Whether you consider yourself an influencer or a hobbyist, social media has an undeniable effect on our psyche. Spending time scrolling increases the level of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and FOMO we could experience. Taking a break and detoxing from social is your one-way ticket to feeling happier and emotionally balanced.
There are several digital detox methods you can try, including setting personal limits on how much time you allow yourself to scroll or take a 7-day break to reset. Even taking stock of the people you follow and removing the ones that make you feel less than can counter the negative effects of Instagram. Fill your feed with what makes you feel good and vow to no longer allow anyone to oppose your mental health. Turning your phone to grayscale could help prevent you from opening your go-to apps for timely distractions during moments you should be present.
The question is, Do you really need a digital detox? Here are key signs to look out for that say, ‘yeah, maybe you should consider shifting the habits impacting your wellbeing’.
You feel on edge or lose the ability to function when you don’t have your phone
Whether you begin to feel anxiety, confusion, or just plain lost without your phone nearby, our need to be able to check everything from our location to notifications is a big negative. Practice leaving your phone in another room, away from your desk, or get out in nature with a traditional paper map. Gradually weaning ourselves from always needing our phones an arms reach away will have great impacts on our wellbeing.
You overanalyze your actions on social media
If you feel anxious and begin over analyzing a comment you’ve left behind on someone’s post and continue to over think why they haven’t responded yet, a break is needed. Worrying about how we’re perceived by strangers online not only dampens our view on our own self-worth but more than likely, our worries are unfounded. Try turning off notifications and leaving your phone on silent to prevent obsessive behavior.
Your vision becomes blurry after looking at a screen
If your vision starts to become blurry after a few hours of browsing the web or scrolling on your phone, it’s not a good sign. Digital eye strain is becoming an increasing problem. If you experience symptoms like itchy, red, or dry eyes, blurry vision, back or neck pain, or headaches, it’s time to take stock of your digital screen use. The Vision Council suggests taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes while looking at an object 20 feet away to rectify blurry vision.
You always have your phone out during social activities and conversations with real people
Is your phone always face up on the table during dinner? Are you busy checking your phone when you’re with real people, instead of being present in the moment? Are you too busy looking down instead of spending time in the real world? Next time you’re walking on a busy street, observe how many people are busy with their phone in their hands. It’s an epidemic and incredibly unhealthy not only for our mental wellness but society as a whole. The digital connection doesn’t replace human connection, and this connection is essential to our basic humanistic needs.
Your thinking feels unclear and fuzzy
Internet and social media addiction can actually create neurological changes in our brains. Overdoing it on screen time affects our brain’s gray matter, causing atrophy and shrinkage to this vital part of our being. Gray matter has a direct impact on managing functions like planning and organizing. One thing you can do is read books instead of using a device to read from.
Social media makes you feel awful about yourself, your life, or relationships
Social media isn’t a reality. Our living, breathing lives are the real deal. If you find yourself playing the comparison game, feeling more anxious or depressed as you scroll, or feel jealousy at the highlight reel you see, it’s time to make some changes. Start by unfollowing accounts that make you feel ‘less than’ in any way. If you need to be on social media for work purposes, create a separate account you spend time on outside of work. But practice limiting how much time you spend on social when it isn’t necessary. You don’t need to be connected one hundred percent of the time.