Three reasons why you should consider a social media detox

Love to find more hours in the day AND feel physically and mentally better? Here are three reasons why you should consider a social media detox.

The past year has redefined the meaning of ‘busy doing nothing’. Between lockdowns, cancelled holidays, and exercise limitations, people have flocked to social media to divert their attention away from the adversity that the pandemic has brought.

As the UK eases out of coronavirus restrictions, and travel slowly starts to open up, the future is looking brighter. Now, we should take the opportunity to reinvigorate our lives and prepare for the no restriction life ahead. How can we enjoy this time? It starts by putting down your mobile phone and watching the benefits flow in. 

Trethowans
Trethowans

If you’re dragging yourself through hours of TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram every day, find out why you need to stop social media and re-join the real world.

1) Social media is known to impact our mental health

The effects of social media on our mental health is known. Our favourite apps are often fuel for anxiety, depression, and isolation. This is because the feeling of getting a notification or like can release dopamine to the brain.

This drug creates a happy feeling, similar to food, drugs, or gambling. While in the short term this happy feeling may be considered positive, over the long term the need to get this dopamine fix increases. We become addicted to social media, desiring the next like or retweet. Over time, it becomes difficult to get the same satisfaction from anything else other than our phones.

The same satisfaction can be created through alternative and healthier methods, such as education, exercise, and social interactions. Although some of these aspects are limited by the current social restrictions, there are some positive virtual alternatives to social interaction. Plus, we can plan activities for when life returns to normal.

2) You can use your time for something better

Did you know that the average Brit spends 110 minutes on social media every day? This means that every year, we spend nearly a month dedicated to our online lives. Ask yourself if you want to dedicate a full month to scrolling through Facebook. At the same time, there are a variety of better activities you could be doing.

Just think: you could start a business, find a volunteering cause, take up a new hobby, read more books, study for a qualification, get active, spend more time with your family and friends…. there’s so much else you can do – more productive, more worthwhile, and more physically and mentally healthy – than sit and stare at your phone screen.

As a starting point, if you really want to help boost your happy feelings, consider spending some of those 110 minutes a day getting active (even if it’s a walk around your local park). Exercise releases endorphins which relieve pain and reduce anxiety. They also create a happy feeling similar to morphine, making sure that you feel as positive as possible. The long-term benefits of exercise are more than that of social media.

3) You can replace social media ‘likes’ for REAL interactions

Social media cannot replace real social interactions. And while lockdowns have limited the amount we can socialise, there are still better ways to stay in touch with the real world than a message on Facebook.

Video calls with friends, although virtual, are the best alternative to seeing your friends you can’t see in person. The beauty of video calls is that it allows you to see a face, interact with your friends, and practice real verbal communication while protecting yourself, your friends, and everyone’s families. Even better: there’s no limit on group sizes.

There are also opportunities to volunteer, which can help take time away from social media antics. The Office for National Statistics has measured that Brits spend on average one hour and seven minutes a day completing unpaid work such as care or volunteering. There are opportunities across the country to help those in need, particularly during the pandemic. Shopping for elderly neighbours is one simple way to help out and makes a real difference in the world, something which is more difficult to do on social media.

While 2021 hasn’t been all too exciting, we can plan for a productive future ahead. This starts by ditching social media to help your mental and physical health, your social life, and your community. Whether you want to take on an adventurous course or volunteer for a noble cause, this summer is the best time to dedicate yourself to becoming a better version of yourself.

Looking for something better to do than sit at home browsing social media? Find out how SIA Austria, who contributed this article, can help you become a ski instructor.

Photo by ROBIN WORRALL