There’s no denying the benefits of social media. Anecdotally, as a creative and businesswoman, it has been invaluable in helping me build brand awareness. Social media also helps me in connecting with my ideal audience and, ultimately, make money.
In my personal life, it has helped me keep in touch with friends and family. The memes, Gifs, and videos to be found on these platforms are a welcome diversion when life gets too real.
Plus, I love to be inspired by the peers and mentors that I resonate with most online- findings that are clearly not unique to me as statistics show that daily social media usage has been on the increase for years. But there is another side of social media in that, as much as it can be extremely positive, it also has its pitfalls. For example:
a) Social media can cause comparisonitis
Especially in the online business arena, influencers will market their techniques/products as the thing that will help you towards your goals. In such instances, not only can the “comparisonitis” this creates be detrimental to our well-being. It can actually cause us to have our creativity influenced by others and take us off course. This is something that I particularly try to avoid whenever I’m in the throes of designing or managing a particular project. Because I want to harness my own creative power as much as possible rather than jump from one idea to another.
b) Social media can lead to jealousy
We also live in a society that values productivity above all else. We see this reflected in many adages such as “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” “rise and grind,” and the shaming of people who are deemed unproductive. Why? Because, in our society, lack of productivity is synonymous with being unsuccessful. If you’ve ever come away from a social media platform with the sinking feeling that you’re not doing enough, should be further along in life, or a cold case of “hateration,”- then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
c) Social media can be toxic
The truth is that, as much as social media can be a welcome diversion (as mentioned earlier), it can also be a time suck, distracting us from our goals when taken to the extreme due to social media FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). It can also be very toxic. Whether it’s trolls, upsetting videos, news, and/or opinions being shared, social media can be a minefield crammed with explosive triggers if we’re not careful. “So, how can we be careful?” I hear you ask through a social media detox.
Also Read: Is Social Media Hijacking Your Happiness
How to take a social media detox?
The dictionary definition of detox or detoxify is “to rid of poison or the effect of poison.” Likewise, if you are experiencing any of the toxic pitfalls of social media mentioned above (or others such as anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem), you can detox by:
1. Getting rid of the “poison”
To do this, first, identify the root of what is impacting your mental and/or emotional well-being. Is it solely coming from the content shared by a particular friend, family member, or influencer? If the answer is “yes”:
- Unfollow/friend them (especially if they are not close enough to have a bearing on your well-being offline)
- Mute them or hide their posts (especially if this could lead to confrontation and therefore an even greater negative impact on your well-being)
Sometimes, however, we can’t place the source of the adverse effects to our well-being on just one person. For example, some topics, though triggering to us, are so “hot” that everybody within your network may seem to be talking about them at the same time. In such instances, I suggest taking a social media sabbatical. If you have enough will-power, you can do this by simply not going on social media for a set period of time or until you feel well enough to return. If not, delete the app(s) from your phone to avoid temptation and the risk of being triggered again.
2. Getting rid of the effect of the “poison”
I like to use my social media detoxes to reclaim my time and get back to my core by surrendering and releasing any ill feelings being harbored. For me, surrendering could literally just be getting still, meditating, praying, or journaling. For you, it could be going for a walk or being in nature.
Whatever you choose, it should be something that sparks joy and grounds you. So that you can counteract the toxic effects of social media and move forward in peace.