5 Ways to Live Through a Social Media Detox

By Kin Mabuan

For many of us, having an omnipresent digital version of ourselves has been easy, thanks to the pervasiveness of smartphones and wireless Internet. These days, there is barely any email that goes unread, no photo not Liked, and no demand for attention in the pretext of a status message is not affirmed. Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate, and our desire to stay in touch all the time inevitably fell into our already fast-growing pile of “needs”.

On the one hand, staying connected has its merits especially at a time where being busy is glorified. It helps us remember important dates, allows us to share information in real time, and gives us a preview of the events we might have missed. But just like everything else, it has its flipside. If in the distant past people only communicated through letters, the landline, and vague body language, social media now allows to everyone where we had pizza for lunch, which of our Nikes we’re currently wearing, and where we went for drinks after work. Before the Internet has swallowed us whole, our concept of what’s important was mostly defined by the significant events in our lives, but today everything we post online puts us at the risk of over-sharing.

Let’s face it: while social media has a wealth of perks that make our lives unbelievably comfortable, it can also get quite addictive. And just like any other addiction, we can either police ourselves or watch it get out of hand, or worse harm us in ways we never imagined. Thankfully, a lot of people are becoming more sensitive of their social media activities and are taking it upon themselves to go on a social media diet, detox even. If you have any inkling that you’re into deep a relationship with your phone and social networks, here are five ways you can go on a social media detox and get back in touch with your real life.

  1. Set a timetable. The only deadline you should set is one that you’re willing to commit to. You can either start with a no social media on weekends or go big by ditching it once the clock strikes 9PM. If you want to spice things up a little, involve your siblings or friends and set a wager that if you don’t keep your word, they get to take your phone and keep it for a week.
  2. Purge your devices of social media apps. Say, you’re set to give social media a rest for two weeks. Remove all social media apps from your phone and have your best friend change your passwords. This way, you will not be able to login even through a computer or when you betray yourself and downloaded the apps again. You can also go the extra mile by blocking social networking sites on your computer while you’re on detox period.
  3. Pick up a real hobby. I’m sure that you can defend in any court how amazing it feels reading a book using your Kindle or watching movies on your shiny tablet. However, the more you spend time with your devices, the more likely you’ll be tempted to check your feeds. So after you commence your social media detox, start or perhaps pick up a gain an activity that will distract you from reaching for your phone. It can be a book, a sketch pad, a baking tin, or a paintbrush. Whatever it is, keep your hands and your mind busy.
  4. Unfollow and Unfriend people. If it’s impossible for you to not login, do yourself a favor by unsubscribing to other people’s issues you barely care about. Instead of whining about that Facebook friend who doesn’t let a day go by without posting at least ten selfies, or that friend on Twitter who only tweets passive aggressive one-liners, it’s about time you spare yourself from the unnecessary stress and unfollow them.
  5. Go back to basics. Apart from social media, our phones also made organizing a breeze for us. A lot of people rely on Facebook updates to remember birthdays and then drop an obligatory greeting on their Walls. While you’re on your social media detox, dig your planner from the bottom drawer (you know, the one you burned a lot of money drinking coffee for) and mark the dates that you have to remember. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or a concert, put it on paper.

Disconnecting for a while may not be easy but if you make it through your social media detox, the benefits will feel liberating. Don’t worry, you’ll live.

Kin is a full-time writer and does extra rice extermination on a part-time basis. She collects books, socks, and Happy Meal toys using the loose change that ends up at the bottom of her backpack. She is also on Twitter (@knitsofkin) for some reason.

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Kristian Salvo
Kristian Salvo