on social media. Let me just say that it’s shocking!
2) Have more quality family time. Sitting in the same room while everyone is hypnotized by their devices is NOT quality time. I have seen couples and families out to dinner, where no one is saying a word, because one or more of the individuals is on their smartphone. The others are then left to just stare off into space. I’m sure you don’t want to be that sad family.
3) Improve your health. This might sound silly, but social media can be downright dangerous. I mean literally. Distracted driving due to cell phone use is causing thousands of injuries and deaths every year. Those users are often posting to social media while behind the wheel!
Furthermore, distracted walking is becoming such a problem that orthopedic surgeons banded together to launch a humorous safety campaign against “the digital deadwalkers.” And don’t even get me started about biking while using a smartphone (you need two hands people!).
Plus, you can develop trigger thumb, text neck syndrome and other health problems related to excess phone/social media usage, as discussed here.
4) Improve your production at work. Social media might actually cost you your job. Employers don’t look kindly upon paying you when you’re wasting time posting on Facebook. They also will check out your content. That means you might not want to vent online about your boss or coworker who irritated you.
5) To embrace reality and perspective. We all need a little perspective when it comes to social media. It’s not truly portraying real life. People see these perfect pictures and become envious of others. Keep in mind, though, that it’s simply a curated view of life carefully chosen by the individual.
Most people aren’t going to show you a picture of their disheveled home or post about how they lost their temper with their children. Instead, they upload perfectly curated pictures of their home and family. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. I do the same thing.
We just need to remember that for every perfect moment seen online, there were 100 imperfect moments happening in real life (and that’s OKAY!).
How to perform a social media detox
First of all, it’s important to know how much time you already spend on social media. Most smart phones keep track of this by now. Therefore, be sure to check your screen time before performing the social media detox. That way, you have a starting point for improvement when it’s done.
1) Determine a set amount of time for the detox. I would suggest at least a few days and possibly a week for maximum benefits. Tell yourself that it’s only temporary. Also realize that the world won’t end if everyone doesn’t know about your Starbucks fix or the latest cute pet pic (guilty of that one).
2) Remove ALL social media alerts and notifications from your phone. That means NO messages should be showing up on your lock screen or email. Then, you won’t be so tempted to check for new posts every hour. Alerts are distracting anyway, especially at work. Plus, you might realize that eliminating alerts is a step you choose to keep even after your social media detox is over (it’s worked for me).
3) Make an announcement (if you need to). Let your tribe know that you’ll be away for a few days. That way, they won’t be wondering where you are or why you haven’t posted in a while.
4) Designate a NO PHONE zone in your home. This could be both times and places where cell phones are not allowed to be used. My family has a rule that no phones are allowed at dinner. I also don’t use my phone when helping my children with their homework or working on my computer.
Maybe you have a particular area in the house where phones aren’t allowed. You can create your own family rules regarding phone use that work for you. Just make sure that you commit to following those rules (no sneaking).
5) Make a plan to fill your time with other things. Us busy moms always have something to do. However, you don’t have to constantly be doing something productive (unless you have a work deadline, of course). Maybe you can focus more on playing games with your children, reading a good book/magazine or self care.
You could also take that time normally spent staring at your phone to take a walk or to just sit and breathe. We often forget how to just be with ourselves and give our brains a time-out.
6) Schedule your social media time. This is for those of you who have online businesses and count on social media to get clients. If you absolutely have to be on social media every day, be super strict about when and how often. I would suggest scheduling no more than 30 minutes a day during the detox. That will give you time to answer questions, comment and post, if needed. Of course, as an alternative, you could do a social media detox together with your group and then use it as a discussion point afterwards!
Please share your experience, good or bad, with a social media detox in the comments below. Do you feel like you need one? Any other ideas on how to go about it? I would love to hear from you!
“Your worth is not measured in likes, comments, notes or followers; but in your ability to love, keep comments to yourself, take note and lead.”
-The Good Vibe