A month long social media detox really opened my eyes to the feelings and motivations I had when using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. This is how to live a month without social media.
Most people don't admit how much social media means or has meant to them. For me, social media HAS BEEN a big part of my life since 2008. I have built multiple businesses using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other platforms to attract attention, build community and generate revenue.
Now more than ever, I believe we all need to take control of how we use social media platforms, instead of letting them control us.
I don't know how many times you've used social media sites and apps over the years, but for me, after six years of heavy social media use(read: nearly every waking hour of every day)it was time for a break.
- I was tired of feeling like I could never put my phone down.
- I was tired of constantly "creating content".
- I felt cynical and even angry with the people I followed.
- I wanted to get back my free time AND my sanity.
- Perhaps you experience the same feelings? If YES, continue reading...
For 30 days, I ditched social media and did a self-imposed detox.
Should you do a social media detox starting today? If you're reading this article, you probably already know the answer to this question. 🇧🇷
Without a doubt, my first social media detox (which you'll read about below) changed my life for the better. Let me repeat that:Taking a break from social media changed my life.I want you to experience the same feeling I had.
The following is a journal I kept in the Notes app on my iPhone during the 30-day social media detox.
If you want to skip the diary,Click hereto skip to my closing thoughts (and recommended social media detox tools).
First day of life without social media:
*Warning, this first journal entry is longer than the others.
My morning ritual has changed over the last few months from waking up and checking all social media and emails to just checking Instagram. But that day I didn't even touch my cell phone and went straight to make coffee. I was usually in the kitchen scrolling feeds and clicking notifications, but today I flipped throughThe essence of Calvin and Hobbes(my form of meditation). I felt the boyish smile on my own face as I turned the pages of one of my favorite books. From there, it was time to head upstairs to my office and switch off.
When I sat down on my giant blue yoga ball and opened my Macbook, I put my coffee on the table and grabbed my iPhone. I wiped it off, looked at the social media icons scattered across the home screen, and pressed my finger on one of them. The symbols started to shake and the little "x" bubbles appeared. With confident ferocity, I removed Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vine, Pinterest, Google+ (although I never used it), and finally Instagram from my iPhone. None of the apps opened prior to the deletion, they were simply removed (which also removed any remaining push notifications I would have received on my phone). This would be the first time since 2008 that I didn't have the Twitter and FB apps on my iPhone.
From there I closed my phone and switched to my laptop. I moved my mouse to my bookmarks bar in Google Chrome and deleted the shortcuts for FB and Twitter (the only social sites on my toolbar). I typed my Facebook URL into the address bar and quickly navigated to my settings while opening another Google tab "How to turn off all Facebook notifications". Ten seconds later, I turned off email notifications. I closed those tabs and switched to Twitter. A click on settings and another click later also turned off email notifications from Twitter.
All notifications have been disabled. All apps have been removed. And I immediately felt a sense of freedom to live without social networks.
It was like taking a 900-pound silverback gorilla off my back. I was interested in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, especially that day because I had relaunched my personal website the day before (not only was the timing impeccable, it was planned).
After what felt like a grueling few hours, I spent 30 minutes answering emails. One of my first insights was how much time can be wasted browsing social media without even knowing it. I felt like checking Facebook so I decided to get up from my desk and do something.
You'd think getting into a car would be an escape from social media and technology, but most of us don't even realize how much we check things out while driving. During an 8 minute ride I probably checked my phone 20 times. So I drove up to a traffic light. Like a drug addict taking a hit, I took my phone out of the cup holder and wiped it down. It wasn't until I looked at a home screen with no red notification icons that I realized what I was doing. I closed the phone and put it back in the cup holder. Moving my gaze from the center console to the windshield, I noticed how beautiful the day was today. Not a single cloud in the sky and the roadside trees slowly sway back and forth in the cool Florida breeze. I opened the windows and enjoyed the beauty moment, fully understanding how often I take amazing weather and a quiet moment for granted.
On the way home I decided to stop at Starbucks for a cup of coffee. After placing my order in the drive thru lane I happened to look in the side mirror and noticed the lady behind me. From the moment I pulled away from the drive-through speaker, I barely saw her eyes emerge from her phone. Not while she was ordering. Not when rounding a sharp curve. Not even when you're in line. At that moment I decided to pay for her drink. It wasn't even selfish because I wanted to make her day better, but I did it in hopes that she would look up from her phone and recognize the gesture (or hell, just another thing in the world). I paid for the drinks, stopped by, watched her take her [free] drink and was shocked. Not once did her demeanor change or her laser view was blocked on her phone. I shrugged and drove home.
The rest of the day was filled with answering emails, writing a few articles, and making minor corrections to my new website. I usually close my email inbox several times a day to focus. That day, I found myself checking emails on my phone more than usual.
The first day of my detox ended feeling relieved and free. I was relieved that I hadn't caved in and secretly checked one of my social accounts. And I got a sense of freedom from the shackles of notifications and lairs of links, photos and feeds.
Random funny note: My iPhone battery was at 52% at the end of the day. Prior to that day, I hadn't gone anywhere near half a day without having to plug in and charge my phone.
I woke up in the morning and grabbed my phone. Again, my ritual was to scroll through my Instagram feed upon waking. I wiped my phone only to remember that Instagram was gone. I don't remember how long it lasted, but I stared at the splash screen in confusion for quite some time.What else can I do on my phone?I imagined. I checked ESPN.com in Safari and took a quick look at my email. I felt dirty checking my email.
I got up and started my day like the last; Make coffee and read Calvin and Hobbes. When my coffee was ready, I went to my desk and opened my email (less guilty now). I received a few emails from people interested in my detox on social media. Strangely, several people sent me the "Can we automatically correct humanity?" Video from youtube:
It took me about 20 seconds to realize that I had gone to YouTube, a site I would stay away from all month. Damn it! I felt dirty again.
This led to a conversation with my wife about YouTube being part of the detox. I decided I would finish watching the video because it was so good. But after that I would give up YouTube, mostly due to lack of time.
As the day progressed, it looked like things had slowed down significantly. It felt like I had a lot more time than usual. This would become a recurring theme of the 30 Days.
This day brought the first big insight of my detox:
So many times in my social media life I fool myself into thinking I don't care how much reverberation something I post gets. I often write and edit a status update or Tweet many times in the hope that my intelligence, insight or humor will get more attention.
We all do. We take a picture of something, look at it, don't like it, and take another one (or 10 more). We want to capture the perfect moment or share the funniest update. All because we want as positive a response as possible. It's just human nature and what social media has done to increase the sense of acceptance. I could already feel the freedom to think about it, post something and hope it gets a like or retweet.
Today was the first day I realized how many email notifications I get from social media. One of my email inboxes, which normally contains 50-100 messages a day, was silent. Not a single email reached this inbox. It was shocking when I realized how much of my attention and mental energy was probably being sucked every day just because of that inbox.
I was noticeably happier today too. Not that I'm generally unhappy, but I often feel stressed or tense. I could feel happier (if that makes sense).
That day was a Saturday when I spent most of my time cleaning and organizing my house. I try to stay away from the internet most Saturdays, but that rarely happens. I was very busy that day so my phone and laptop were virtually untouched.
A moment later, I finally made the decision to get rid of my entire DVD collection (over 350 DVDs). I took a before and after photo of my DVD shelf. I wanted to share my big decision to let go just to think to myself:Who cares?I mean, I think it could inspire someone who's holding on to something that doesn't have much value anymore. But instead I saved the photos for my own memories and moved on.
As a side note, 350 DVDs sold to MovieStop are only worth $490 in store credit or $225 in cash. I opted for cash. Also, the process of selling that many DVDs took about four hours, which was about three hours and 58 minutes longer than I would have liked to be able to sit in a MovieStop store with nothing on my phone to distract me.
This was the first day my iPhone felt more like a brick in my pocket than a time consuming device. Honestly, I couldn't think of anything else to do on my phone other than constantly updating my email. Looking back, it's kind of silly since I had the entire internet at my fingertips, but all I could think about was wasting time on social media sites.
Sundays are the days I sit on the couch 90% of the day. I'm a huge NFL fan, especially NFL RedZone. Normally I would tweet something to show my support for the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars, but on this day I just kept it to myself.
I received an email from a former member of the IWearYourShirt community named Joby. He's from Pittsburgh and sent me an email tweet talking about trash (since the Steelers were playing the Jaguars). I loved his commitment to badmouthing and sent back some emojis or something silly.
i miss instagram It's the only social media site I keep wanting to review. I think it's because there's almost no negativity, complaints, or criticism in my photo feed. Instead it's just beautiful scenery, cars, people doing cool things, and random food and art that I love. I will definitely be back on Instagram immediately after this detox.
One Monday, usually my most active day on social media, was interesting.
I created my weekly newsletter for my email list (an explanation of my 30-day social media detox). Usually my emails are posted on my blog and I share them on Twitter and Facebook. That day my email was published on my blog and that was it.
I usually get 5-10 responses to my weekly emails. This email received 72 responses. A lot of people had no idea that I was doing a 30-day social media detox. While I posted to all of my social accounts last week, it shows the limited reach of a single Twitter or Facebook update.
I spent a lot of time answering emails, most of them encouraging. Several people said they would start a detox (although only one person was willing to commit to 30 days).
One thing I did a lot more than usual that day was check my website traffic and MailChimp analytics. To be honest, I rarely checked any of these things. I could feel it becoming the new vanity metrics, replacing likes, comments, favorites, etc. I did my best to catch myself updating those accounts and turning my attention elsewhere.
Most Mondays end with a feeling of hope for more. Hoping more people have enjoyed my weekly newsletter. Hoping more people would have liked it on Facebook. Hoping more people would have tweeted me about the content. I was actually perfectly happy with the reaction and enjoyed not worrying (as much) about what people thought.
Day seven, a week without social media:
A week after my detox, an experience that day led to one of my biggest realizations about my current disdain for social media.
As I was driving to the cafe, my wife checked her Instagram account and asked me if I knew the name of someone who followed her. I didn't know the name, but upon further research it was an internet marketer who had approached me in the past. When we looked at this person's Instagram profile, we saw that he followed more than 6,000 people, but only had 800 followers. I realize it's a stupid thing to be upset about, but it really pisses me off when people do that on social media.
It didn't stop there, however; The biography this person wrote was terrible. He was a self-proclaimed "social media genius, ultimate gravity defier..." and other nonsense. I felt myself getting angry reading his biography and seeing his overly self-promotional and arrogant photo updates.
Then I realized: before the advent of social media, people like that couldn't sneak into our personal space and our lives.
Social media has allowed people to advance their agenda and get their messages in front of us with little to no way to avoid it.
This was without a doubt one of my biggest issues with social media. I may not come up with projects or ideas that everyone agrees on, but I certainly do my best not to spam others or be overly pushy. The people who spam, who brag, who are shoddy, can send us their messages whether we like it or not.
Do you like such posts? Want more?
I consider myself a bit like a human guinea pig. I like trying hard challenges (e.g. getting off social media for 30 days). If you'd like to receive more of my challenges straight to your inbox,My weekly emails are here...
I woke up with a huge headache. I've never had a headache and the fun fact is I've never had a fever in my life. I don't know if this has anything to do with the detox, but the timing was certainly remarkable.
There was a task on my to-do list that I had been putting off for months (writing an ebook). I was always scared to do that. Today I sat down and managed to complete 2/3 of the task without interruption. There wasn't a moment where I felt like I had to stop to check FB or Twitter. I was able to fully focus on this task and complete most of it in one go (which took about two hours to write).
Proud of myself for making progress on this task, I decided not to delay too much and closed my laptop. One of my goals during this 30-day detox was to read two books a week. I opened my first book since starting detox and started reading Steven Pressfieldsthe war of art.
Interestingly, I realized that I had boughtthe war of arta year ago and hadn't even looked at it. I read about 100 pages and enjoyed Mr. Pressfield on the Resistance. It felt appropriate and contemporary with what I was doing. And it felt great that I got over my resistance to taking a break from social media. So goal!
Spontaneous Thought of the Day: Can I sell my Facebook account? Would it be worth anything? that's stupid Answer: Yes, stupid idea.
No more headaches. Ufa
I write an article for Inc.com every week. I think that was the first week I looked at how many shares the article got. I usually write the article, share it on social media and make my day. Without social sharing and the resulting conversation, I felt a little empty. I think I tried to bridge that gap by seeing how many shares the article received throughout the day.
Today was another day where I checked my website analytics more times than I care to admit.
With six Skype calls in my schedule, the day went by pretty quickly. It was fun to keep getting asked about detoxing and how I “get by without social media”. Kind of weird to think it was a serious question from more than one person.
When I called someone said:"I don't think I could give up Facebook for a week."My spontaneous thought was:"So you have to give up Facebook more than you think!"I didn't actually say that, although I wanted to.
I usually write my weekly newsletter for my list on Sundays or Mondays. Instead, I felt motivated to write it that day (Friday). I was also able to write the first draft of the article without distractions, meaning I didn't stop typing to check websites, emails, or even my phone.
Just ten days after my detox, I felt my attention span increase and the amount of time I could focus on a task greatly improved.
Accidentally aside:Jacksonville got its first Trader Joe's and I made a trip to see it. Normally I would have shared a photo on Instagram or Facebook with some kind of vegetable or something. Didn't even bother to take a picture, even when a UPS guy came through the door with several large Amazon.com boxes (weird?).
I spent most of the day dealing with Craigslist buyers. So while I was on the phone a few times, it was almost entirely about answering questions about the random crap I was selling.
At the end of the day, I was reflecting on my break from social media. At first I was grateful to be able to create the opportunity to do this, but then I wondered a few things:
- Why the hell do I have to thank you for taking a break from social media?
- Is it stupid to make a big deal out of it?
- Will others be interested?
I thought a lot about these questions before I realized that social media had taken some of my control. Not just in terms of algorithm changes, bad as they are, but making me feel like a slave to them and the conversations or feedback that followed. I want to be in control of how I feel when I wear something or do something, not the other way around.
That day ended in a whirlwind of thoughts and questions when you didn't know.
Another Sunday. Another day to rest on the couch and watch football. GO HUNT!
I mentioned this on day three, but I am absolutely so much happier and less stressed. I didn't get a big deal or start a successful project. I simply removed things from my everyday life that negatively influenced my thoughts and feelings.
Monday's email newsletter went through and I immediately checked the MailChimp report. I probably checked 3-4 more times throughout the day, again much more than usual (mostly I don't check anything).
A random invite email from LinkedIn landed in my inbox. I chuckled to myself when I realized LinkedIn wasn't even on my radar to take a break (because I've never, ever, ever used it).
I missed the opportunity to share an overheard comment (OH):"He's dressed like a lesbian from the waist down."
Day 14, a huge productivity boost starts with my social media detox:
That day was probably one of the most productive days I've had in an incredibly long time. The things I conquered:
- Two edited 30-minute videos (approximately 90 minutes spent on each)
- Four edited 5-minute videos (approximately 15 minutes spent on each)
- Fixed issues for a SaaS product I'm developing (including about 10 detailed answers)
- I finished writing the e-book I mentioned on day eight
- I wrote the first draft of my weekly Inc.com article (a day earlier than usual)
- I only open my email inbox three times a day (usually it's 10-15)
- Drafted an idea for a new project (500 word document)
- Played in a YMCA league basketball game
- Made dinner with my wife and watched The Voice (yes, #TeamAdam)
I can confidently say that I had more willpower and motivation that day than I can remember in a long time. Throughout the day, I never felt stressed or like I was too busy. Everything just clicked and it was done.
I had noticed this a few times before, but that day I noticed that since I deleted the FB app from my phone and it was connected to my contacts, a lot of contacts were removed from my list. Some of them were on my phone before installing the FB app (like my mom, my girlfriend, and a few other friends I text a lot with). Not only did this suck because it felt like a weird security flaw, but I also had to say "sorry that # isn't on my phone, who is it?" on some occasions.(I found out later that this was an iOS 8 setting in the contact group settings).
Also, today I went to someone's personal website and they had not one, not two, not three, but four separate pop up boxes on their website to try and sign me up for their email list. Seriously, I understand email marketing is important, but if you have to ask 4 times (abrasively), I'm not interested in knowing which emails you're going to spam me with. Ugh, sorry I had to complain about this somewhere.
This raises an interesting thought about how if you're not using social media, you don't have the opportunity to complain or share frustrations. Maybe I should start a diary? Or just keep writing in my Notes app on my iPhone?
It had to happen:I had to join FB today.
But wait! It was for business reasons, not personal desires...
I needed to give someone access to my FB Ads account and I didn't feel comfortable just giving out my credentials. With the stealth of a leopard stalking its prey in the wild, I logged onto FB using the ad URL. My task was completed in a matter of seconds and with just a few clicks. Unfortunately, I noticed the red notification numbers. I didn't click on them, but I felt like I made a mistake.
Also, I wanted to vote for something on Product Hunt and found I couldn't do that without being logged into Twitter (or with the Twitter app installed on my phone). After already feeling like a "cheater" today, I decided not to register and the upgrade would not happen that day.
In my email on Monday, one of the responses was from someone who started their own 30-day social media detox. I liked this line from your email:
“The biggest benefit was the removal of negativity and unnecessary information. Some people who were, shall I say…annoying, stayed with me long after I left social media. One thing I know I'll have to do when I get back is filter my newsfeed and timeline."
I made and wrote this insight into social media and negativity about a year agoThis articleeThis articleabout this.
I was happy to see that someone else was positively impacted when they took a break from social media. Then I thought how lucky I was that they were happy. Lots of luck!
Attention is noticeably increased and I don't feel like I have to check other things while I'm working. In fact, it wasn't until the morning after the seventeenth day that I thought of making a note of that day in my notes. I was so focused on getting work done and being present with other things I was doing.
Eighteen and nineteen days:
Lots of football and fun on the weekend. Jaguars finally won!!! Peyton Manning broke the NFL TD record. I would have shared those two things on social media, but instead I just enjoyed what happened and went on with my life.
I wrote an update post about this social media detox for my newsletter and blog.
Also, I downloaded the Angry Birds Transformers app. That was a bad idea as it was super addictive hah. After a few hours of continuous play, I deleted the app.
I decided to have a relaxed Monday. Monday is usually full of work and tiring. I finished my weekly email, blogged it, responded to a handful of emails, and spent the rest of the day readingthe circleby Dave Eggers (a book my friend DJ sent me).
I actually started readingthe circleover the weekend, but read almost 200 pages on Monday. Incredibly timely reading, but also because DJ knew I was on that detox. I really enjoyed it and couldn't stop reading it, which I never do.
Fun Fact: This is the first fiction book I've read since James and the Giant Peach was a kid (no kidding).
Day 21, decision to remove social media apps from my phone for good:
Recorded an interview with Dave Delaney for his podcast. We talked about my book, but more recently my social media detox. A great question that came up and was emailed by many people:What will I do on social media after the detox is complete?
I don't want to get sucked into social expectations and notification addiction again.
Yesterday's email update was about my big social media issue (which I mentioned in the 7th day update). The first clear thought I had was a weekly update on FB. Maybe it's Friday morning and it's related to my week and something I want to highlight or share? This won't work for Twitter so I'm still on the fence. But (as I've mentioned several times) I'll be using Instagram again.
Right now I'm 98% sure I won't put the FB or Twitter apps on my phone again. I don't want to get attached to them or fall back into old habits.
Jokes aside, I received a new Kindle in the mail today. While I enjoy reading brochures, I also try to be more minimalist. My first Kindle book?Creativity, Incpor Ed Catmull.
There was a strike of ideas!
I thought about the second season of the podcast that I co-host(Update: This podcast has been taken down)and how we could generate more sales from it. The goal (and we did in the first season) is to find sponsors for the episode. While that's all well and good, it's not great or passive income. In a few hours, I sketched out my idea in a Google Doc, recreated it in Photoshop, and shared it with my co-host, Paul Jarvis. We are both totally excited about the idea.
I hadn't even thought about social media. Focused on work and my big idea.
Amazing that it only took me 21 days to get rid of something I couldn't imagine living without. I felt a whole new perspective on my digital life.
I thinkjacob prontoI'd be proud of me This thought and realization came after reading your weekly email (usually about habit formation).
Update: The idea I mentioned here ended up generating over $41,000 in sales!
I've thought about it a few times, but today it became clearer: I was (and many of us are) as addicted to social media as people are to alcohol, drugs and other vices.
It may seem silly to compare social media abuse to drug or alcohol abuse, but I firmly believe it's very similar in this regard. Some recent emails and conversations I've had with people about doing their own social media detox often include things like this:
- I could take a break from social media whenever I want, I just don't need a break
- I only use social networks to waste time
- I'm not addicted to social media because I only check it a few times a day
- I do all my work so I don't need a break from social media
- It doesn't hurt me to be on Facebook all day
These are actual responses from several people I've emailed or spoken with over the month. It's kind of scary how much the same statements reflect the telltale signs of people addicted to other things (which we've had years of experience with).
Addiction is a scary thing. It's definitely not something any of us want to admit. Taking this break from social media more than proved to me that I was addicted to Facebook and Twitter. Was it a sick addiction? I feel happier, have clearer thoughts and am less stressed. So yeah, I would say it wasn't healthy.
Had coffee with a friend. Facetime with my brother-from-another-mother Ben. We spent the night with friends having dinner.
I was very grateful for all these interactions. They seemed more meaningful to me. None of them had to be shared on a social network or documented outside of these notes. Those were just moments in life that I really enjoyed.
Day twenty-five and twenty-six:
I finished the bookthe circle🇧🇷 Wow. What a great book. And that I can finish a 500-page book in less than a week? It's almost a miracle.
I have a lot of thoughts about Dave Eggers' book. I don't think they necessarily fit here, but does it bring up the discussion about privacy and are we very connected in life? As far as my digital privacy is concerned, I'm not too concerned. But I'm not sure I want to network any more than I already do.
I was thrilled to be able to use Instagram again in less than a week.
Day Twenty Seven:
Submit my weekly newsletter. I made a few little things.
I noticed that it's been two full days since I plugged my iPhone in for charging. This is unheard of for me. I can't remember going an entire day without plugging in my phone for a fee.
Tomorrow begins a two-week vacation with my wife and dog Plaxico.
Drive into the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. The weather for the trip could not have been more perfect. The trees that lined the road were in beautiful shades of yellow, orange, red, and green. I can't remember an 8+ hour trip feeling so short.
I had an important conversation with my wife. I don't want people to feel like I'm judging them for using social media. I also don't want people to think I hate social media.
Like everything else, I think social media is great in moderation. It has helped me to do some amazing things and meet some amazing people. But I hope people think about using social media and consider taking a break, if only to see how they feel.
We arrived at our beautiful cabin in the woods at sunset. I wrote these notes when I realized that I hadn't taken a single photo of the trip or the place where we were staying. In the past I probably would have taken 20 or more.
Spent most of the day writing and readingCreativity, Incand thinking about my decision to go back to social media and my usage plan. The more I think about going back to social media, the less I want to think about it. That makes sense? I have no idea.
I wrote over 5,000 words that day. They were distributed through my weekly inc article, my upcoming newsletter, and a random paid article. Not once did I feel distracted or want to stop writing to check email, my phone, etc.
I also made some chili with white beans in a slow cooker. I tried to make it "healthy" by not adding too many ingredients. It tasted like dog food. You are welcome to this bonus information.
It's amazing how much clearer I think. Along with lots of writings and emails, I sketched out a brand new business idea and sent it to a developer friend for feedback.
It's been a while since I had so much clarity and focus in my thoughts. The only thing I can compare it to would be “getting in the zone” in sports.
Whenever I sit down to write, I can do so without feeling distracted or hesitant. When I reply to emails, I can review them without interruption. Even during Skype and phone calls, I don't feel like doing other things (even on less exciting calls).
Again, I'm thinking about what I'm going to do when the detox is over. I don't want to go back to old addictive habits.
Thirty-first day of life without social networks (the last day):
I started working on this post while on vacation. The more I thought about writing it, the more I thought about the response I would get on social media. How would that affect me? Can I resist the urge to constantly check for replies, likes, comments, etc.?
I decided not to write this post for a week. I didn't want to force myself to write and share just because I thought everyone would want to. Instead, I worked here and there and completed at my own pace.
I really appreciate being in control of my time.
Hi this is me and my wife Caroline enjoying a free social media experience at the beach.
Final thoughts on taking a break from social media and living without them...
Not being on social media for a month has really opened my eyes to the feelings and motivations I have when I use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.Immediately after my first 30-day social media detox, I felt a sense of freedom.For me, this is a great snack. It literally felt like ripping the bonds of my mind and body apart.
Since I first wrote this article, I've completely quit Facebook, I'm about to quit Twitter, and I'll probably quit Instagram too. I feel like a happier and more productive person without social media dictating my life.
I was fed up with people popping into my feeds and messing up my life. I bet you're tired of it too.
Even with filters, muting and blocking on social media, you still can't avoid the modern telemarketer (or a crazy family member who can't stop reading and sharing conspiracy theories). If you have a profile on any network, people are very likely to throw messages in your face. I know that I want less of these situations to happen in my life.
- We all care about what people think of us.
- We all want to feel accepted.
- We all want to feel loved.
- But social media is corrupting our minds and we need to take back control.
Social networks multiply these thoughts and feelings without us noticing. It's not healthy to always be under the knife of criticism. In a digital world, we need to stop having our lives judged and talked about (often by complete strangers with whom we disagree).
My productivity, attention span, and clarity of thought all increased after living without social media for a month.
I felt like I kicked bad habits (updating feeds and checking notifications) in a very short amount of time. If all this can be done in just 30 days? Shouldn't you at least try this week or weekend?
I'm not suggesting that you also have to ditch social media altogether.But I hope that as you read this, you'll consider taking a break from social media to see how you're feeling.Start with a weekend or a week, but aim for 30 days.
Give yourself a chance to feel how I felt after just one month.
Social media detox tools
I found some useful free tools (and recommended a few) to keep you off social media if you're starting a detox:
- StayFocus Chrome Extension- This is the perfect tool if you use Google Chrome as your web browser and want to resist the temptation to check Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Facebook News Feed Eradicator Chrome Extension- This is less about your full detox and more about keeping your Facebook usage healthier by removing the News Feed and replacing it with a quote.
- self control app- A Mac app that lets you block specific websites (similar to StayFocusd, but not just for Google Chrome).
- our pact- Block social media apps from your phone! Made for parents to control their kids' phone usage, but good for adults who can't help themselves.
What I learned from a 30 days social media detox? ›
I did not have enough time to do things. But with the detox, the hours spent on social media could now be added to study hours or for spending time with family, or for other productive work. It reconnected me with people and increased face-to-face interaction. It made me feel happier and enhanced my mental well-being.What I learned from a social media detox? ›
SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX GIVES YOU BACK TIME
I ended up having much more time in my day to be calm, to focus on myself, to do the things that I had put off for ages, or to just enjoy the moment. It was definitely a shock, just how much time I got back by not being online all the time, mindlessly scrolling!
A social media detox is a conscious elimination of social media use and consumption for a set period of time. Generally, most social media detoxes are 30 days, but some people do 7 days or even a year-long social media detox. Ideally, you're completely eliminating social media use and consumption.What happens when you stop using social media? ›
“One is less likely to get FOMO anxiety, too, and leaving social media will allow you to cultivate better relationships with the people around you. It can also let you enjoy the things you have and instead of focusing on what you don't,” boosting your confidence and your overall sense of wellbeing.What are the 5 benefits of a digital detox? ›
- Reduce Stress. Tech overload causes anxiety, stress, and generally isn't very good for your mental health. ...
- Increase productivity and creativity. ...
- Recharge your brain. ...
- Improved sleep quality. ...
- Better physical health. ...
- Improve relationships. ...
- Reduce depression and anxiety. ...
- Feel happier.
Without social media, I engage in very little brain junk. My time is spent reading books, taking care of my body and life, building my blogging business, and attending loads of therapy. My headspace is filled only with knowledge and attitudes that make my life (and the world) a better place.Why unplugging from social media is important? ›
By disconnecting from social media, you can see how addicted and dependent you are on social media. Also, you can see if there is a time or situation that you tend to want to go on your social media more. Once you have that information, you can work on finding other alternatives so that you do not rely on social media.What are three things we do during a digital detox? ›
- Start Journaling more consistently.
- Create and check off a list of fun things to do for yourself. ...
- Start a new hobby. ...
- Spend time outside in nature. ...
- Practice mindfulness so you can appreciate being in the moment.
A 2019 study found a positive relationship between social anxiety, loneliness, and social media addiction. Social media use can cause FOMO and a sense of inadequacy. This may lead to loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Stepping away from social media may help reduce FOMO-induced anxiety and loneliness.
While studies are still sparse on this, most experts agree that it takes approximately three months (or 100 days) for dopamine levels to return to normal. It may take longer depending on how long and how intensely you've been addicted, so don't be surprised if it takes upwards of six months or even a year.
How do you feel after digital detox? ›
During a digital detox, you may notice that you pay more attention to your surroundings and that your brain can focus better on your tasks. Information overload can cause stress for some people. By reducing your consumption and doing something else, you will feel more relaxed.Are people happier without social media? ›
Studies have shown that social media can have a negative effect on your life satisfaction and subjective well-being. Evidence also suggests that social media is linked to depressive symptoms.What do you call a person who is not active on social media? ›
18. Lurker/Lurking. A lurker is someone who browses social media, social media profiles, and forums, but without interacting or posting anything themselves.Why is quitting social media so hard? ›
“The reason Facebook and other forms of social media are so addicting and hard to quit is due to the instant gratification that they provide,” says Elika Kormeili, a clinical therapist in Los Angeles. “There is a sense of satisfaction each time someone 'likes' or comments on your status update.What are the benefits of detoxing? ›
- Reduce inflammation. Inflammation occurs when your body is exposed to injury or foreign substances. ...
- Purify your blood. ...
- Lose weight. ...
- Sleep better. ...
- Boost your circulation.
“A digital detox can give time for introspection and renewal. It can be a positive for mental and physical health and create a new space for alternative health-promoting activities. Try it and see for yourself.”What comes out when you detox? ›
What comes out of your body when you detox? Numerous waste products such as urea, uric acid, creatinine, excess sebum, dead skin cells, and industrial toxins. Your body can signal you it needs to detox with signs such as fatigue, poor sleep quality, infrequent bowel movements, and skin issues.What are the 5 benefits of social media? ›
- Build relationships. Social media is used for more than just brand-customer interaction. ...
- Share your expertise. You have the chance to talk about what you know and what you want to be recognized for on social media. ...
- Increase your visibility. ...
- Educate yourself. ...
- Connect anytime.
- It encourages critical thinking. ...
- It encourages you to share other sources of media responsibly. ...
- It informs readers how the media affect our culture. ...
- It teaches you how to not be swayed by persuasion techniques. ...
- It encourages you to actively participate in public affairs as a citizen.
It helps students to share their thoughts without any fear. Social media allows students to express in many ways, like by posting photos, blogs, individual articles, videos, audio clips etc. This helps students to come out of the box and explore their talents.
What is the value of unplugging? ›
Unplugging from your phone, and especially social media, helps us realize we need to be focused on our general well-being rather than what someone else might be doing 24/7. When we unplug, we stop worrying about others and start worrying about yourself.What is detoxification and why is it important? ›
Detoxification is a process to get your body rid of various toxins. It aids in strengthening the immune system, rejuvenate skin and boost mental health, amongst many other health benefits. Detoxifying brings balance back to your life and helps your system function correctly.What are 5 signs your body is in need of a detox? ›
- Constantly experiencing fatigue. Experiencing constant fatigue can affect every aspect of your life, and there are some well-known cures for it. ...
- Autoimmunity. ...
- Insatiable cravings. ...
- Bad breath and body odor. ...
- Digestive problems. ...
- Sleeping problems. ...
- Recurring headaches. ...
- Skin breakouts.
Nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. Shaking and shivering. Sweating. Runny nose.Does taking a break from social media help mental health? ›
This 2021 study found that limiting social media use for a week improved well-being by preventing sleep problems. Another 2021 study found that most students reported a positive change in mood, reduced anxiety, and improved sleep during and immediately after a break from social media.What can I replace social media with? ›
- Make a new recipe. ...
- Listen to music and/or make a music playlist.
- Listen to a podcast. ...
- Write in a journal. ...
- Create goals for yourself. ...
- Plan a trip with friends or family. ...
- Have fun with a coloring book. ...
- Go to a museum.
- Set time limits for social media use: ...
- Avoid using social media when you're feeling down: ...
- Be aware of the triggers that make you want to use social media: ...
- Find other activities to do instead of using social media: ...
- Don't compare yourself to others:
“We know that social media activity is closely tied to the ventral striatum,” said Mitch Prinstein, APA's chief science officer. “This region gets a dopamine and oxytocin rush whenever we experience social rewards.”How do I reset my brain from social media? ›
Consider a social media detox of several days to a week to “reset” your brain. Enjoy enriching activities like human interactions, reading, cooking, baking, relaxing hobbies, a nature adventure, and sleep instead.How can I get dopamine without social media? ›
Every time we do something enjoyable, like eating a nice meal, having sex, or going for a run, a little bit of dopamine is released in our brain. However, engaging in vices like alcohol or recreational drugs also causes dopamine to be released into the brain.
Do you feel better after detox? ›
Unwanted substances inside the body can make you feel slow and sluggish. A detox can bring an overall feeling of wellbeing: you feel recharged and revitalized.What should you not do after a detox? ›
Try to avoid dairy, meat, and refined sugars for the first 5 days or so after your cleanse has finished. Over the next few weeks, gradually add back in animal protein if you choose to do so.What does an emotional detox look like? ›
During the purification process, you'll face and address uncomfortable feelings you've stuffed away to avoid dealing with them. An emotional detox pulls up all the repressed feelings of fear, anger, hurt, sadness, and frustration to clear them away, effectively hitting the reset switch on your emotions.When should you disconnect from social media? ›
Feeling irritable without your smartphone, losing sleep due to your tech usage and noticing an inability to sustain a real-life conversation without checking social media are signs you need a break.How is life without social media? ›
Without social media we would reduce our exposure to the amount of bad and fake news, and therefore reduced our overall levels of anxiety, depression, and fear. Every day we log on to Facebook or Instagram and see someone we perceive as more attractive than us, better looking than us or having more fun in their lives.What are the benefits of limiting social media use? ›
- Greater Self-Awareness. While I did not quit Facebook overnight, I noticed how I felt better when I limited my usage of the platform. ...
- An Increase in Time and Productivity. ...
- Better Ability to Focus. ...
- Improved Self-Esteem and Sense of Perspective. ...
- Reclaiming Your Sense of Self.
Ghost followers, also referred to as ghosts and ghost accounts or lurkers, are users on social media platforms who remain inactive or do not engage in activity. They register on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. These users follow active members, but do not partake in liking, commenting, messaging, and posting.What do you call a person who is always online? ›
webhead. noun. informal someone who spends a lot of time using the internet.What do you call someone who constantly posts on social media? ›
What do you call someone who constantly posts on social media? You could used freak, buff, junkie, addict, nutcase, hophead, binger, crackhead and use Social media as prefix such as "Social media freak"How long does it take to break social media addiction? ›
But, it's best to commit to your routine and try not to break it (even if it's just "no social media after 9 p.m.") for at least three to four weeks, according to Jones. "From a behavioral point of view, doing something for three weeks or at least 21 days will allow you to form a new habit.
What does social media withdrawal feel like? ›
The study identified classic withdrawal symptoms, including significantly increased urges, boredom, and an influence on whether the subjects were in a good or bad mood. Most surprisingly, 90 of the 152 participants were unable to do without social media for seven days without "relapsing."Should you quit social media cold turkey? ›
It's not just you
"By going cold turkey, you're potentially threatening those networks." Then there's the fact that social media apps and the phones they're downloaded to are "intended to be addictive", says Australian Psychological Society president and clinical psychologist Tamara Cavenett.
You are rewiring your brain." Rather than devoting attention and time to those around you, which can be positive but can also be draining or upsetting, a month-long break from social media forces you to re-focus on yourself, and on face-to-face interactions with others.Is quitting social media cold turkey good? ›
"By going cold turkey, you're potentially threatening those networks." Then there's the fact that social media apps and the phones they're downloaded to are "intended to be addictive", says Australian Psychological Society president and clinical psychologist Tamara Cavenett.Will I be happier if I delete social media? ›
You can live without social media, and it's probably for the best. However, it is an adjustment. You'll miss out on certain things, but you're also going to be happier and more focused because you'll be less distracted and stressed. You'll also be more productive and fulfilled.Will leaving social media help my mental health? ›
A 2018 University of Pennsylvania study found that reducing social media use to 30 minutes a day resulted in a significant reduction in levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep problems, and FOMO. But you don't need to cut back on your social media use that drastically to improve your mental health.Why are people choosing to quit social media? ›
It Makes You More Negative
For many, social media is an outlet for all of their stresses, frustrations and heartbreaks, or a place to share their thoughts and feelings on the tragedies of the world. And while it may make them feel better, it certainly doesn't relieve those who are reading it.
Detoxification is a set of interventions aimed at managing acute intoxication and withdrawal. It denotes a clearing of toxins from the body of the patient who is acutely intoxicated and/or dependent on substances of abuse. Detoxification seeks to minimize the physical harm caused by the abuse of substances.What is the best thing to do when detoxing? ›
- Check into a certified detox center. Quitting drugs cold turkey on your own isn't safe. ...
- Stick with a nutritious diet. ...
- Increase your water intake. ...
- Stay physically active. ...
- Practice breathing exercises. ...
- Lean on your support system.