It truly is amazing how the world has changed in just a few years. Today, you can often see person after person totally engrossed in the social media apps on their phones, completely missing out on the world that is right in front of them. The idea behind social media is that it helps bring everybody closer together, that it helps us become more social than we had been before it existed and was such a big part of our lives. However, the reverse seems to have occurred as we appear to have fewer true relationships than we used to. A recent University of Pittsburgh study found that the more people ages 19-32 used social media the more socially isolated they felt.
Are you feeling similar emotions yourself? If so, you might want to consider extracting social media from your life, taking a social media detox. Those who have done just that have reported quite a few benefits.
Jason Zook took part in a 30-day detox from social media in October 2014. This is really telling in this case as Zook had helped create much of his professional success by using these outlets, but he realized that they were starting to take over his life, which was becoming more negatively impacted by them than positively. He then logged off of his social media accounts, turned off their notifications and deleted associated apps. Zook also used SelfControlApp.com to remove the ability for him to access these websites.
One of the things that he started realizing while doing this was that he felt a relief from worrying about and hoping that his tweets would get likes or retweets and that other social media acts were interacted with in a notable way. But, perhaps most importantly, he felt himself gradually able to focus on other aspects of his life in a much more significant way than had been the case before when he kept on feeling an urge to check his social media accounts for any updates that may be available there. Zook also noted that he felt much more in the moment doing things like traveling to the Great Smoky Mountains than had been the case before. This included not thinking of how pictures of the trip might perform on social media and, as a result, not even taking any. He simply enjoyed the moment.
One other good point that he made was that social media provides a way for your personal space to be consistently invaded both by people who act as a type of telemarketer and those who are just plain negative and do more harm to his mental state and quality of life than good. For these reasons, Zook did say that upon returning he would be more careful of who was part of his social media world so that he could minimize how often he came across unsolicited and, more importantly, unwanted interactions.
Social media can also cause us to compare ourselves with others at unhealthy levels. Of course, doing so in our offline life is commonly done too, but this mindset can quickly be a source of unnecessary stress when too much focus is devoted to it. Unfortunately, social media use can often cause this aspect of our lives to become way too significant way too easily. When on these sites, it’s easy to compare follower counts, how many likes we receive and similar easily-measured aspects of these experiences.
Allison Tierney, another who took a social media hiatus, repeated many of these points and made some other good ones about her time away from social media. One was that it was nice to now be “able to process current events without seeing people endlessly and sometimes pointlessly opine about them.”
Of course, if you are considering taking a social media hiatus yourself, one significant obstacle that you may have to consider is if social media is a requirement for your job. Perhaps you even handle an organization’s social media account(s). That’s okay. Instead, you can either take extended time off from all of your personal accounts or simply be off social media entirely whenever you are not working, say for every weekend for a period of time.
And absolutely feel free to consider this as a temporary measure to see how you react to it, what repercussions are positive and which are negative. Even if the change is not permanent, you will likely treat social media in different, healthier ways when you do return to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts.
One thing that can help you through this process as well as help you analyze the role of social media in your life is taking advantage of the services provided by Talkspace, an online therapy company that has been in business since 2012 and is headquartered in New York. Talkspace provides a variety of plans that allow you to send messages to a therapist whenever the mood strikes, and you will receive replies on a regular basis. This experience can even serve as a quasi-social media outlet that is much healthier for you than what websites and apps like Facebook and Twitter can be like. With these interactions, the person you are communicating with is doing everything possible to improve your emotional health, which cannot be said for many of those you interact with on social media networks.
Talkspace has also been an incredible resource for non-social media reasons. You don’t have to adhere to appointments, meaning that you can communicate whenever the mood strikes. This can be pivotal if you live a busy life with few moments available throughout the day. This convenience is also great if you travel a lot, especially so if you are a digital nomad who tends to be constantly on the move. Talkspace will come along with you wherever you go. Another point to consider is that many feel more comfortable and are more open communicating in written form than they do when speaking. For that reason, a number of people experience greater breakthroughs using this service than had been the case when seeing a counselor face-to-face.