8 Reasons Why I Regularly Detox From Social Media To Protect My Mental Well-Being

It’s been a while since I’ve written about disconnecting from social media, and why it’s the best thing for us.

So with Christmas fast approaching, there is no better time to bite the bullet and unplug from the online noise.

Here are the 8 reasons why I’ll be doing a social media detox this December.

Are you ready to join me?

Featured image is for decorative use only to support the blog post. Photo is of a bed with beige and white sheets with a wooden tray on the bed with an iPhone and coffee

Social media is a great tool for any small business, influencer or blogger looking to build and grow an audience.

I’m personally thankful for social media in many ways.

Instagram has allowed me to connect with fellow female entrepreneurs and other self-care advocates who I’m learning from every day.

Pinterest has allowed my brand to become visible in a way I never thought possible and I welcome new subscribers to my community every day.

So, yes, I am super grateful for social media.

But it can also be an incredibly toxic place.

From being subjected to content that you may find triggering to feeling unworthy if you don’t get many likes on a particular post.

It’s easy to get caught up in the highlight reel on social media and feel like you’re constantly competing and comparing yourself to everyone else’s wins.

So, it’s essential that you set boundaries and take regular breaks from social media.

Not only for your well-being but for your sanity too.

“The greater the screen time, the greater the unhappiness”

Kate Murphy

Unplug, refresh, repeat.

If you’re new to the world of digital detoxing, let me first introduce you to the many benefits of disconnecting:

  1. Improves your overall mood
  2. Clears your mental space
  3. Build good digital habits
  4. Be present when spending time with loved ones
  5. Take back control of your sleep pattern
  6. Become a more positive person
  7. Reconnect with the world
  8. Stops the comparison cycle
  9. Feel less anxious and overwhelmed
  10. Gain more time in the day

Save this detox benefits to Pinterest

8 healthy benefits of doing a social media detox infographic including spend more quality time with loved ones, feel less anxious and stressed, stops the comparison cycle, reconnect with the world, an act of self-care, take back control of your sleep pattern, enjoy the present, become more positive. The image consists of icons on top of coloured blobs.

Building healthy digital habits doesn’t need to feel hard.

In fact when you get into the swing of things, not checking your phone for 4-hours will start to feel normal.

My number one top tip to implement first when limiting time on social media is to start small.

Don’t jump straight into detoxing for the whole weekend. You will find it hard to stick to, and chances are within an hour you will be neck-deep in a scrolling binge. Scrolling for 5 minutes is never just 5 minutes, is it?!

So ease in by taking a break for an hour or going screen-free at mealtimes only.

It’s all about creating balance so you can be more intentional with the time you spend on social media.

Save these prompts on Pinterest

8-Days of prompts for a successful social media detox including no phone after 6 pm, engage and scroll for 30-mins, no social media for the rest of the day

Be more intentional with the time you spend on social media by setting healthy boundaries. Start small and take it one step at a time to make the process easier.

Here are a few I’ve stuck by for the past year and have worked wonders on my soul.

  1. Never scroll first thing in the morning as no good will ever come of it
  2. Unfollow anyone who does not inspire you daily or provide you with enough value
  3. Mute all notifications and only check them at specific times in the day (at the same time every day to help build the habit)
  4. Delete any unused social apps or the ones that distract you the most
  5. Avoid using social media on the weekends or at least limit your activity

And of course, unplug whenever you feel like it.

Remember, it’s ok to take a break.

Save these social media boundaries on Pinterest

8 healthy boundaries to set with social media infographic including set a timer every time you hop onto social media, leave your phone in an another room, pick up a book instead of scrolling, unfollow anyone who doesn't provide you with value, no scrolling in the mornings, mute all notifications, avoid social apps on weekends, delete any unused apps. The image consists of icons on top of coloured blobs.

Need help getting started with a social media detox?

If you’re looking to take back control of your digital well-being then get started straight away with this 30-day Social Media Detox Planner.

It has everything you need to successfully stop the scroll and limit your screen time on social media.

If you’re looking to take back control of your digital well-being then get started straight away with this 30-day Social Media Detox Planner. It has everything you need to successfully stop the scroll and limit your screen time on social media

8 honest reasons why I detox from social media

I’m about to get real with you.

For as long as I’ve been writing about the goodness of taking breaks from social media, I’ve always focused on the overall benefits and the actions I take to limit my screen time.

I’ve never gone in deep to explain why I unplug, apart from the fact I get sucked into the comparison cycle which everyone I know seems to suffer with.

So here they are — the very 8 reasons why I detox from social media. AKA the reasons why I hate social media.

I would love to hear from you with this one. Please me know in the comments if you can relate to any of these reasons.

Or even better, why you like to detox from social media!

Reason #1 | The toxic nature of Instagram

Social media is not just a phase of life, it’s a way of life.

It has become an addiction for many people who spend hours on it every day. We mindlessly scroll through picture-perfect images and tap through stories from influencers having free meals or receiving free products.

We compare ourselves and we scrutinise our own lives.

Social media has also created a FOMO culture.

We feel a need to constantly be doing something and documenting it on our stories or feeds. Because let’s face it, if you didn’t post about it did it even really happen?

Hands up if you’ve ever spent the best part of a night out with friends taking pictures or videos and uploading them straight to the gram?

And then getting distracted by other people’s content and going down a rabbit hole of scrolling, tapping, and swiping.

This addiction that we’ve developed with social media has unfortunately come at the cost of our mental health.

So every so often I need to unplug from the online noise. To remember that life is about more than those perfectly curated squares on my screen.

Life is about enjoying and appreciating what is around you in that very moment. Not being constantly distracted by what everyone else is doing.

It’s about being fully present and making real, deep connections with people.

Reason #2 | The hustle culture

If you have been following my journey for a while, you’ll know that my love-hate relationship with Instagram started when I started my creative business back at the beginning of 2020.

I was new to building a business so I looked to Instagram to help guide me through the process, as let’s face it, it’s our main form of communication.

The content that I (wrongly) chose to follow, promoted the hustle culture lifestyle.

I was influenced to believe that working 18-hour days, 7 days a week and having no time to rest is what I needed to do in order to be successful.

The message that was being portrayed over and over again was, “if you want it badly enough, you will work hard enough for it.”

I quickly hit burnout and to make matters worse I got sucked into a cycle of comparing myself to others (see below point).

When trends become viral on social media, they enter dangerous territory. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon and the line between what is the truth and what is false becomes blurred.

There’s a lot of misleading information out there.

So it’s essential that when you are consuming content, you are also doing your own research.

Yes, the person you are following may have 20k followers, but do they actually know what they are talking about? Do they have the right intention or are they misleading you in any way?

So take a step back and reevaluate who you follow.

Does their energy and content directly align with yours?

We are in control of what we consume. If something triggers you or you don’t agree with something then you can choose to not see that content again.

Unfollow, mute, block. Protect your energy.

Reason #3 | The comparison cycle

This is probably one of the first and most crucial reasons why I regularly detox from social media.

I used to have this terrible habit of jumping straight onto the gram as soon as I woke up. I would scroll through picture-perfect influencer posts and think to myself “why can’t that be me.”

You don’t have to be a psychologist to figure out that anxiety & self-comparison are not good factors to start your day on. During these “bad” days, I wouldn’t be motivated. I would doubt every single move I made and I would procrastinate like crazy.

And every single time I would end up back on Instagram looking at even more profiles to compare myself with. It was an endless cycle.

But as soon as I stopped looking at Instagram as the be-all and end-all, I was able to truly thrive in my business.

I stopped putting pressure on myself to hit unrealistic analytics and I stopped getting jealous of everyone else in my niche, and instead began to learn from them.

Even though I have gotten a lot better at not comparing myself to others, sometimes I slip back into the habit.

So it’s essential that I continue to put boundaries in place to encourage a healthy relationship with social media.

I continue to practice a morning detox where I don’t check my phone in the mornings.

Instead of leaving my phone next to my bed at night, I replace it with a fiction book so the very first thing I do when I woke up is read.

A simple, yet effective change!

Why not give it a go on your own digital minimalism journey!

Reason #4 | The metrics

I know reading and tracking insights is fundamental to helping you grow your social media accounts.

But the metrics can also have a detrimental effect on your mental health.

I used to obsess over the metrics.

If a post didn’t get enough likes, or I wasn’t reaching enough people through hashtags, I used to get super upset and cry.

I was putting way too much pressure on my social media performance.

I was using it as a tool to tell me whether I was worthy enough.

It became exhausting and unmotivating, to the point where I wasn’t inspired to post consistently or was doubting what I was creating.

After a year and numerous detoxes later, I’ve finally pulled myself together and no longer allow the metrics to control my emotions.

Yes, sometimes I do slip back into bad habits. But I am now more aware of this and the second my mood changes, I shut down the app, hide my phone and continue with the rest of my day.

So long story short… don’t let Instagram dictate your worth!

Reason #5 | Fake news

I purposely avoid the news.

It’s something that I don’t allow myself to waste energy on. It also increases my anxiety and affects my mood.

If I need to find out the latest travel restrictions or covid rules I will specifically search Google myself.

I use social media as an escape. Logging on to see what my friends have been up to, laughing at a bunch of memes or seeing what the latest self-care trends are.

But what I can’t stand is scrolling through the explore feed and seeing a bunch of negative and fear-evoking posts about the current state of the world.

Many of which are misleading, vastly exaggerated, or just flat out “fake news.”

Especially over the past couple of years.

So one of the main reasons why I detox from social media is to limit this information overload. I need to protect my mental well-being so I can sleep easy at night and not wake up feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Reason #6 | People calling out others

This just does not sit right for me. It has never sat right with me.

One of my values is kindness. Being kind to myself and to others.

So I fail to see the reason why some people get a kick out of calling others out on social media. Whether it’s for the attention, being controversial or maybe they’re just not very nice.

I saw one account share DMs she received from people asking to work with her. But not in a nice way. They were DMs that might have come across as unintentionally rude and misunderstood but she was mocking them.

She then continued to encourage others to share bizarre DMs that they’d received from people asking to work for them.

I understand that in order to stand out you need to be controversial but I don’t believe you should be controversial at the expense of others.

Especially those who have messaged you privately, and have probably got their wording wrong.

I’m now getting quite good at unfollowing anyone who doesn’t align with my personality or values. So if I find something particularly triggering I will just unfollow them.

Detoxing from social media doesn’t always have to be about limiting your screen time. It can sometimes look like blocking out the content you no longer want to see.

Remember, you are always in control!

Reason #7 | Clickbait and controversial content

So this now brings me on to the “clickbait” epidemic. And I’m not talking about the mediocre Netflix series starring Adrian Grenier.

I’m talking about the intentional way people entice you into clicking on their video, or swiping through the post through an overpromise of what you’re about to find out.

I get it, to stand out on social media and grow quickly you need to be posting controversial posts but personally, it’s not for me.

I feel as though people do it for the likes or for the ‘algorithm’.

They know posting something controversial will get them a lot of attention and it just doesn’t feel authentic to me.

But hey, I’m not about to sit here and call anyone out for clickbait.

You do you.

This is just one of the many reasons why I like to take a step back from social media and reevaluate the content I am choosing to follow.

Reason #8 | Vulnerability

Maybe this is a slightly controversial one as vulnerability is all the rage right now.

I love Brené, the poster child of vulnerability. I’ve spent the time respecting myself enough that I can now feel free to be vulnerable and express my emotions.

But sometimes, people on social media take things too far.

E.g. Filming yourself crying.

I cry a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT.

(Side-note; I actually realised while writing this that I haven’t cried for a while. So thank you, Greece for that).

Yes, I’ve probably started crying on camera before but I’ve quickly pulled myself together.

But not once have I ever been inclined to pick up my phone and film myself mid-cry to later share on Instagram.

I get it, that shit resonates with people online.

On Instagram, my content with the highest engagement is when I’ve been vulnerable.

But for the majority of the time, (lockdown aside) I’m a happy person.

So I’m not about to sell myself out on social media and fake “sadness” or “vulnerability” for the sake of likes.

I guess, I just wish people would appreciate the good times just as much as the bad times!

I’m also a firm believer in not sharing absolutely everything online. Some things are just too personal, or sacred even. And I want certain moments to stay private between me and the person I experienced them with.

Because things are all the more special that way.

“I swear I see what is better than to tell the best, It is always to leave the best untold.”

Walt Whitman

Final thoughts

Since last November, I’ve been limiting my time on the gram and I can honestly say I feel more optimistic, less overwhelmed, less pressured to show up online and way less inclined to compare myself to others.

It’s remarkable how making a few changes to how I interact with social media has completely changed my overall mood and positivity.

No more hating on the algorithm or obsessing over the metrics. I’m on social media to make real human connections.

I hope you find comfort in my words and reasons, and they inspire you in some way to also detox from social media!

If you are ready to join me and take back control of your well-being then get started straight away with this 30-Day Social Media Detox Planner. It has everything you need to successfully stop the scroll and limit your screen time on social media.

Until next week,

Thalia xx

Mindful thoughts from notes by Thalia. After a year of regular social media detoxes, hating on the algorithm and obsessing over the metrics, I can now finally say out loud; I'm not here for the likes. I'm here to share valuable content. I' here to build a lovely community. I'm here to make real human connections. Text is black on an off-white background.

Apologies if I’ve triggered or called anyone out in the making of this blog post. That was not my intention. I just wanted to share the many reasons why I detox from social media in hopes that I can inspire you to do the same. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please drop a comment below and let’s have a chat x

--

--

--

Here to help you mindfully navigate and balance your day. Notes on self-care, mindful productivity, mental well-being and wellness.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

The end or a fresh start: How to delete your Twitter account

YouTube Video Thumbnail Tips.

Interview with An Xiao Mina: Meme Expert

How to Create An Adult Subscription Website: Scrile Connect

Instagram wasn’t the best acquisition in the history of tech

How Twitter’s TJ Adeshola is Helping to Build a Virtual Sports Bar

Memes — The insensitive Internet

Social Media & Participatory Culture

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Notes by Thalia

Notes by Thalia

Here to help you mindfully navigate and balance your day. Notes on self-care, mindful productivity, mental well-being and wellness.

More from Medium

A Theory of Job Time

51 Environmental Self-Care Ideas To Help Boost Your Physical and Mental Well-Being

Stock image used is purely for decorative use only to help enhance the blog post about environmental self-care. Image is of a minimal wooden desk with a chair and fluffy cushion.

I know I can’t kill email… but here’s how I tame it

To do lists: A simple and effective method