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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

We all spend hours on our phones a day — whether this is scrolling through TikTok or reading news articles. For most of us, we are consumed by our phones. It has become a phenomenon that has influenced our culture: getting the perfect makeup look to take pictures on Instagram or spending hours trying to select the best photos to go with our feed. When we think of social media, a sense of tension arises that can be damaging to our mental health —  especially our self-image. A new study conducted by Facebook revealed recently that Instagram has a proven negative impact on how we view ourselves, especially for younger girls. For all of these reasons and more, I believe it is so important to give ourselves breaks from the world of social media, and this article will give you tips on how to do so.

To preface this, I am someone who recently has started a social media detox. When I notice that my mental health is getting worse, I decide to simply delete the social media apps that cause the most harm for me, most recently those being Instagram and Snapchat. I have done detoxes a few times and I have personally found them to be extremely helpful. Everytime I complete a detox, I find myself spending less time on my phone, and also when I redownload the apps, I become less and less likely to even use them. Additionally, if I am keeping some social media apps on my phone, I like to severely limit my time on them, and there are settings on phones that allow you to set limits for yourself if you are just starting out. 

The reason behind why I decided to delete these apps is because I have found that spending so much time on them has had an impact on my confidence and how I feel in general. Having constant exposure to what everyone is doing in my life or distantly, is a lot, and sometimes I just need to unplug from that. If we think about it, normally we would not even be concerned about what others are doing outside of our close friends because it is not something that is on our minds. Social media has changed that, and, at least for me, seeing so much content all the time can feel extremely overwhelming.

Another tip that I have regarding social media is to limit who you are following. I have decided that I am going to unfollow everyone that I do not gain happiness from, and you should too. You are most likely not going to see most of the people who you follow ever again, and you do not owe them a follow. If there is a person who you think of while reading this, go and unfollow them. Life is way too short to constantly see people who you dislike or make you feel bad about yourself constantly. 

Social media apps like TikTok can be a large escape for a lot of people. In order to compensate for that, you can find things that you really enjoy. I do not always have the energy to read or do homework assignments in my free time. I recommend doing really small things like tidying up your space, going on a walk, listening to a podcast or meditating. All of these things can really help you feel better about yourself and also provide you with an escape. You can also spend more of your time hanging out with or talking to people that you want to see instead of looking at things online that might upset you.

My final reason for why taking a social media break is so important is that it allows you to be more present. I have found that overtime, through taking breaks, I have become way less dependent on my phone. I do not use it as much when I am hanging out with other people. Sometimes I even take walks without listening to music or a podcast. Allowing myself to truly just be in the moment and be present has made me feel so much better about myself. I really have enjoyed taking in the world around me and noticing things on my daily walks that I might not have noticed if I was looking down at my phone. 

It might be difficult to go completely cold turkey on social media and cut it out for weeks or never open an app again. Be patient with yourself, and it is more than okay if you slip up and go on an app or redownload it before you want to. It is so important that we all put ourselves first, and that we are truly trying to make a difference with our mental health!

Do what is best for you and remember that everyone’s mental health journey is different.

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Alice is a Boston University sophomore studying political science and environmental analysis and policy. She is passionate about politics, music, and fashion.
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