When to Prescribe Yourself a Social Media Detox

Whether we like it or not, we are in constant connection. Our generation has a front row seat into the lives of everyone and the unfolding of everything. Do you ever find it to be draining? Feel as though you always have to keep up? Every so often I find myself swamped by the prevalence of social media in my everyday life. At certain times, taking a step back to log off and be mindful helps negate unwanted emotions that can result from overusing social media. Think you may need to log off for a little? Below are telltale signs to consider before deciding to go on a social media detox.

Continuous comparisons- Are you amidst the vicious cycle that includes relentless scrolling and formulating comparisons based off of people you do not even know? Creating comparisons based solely on others online image is not the best recipe for positive body image and a strong sense of self. Comparisons are another way to say “I am devaluing myself,” and therefore, can be the main culprit of low self-esteem. Do not let the act of comparison rob you of confidence. Comparing ourselves to others often breeds envy and jealousy which are two emotions that take up a lot of head space and have loud negative voices. What we see online is not an accurate representation of our real lives. Just like you, the people you view online and become the catalyst to your own self-doubt are showing only small bits of who they are. Curated images should not be the foundation of comparisons that carry out to affect your actual life. It is not worth it. It is not even logical.

Obsessive checking- Are you constantly tempted to check the number of notifications popping up? A red flag should be raised once social media alone has the ability to affect your mood and waver your self-image. Associating self-worth with how many times someone double taps a screen will leave you fighting on the front line of a losing battle. Rooting internal happiness in the actions of others will never give you the tools to build SELF-image. The construct begins and ends solely with you. It is not up for being solidified or validated by anyone or anything else. Obsessive thoughts usually stem from overthinking and over-analyzing, both of which are gateways to feeling anxiety. It is easy to lose hindsight and get wrapped up and that is why I suggest redirecting focus on the parts of your life that social media cannot possibly capture. These aspects are often the most basic and important to your overall well-being. Exerting more awareness, as well as energy, towards these areas of your life will help regain perspectives and positivity.

Negative reality- Sometimes we are so far into the repetition of a negative cycle that it is not as easy to pinpoint what exact action is causing us to feel a certain way. If the above behaviors have become autonomic in nature, then odds are they have created a negative reality. This may mean that the images of yourself and others online highly influence how you value yourself and you feel that they are critical to your self-confidence. If your days out with your friends are centered more around getting the perfect picture over actually bonding, then you are prioritizing social media. If social media affects what you get done in a day and sucks up your time, then you may be too closely connected. Social media should be a fun, easy and positive outlet to keep in touch with one another and support one another. Of course, we all want a nice picture to put up every once in awhile. Who does not? But when that picture and the factors around it consume your mental health and tip your body image, social media loses all its simplicity and can have far-reaching impacts on your well-being.

To wrap it up, there is no set time for how long a social media detox should last. At first, try just a day and see how you feel. I have had periods of time I have stayed logged off for weeks. It depends on what you want to get out of it to better yourself and how long you think that may take. In the long run, you should come back feeling refreshed and self-aware.