In today’s day and age, it’s often necessary to press pause on social media platforms and press play on real life. Whether it’s TikTok, Twitter, or Instagram, endless scrolling can leave you feeling jittery, stressed, and on edge. Too many people spend more time browsing social media feeds than they do engaging with people face to face. The constant scrolling is very negative, which is why taking a break from social media can benefit your health.
You may not think that you are a social media addict, but how many times do you check your social platforms on a daily basis? Do you search memes or mindlessly scroll through reels when out at a restaurant? Is capturing the moment on your phone more important than experiencing it through your own eyes? If this describes you, it’s time to take a break from social media.
What Is A Social Media Cleanse?
Basically, a social media cleanse is a fancy way of saying “taking a break” from social media. “Cleanse” is a buzzword, which is why a lot of health websites use it in regards to things like a social media cleanse. A hiatus from the Twitterverse, for example, can last for a week or months; it really just depends on your Internet habits. Mental health experts explain that taking a break can help reduce the risk of addictive habits or behaviors. Notifications, messages, likes, and comments are little dopamine jolts. These can feel good, but the negative attention, or lack thereof, on social media can send you into a downward spiral. When you take a break from the screen, you may experience the following benefits.
You May Sleep Better
There are many people who sleep with their phone, clutching it like a child cuddling a stuffed animal. Some people scroll their way to sleep, while others cannot sleep because they scroll right up until bedtime. Artificial light from your phone or screen can interfere with the body’s melatonin production. This hormone is responsible for helping you fall asleep, so looking into the social media void can make this process very difficult for your body. Separating yourself from social media will not only lead to less time in front of your screen, but it may also aid your sleep.
Curb Your FOMO
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is the daunting feeling you get when you’re plugged into your device. Psychologists say that linking up to a large social media network can make where you are in the world feel like it’s the wrong place to be. Naturally, you experience FOMO, but professors at Kent State University say that where you are in the moment is often the right place to be. That said, the absence of social media can create FOMO because you worry that you are missing a friend’s wedding announcement or baby shower celebration. Sometimes, though, you just need to unplug to appreciate that you are supposed to be exactly where you are.
Improve Your Self-Esteem
Constantly scrolling through social media can cause many people to compare lives, bodies, and achievements with everyone else. Friends and influencers alike can make it seem like your life isn’t going the way it should, or that it doesn’t measure up in quality. According to scientists, this constant comparison leads to high rates of depression. A digital detox can help you focus on yourself and reconnect with the people, things, or places that make you happy. Freeing yourself from comparison is often one of the best things you can do for mental health and self-esteem.
Free Up Your Time
If you stop scrolling, you can free up space in your life to complete other things, which you may avoid. Get out from behind the screen and take a walk, clean your kitchen, organize your closet, rearrange your living room, or go to the gym. You never know what possibilities exist outside of the screen if you never take a break. You may find that you want to devote more time to painting, practicing an instrument, volunteering, or hanging out with friends. The social media-free world has so much to offer, so what will you do?
You May Relax More Easily
As we mentioned earlier, excessive social media use can lead to issues with self-esteem, but it can also lead to loneliness, depression, and stress. A 2017 meta-analysis examined 61 studies that examined social media’s relation to mental health. The researchers found that social media may not affect everyone the same way, arguing that people may not experience depression or self-esteem issues. However, psychologists suggest that taking a break from social media can help reduce anxiety. It lessens the obligations to respond or comment, which can become stressful.