How much time do you spend on social media?
Before we consider the benefits of a social media detox, it’s helpful to start from a foundation of knowing how much time we’re actually devoting to it. In July of 2020, 4 out of 10 internet users stated they were on social media platforms more than before the pandemic. According to this article, the average amount of time spent on social media in 2019 was nearly two and a half hours each day. That’s 10% of the day without even factoring in the increase over the past few years. It jumps to nearly 16% when we consider time spent sleeping, which typically averages about 8 hours each day.
Before we go any further…
Social media isn’t the enemy.
There, I said it.
I don’t believe that social media is the enemy. Social media is a tool that I’ve needed to learn how to use effectively so that it adds value to my life. Even for those of us that use social media for work/business purposes, wisdom is still a must in order to navigate the impact and influence it has on our lives.
So what is a social media detox, anyway? Detox (short for detoxification) is a treatment used to remove toxins and impurities from the body. When we detox, we’re choosing to rid the body of toxic or unhealthy things.
I’ve done my fair share of food detoxes over the years. Even though it’s not the same thing as a social media detox, the concept remains the same. Periodically staying away from certain foods has helped me determine which ones I may be allergic/intolerant to and make me feel lousy, which ones give me energy and help me feel great, and which ones I might be a little too attached to and need to cut ties with because my self-control around them is non-existent.
In a similar way, the social media detoxes I’ve done have helped bring clarity to areas of social media consumption that are harmful for me, as well as beneficial. It’s helped me make decisions about personal boundaries I’ve needed to put in place based on how social media impacts me, not what another person says my boundaries should be because of their opinions or experiences.
Benefits of a social media detox.
“I noticed there was one thing that was zapping a good amount of energy from me. Social media. Every time I chose to access it, I felt more and more kicked down. It was making me tired.” Hannah Brencher, Fighting Forward
Do those feelings resonate with you at all?
If so, then it might be time for a social media detox. Here are a few benefits I’ve experienced:
- It frees up time I forgot I had – about 10 to 16% of it. What can you accomplish with an extra two and a half hours each day?
- It frees my mind from the informational clutter social media bombards me with.
- It frees my heart from the endless cycle of comparison and competition that so often accompanies my social media scrolling.
Some helpful tools.
So you’ve decided a social media detox is your next right thing. Now what?
Here are a few things that have worked for me, as well as some other tips I found as part of my research about the importance of decluttering our digital footprint:
- Make room for the social media you love and eliminate the stuff you don’t. If you don’t enjoy it or use it regularly, delete it from your device.
- Monitor how much time you spend on social media, and set limits if you need to. Most of our devices can show us quick stats on how much time we’re actually spending on the different apps.
- Turn off notifications and schedule designated social media time. Eliminating the distraction of the constant notification dings on my phone has been a huge game-changer for me.
- Establish technology-free zones and times. Meal times are a common one, as well as shutting down screens at a certain time before bed. This is especially helpful for kids, but parents can help set the tone and lead by example here too.
- Consider a social media fast by setting intentional time away from social media. If the thought of fasting from social media makes you break out in hives, start small with just 15 minutes to an hour at a time. Little by little, you may find it easier to disconnect for even a week or more at a time. It can be done – I’m living proof!
You can see some glimpses of my past social media detoxes on my Instagram.
Maybe deleting apps or accounts isn’t the right starting place for you. It could simply mean choosing to participate less. Whatever you decide, remember that social media is a tool that should add value to your life.
Have you ever benefitted from a social media detox? What’s worked/not worked for you? Share in the comments and let’s continue the conversation!