I decided to embark on a social media detox for a week.
My social media detox included the following: deactivating my Facebook and Snapchat accounts, removing the Twitter app from my phone, relocating the Instagram app to my second iPhone screen, unfollowing all celebrities and other random accounts on Instagram, and only checking Instagram once per day.
I expected to go through withdrawal, but I actually loved the freedom so much that one week turned into two and two weeks turned into a month. Now, my supposedly “brief” social media detox is my new and improved way of life!
Try it. You (probably) won’t be sorry!
Did you read the title of this post and cringe? I’m with you. I had read about people “detoxing” from social media and honestly judged “those” people as being out-of-touch and over-the-top. Surely, anyone needing to do a social media detox was waaaay more obsessed than I was. Eek.
Then, three things happened:
- I read the book The Circle. Have you read it? It’s all at once captivating and thought-provoking and terrifying. I don’t want to give anything away, but let me just say this: If you read it, you’ll probably be a bit more conscious of the time you spend mindlessly scrolling through screens.
- I watched a few episodes of the Netflix hit Black Mirror. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what Black Mirror is about, here is Netflix’s description: “This sci-fi anthology series explores a twisted, high-tech near-future where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide.” Like The Circle, Black Mirror episodes are captivating, thought-provoking, and terrifying; certain episodes (like “Nosedive”) make you want to throw your phone–and everyone else’s phones–out the window.
- I caught myself scrolling through Instagram while watching my favorite tv show, The Handmaid’s Tale. The realization that I couldn’t make it 50 minutes without checking Instagram startled me, so I pledged to detox for one week.
The 5 Social Media Detox Steps I Took:
1) I deactivated my Facebook and Snapchat accounts.
I don’t really like Facebook anyway, and catching up on Snapchat stories almost felt like a chore, (especially since Instagram now includes a “story” feature of its own). I wasn’t ready to give up Instagram because I really do like seeing photos of friends’ trips, weddings, and kids. The simple act of deleting my Facebook and Snapchat accounts was freeing in and of itself. I was off to a great start!
2) I removed the Twitter app from my phone.
I don’t use Twitter for personal use; I only use it for this blog, and I barely tweet at all. Still, since the app was on my phone, I’d find myself mindlessly logging in and scrolling through my feed. It was a complete waste of time. Once I deleted it from my phone, I added it to my Google Chrome “bookmarks” bar so that I could still check it once or twice a week.
3) I relocated the Instagram app to my second iPhone screen.
Since it wasn’t readily available on my first screen, it was much easier to avoid mindless scrolling.
4) I unfollowed over 100 Celebrity and other random accounts.
I asked myself this honest question: “Do the posts of previous Bachelorettes in bathing suits, random puppies sleeping, and funny gifs add value to my life?” My honest answer was “no,” so I unfollowed all of these accounts with the intent of maaaaybe following them again once my social media detox ended. I didn’t want to commit to anything permanent.
5) Finally, I vowed only to check Instagram once per day.
This was the toughest part. As mentioned, I was used to mindlessly scrolling through my feed multiple times a day. For my social media detox, I vowed to mindfully check my feed only once. At first, I found myself reaching for my phone and then putting it back down at multiple points throughout the day. This act awakened me to my reliance on social media and actually freaked me out, especially post-The Circle and Black Mirror! Eventually, I started to forget where I’d put my phone and to go hours without it. Once, I accidentally left it at home when I went to dinner. This was a sign that my detox was working!
Once I was acclimated (it took a full week), I loved the freedom so much that one week turned into two and two weeks turned into a month. Now, my supposedly “brief” social media detox is my new and improved way of life! I will admit that I check Instagram more than once a day, but I’m much more mindful about when I do and how long I spend on it. Since I’m no longer social media-dependent, I feel happier and freer than ever. It’s nice to sit in silence and people watch on the subway. (Though, my “people watching” pretty much involves watching people scroll through their phones. The irony!)
If you’ve never tried a social media detox yourself, I highly recommend it!
Did you try your own social media detox? If so, what did it entail and how did you like it?
In each blog post, I aim to bring you food for thought (pun intended. Note: my day job is teaching English), but don’t take my word for it! Click on and read all of the links above to become your own expert on this topic; knowledge is power. The more you know and understand the “why” behind each biohack, the easier it will be to stick to it and realize you can’t live without it!