Everything You Need To Know About a Social Media Detox; What They Are, How They Work and Why You Need One

Since becoming a female entrepreneur and moving into the digital space, I’ve become a huge advocate for unplugging from the online noise and taking regular breaks.

Here’s everything you need to know about a social media detox and why I swear by them.

Stock image used for decorative purposes to help support the blog post about a social media detox. Image shows a big green pillow on a bed surrounded by a plain croissant, fashion magazine that lies open and a notebook

Social media is a great visibility 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 constantly learning from.

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.

But the toxicity that social media brings can be harmful to our mental health.

From triggering content and the “showing up” culture to glam filters that give us unrealistic facial features. There are many reasons why I regularly detox from social media to protect my mental well-being.

Even the simple act of someone liking your post gives you a sense of worthiness.

I mean come on, I can’t be the only one who refreshes my notifications every few seconds to see if my post has been well received and “liked” by others?

But the thing is, this dopamine hit can greatly impact our self-worth and well-being.

Dopamine is a chemical that is released every time you feel pleasure or are rewarded.

So every time you get notified by a new “like” or a new follower, you are getting high on dopamine.

The feeling is good and you don’t want it to end.

You crave it more and more and then when the dopamine stops, i.e. when you no longer get any new “likes” or “follows”, you feel like crap.

Yes, I have spent many nights crying over low reach and poor engagement.

But being annoyed over something that I can’t control, like the algorithm, didn’t get me anywhere.

So I decided to make a change.

To develop a healthy relationship with social media so I could continue to use it as a marketing tool but keep it distant enough to the point where it no longer affects me.

And this all started with a social media detox.

What is a social media detox?

A social media detox is simply taking a break from social media.

It’s putting your phone away for 60-mins or longer, not scrolling and being present.

You can even go so far as deleting all the apps on your phone which distract you or cause you to procrastinate.

A social media detox can also be as long as you want them to be.

Unplug over the weekend or go further and take a week or longer off. It’s entirely up to you and how badly you think you need to disconnect.

It’s also important to note that detoxing from social media won’t instantly fix all your problems.

As Cassie Widders, host of The Social Self Podcast says, a social media detox “is not a solution, it’s a plaster.”

So I encourage you to work on building a healthy relationship with social media by setting boundaries. ANCHOR TEXT

Do internal work, figure out why social media is causing you so many problems and go from there.

How a social media detox works

Doing a social media detox can be super fun.

All you need to do is plan out when you want to disconnect, not post, engage or show up, etc.

Like I said above, this could be for a few hours or for a longer period of time.

Here are a few prompts to consider:

  • Engage on social media for 20-mins in the morning only
  • No social media allowed until 3 pm
  • Go screen-free at mealtimes today
  • No phone after 5 pm

And use the time you are not on social media to work on your business, hang out with friends or indulge in fun activities.

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

Need help getting started?

Let me introduce you to the 30-Day Social Media Detox Planner.

This planner has everything you need to successfully stop the scroll and limit your screen time on social media in a way that works for you.

Use this planner to be more present, feel less overwhelmed, stop the comparison cycle and improve your overall mood.

13 page undated 30-day social media detox digital planner available on Etsy. Mockup image next to a beige text box and black writing.

This 12-page PDF includes:

  • Space to plan a 30-day detox
  • Screen-time tracker
  • Activity worksheet
  • Space to reflect
  • Prompts and examples
  • A guide to help you get started

Take back control of your digital well-being today.

buy now

8 reasons why you need a social media detox

Since starting my journey towards a healthier relationship with social media 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.

And these are just some of the benefits of doing a social media detox.

So let’s dive deeper into how unplugging from the online noise can help benefit and support your mental health and well-being.

1 | Stops the comparison cycle

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to compare myself to influencers I don’t know on Instagram. This causes me a lot of stress as I feel like I’m not worthy enough. I also get this feeling that I will never be able to achieve the lifestyle that they have.

You can quickly solve this problem by unfollowing anyone who makes you feel like shit or unworthy.

But what’s stopping you from finding their profile once you’ve unfollowed them, and just scrolling through it?

By taking regular breaks from social media you can train your brain to stop the comparison cycle.

And by not comparing yourself to others all the time you can start enjoying your life more and appreciating the things you have achieved.

2 | Improves your overall mood

I feel like all of my deflated days and self-doubting moments are caused by Instagram.

As well as comparing myself to others, not being able to reach enough people on a post or having low story views also makes me feel down.

But it’s important to keep your eyes on the bigger picture otherwise you just get buried under a dark cloud.

Taking regular social media breaks allows you to take a step back from what everyone else is doing and focus on your own journey.

It’s also important to note that gratitude is your best friend when it comes to analysing the metrics.

So what, you only got 30 people like your post. That’s still 30 people!

Imagine having 30 people come to your party or first-ever live TED talk?

That’s huge!

So always be grateful for the engagement and reach you do get.

“Only you know what race you are running… each one of us has a unique potential and purpose; that means that we’re the only ones who can evaluate and set the terms of our lives. Far too often, we look at other people and make their approval the standard we feel compelled to meet, and as a result, squander out very potential and purpose”

Ryan holiday | EGO IS THE ENEMY

3 | Reconnect with the real world

By constantly making new connections online and always searching for new people to follow, we forget about the people that mean the most to us.

Our family and friends.

Detoxing from social media means that we can spend quality time with our loved ones.

So I invite you to put the phone away during your next family gathering and have that deep and meaningful conversation with your parents, grandparents or siblings.

Because you never know when it will be the last conversation you have with them.

4 | Begin living in the moment

While we all build personal brands and businesses online, it’s normal for us to share every inch of our lives with the world whether we like it or not.

You know the saying “people buy from people.”

We constantly have to show up online, show our audience who we are and be vulnerable.

By not having to update our “stories” hourly we allow more flexibility and fun into your lives.

We can start to enjoy life screen-free and begin living in the moment.

5 | Gain more time

By not spending every waking moment on social media scrolling, posting, engaging, stalking, etc, you have more time to do absolutely anything else.

And that’s more time to take care of you.

6 | Clears your mental space

A lot of what we see on social media is unnecessary information or fake news.

Taking a step back from the information we are consuming daily allows us to re-evaluate what is important to us.

We can therefore make our own decisions based on our gut and what works for us rather than having it shoved in our faces every day.

Seriously, I got hooked on the hustle culture when I first started my business as that’s all I saw being promoted on social media and I thought it was the only way to truly succeed.

Gosh, I’m glad that didn’t last!

7 | Have a better sleep pattern

Checking social media before we doze off or as soon as we wake up has seemed to become the norm.

But this consequently disrupts your sleep pattern and aggravates your mood.

By going screen-free at the beginning and end of your day, you can take back control and prepare your mind for a stress-free day and uninterrupted sleep.

I now always go screen-free during the first 30-mins and last 30-mins of my day.

Instead, I spend this time reading or taking notes as it helps my mind to unwind.

8 | The best form self-care

Switching off from social media is the greatest act of self-care you can give yourself.

So be kind to your mind.

Unplug, decrease the overwhelm and nourish your soul.

Save these detox benefits on 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.

Further tips for a healthy relationship with social media

1 | Put boundaries in place

The main issue I needed to overcome with social media was jumping straight onto Instagram first thing in the morning to check my notifications and have a little scroll.

I knew it was the wrong thing to be doing but sometimes I just couldn’t help myself.

While my eyes were still adjusting to the daylight I would be going through picture-perfect influencer posts and checking out other female entrepreneur profiles thinking to myself, I will never become this successful.

It’s not rocket science to figure out that anxiety and self-comparison are not good factors to start your day on.

During these “bad” days, I would not 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.

The first step I made was to hire a mindset coach to help me overcome my mental blocks and limiting beliefs.

As I became more confident in myself and my business, I decided to go a step further and put an end to the unhealthy way I interacted with social media.

The first boundary I put in place — no scrolling in the mornings!

So how did I manage to implement this and get it to stick?

I would keep my phone hidden and instead would place a book that I was eager to read next to my bedside so that was the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes.

A very simple, yet effective change.

Once I nailed this first boundary it was time to put others in place.

So if you want to be more intentional with the time you spend on social media, then set some healthy boundaries.

Start small and take it one step at a time to make the process easier.

Here are a few boundaries to implement today

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

2 | Limit daily digital distractions and screen-time

  • Instead of using an app, write down your to-do list on a pad of paper. I know this is super old school but it cuts out any unnecessary screen time
  • Mute outside distractions by keeping your phone in a different room while you work through your to-do list
  • Download Pause to your Chrome toolbar and stop mindless browsing by blocking any distracting web pages you are about to open
  • Stop yourself from mindlessly scrolling on social media by setting yourself 25-mins intervals to intentionally engage. Use a Pomodoro timer to help you keep track
  • Set an alarm at the end of your day to switch off from client work and relax. This needs to be a non-negotiable
  • Once you’ve shut down, spend time writing down your small wins in a journal rather than jumping straight onto Netflix
  • Turn off all notifications at night for a relaxing and peaceful evening with no interruptions
  • Once you’re in bed, keep your phone in a draw or on the other side of the room so you’re not tempted to pick it up before you fall asleep or as soon as you wake up
  • Limit screen time by spending the first and last 30-mins of your day reading or writing. Going screen-free in the mornings and evenings really does work wonders on the mind

Final thoughts

I hope you find comfort in my words and feel inspired to begin building a healthy relationship with social media. As I said above, doing a social media detox will only get you so far.

The rest of the work has to come from figuring out your issues, setting boundaries and accepting that certain things are out of our control.

Please never allow social media to dictate your worth.

I encourage you to bookmark this post so you can refer back to whenever you need it.

And if you need any further guidance, my inbox is always open.

Until next week,

♡ Thalia xx

Mindful quote by Notes by Thalia which says don't allow social media to dictate your worth. Black italic text on beige background.

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

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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.

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