Is It Time For a Social Media Detox?

photo credit: Silke Labson 

photo credit: Silke Labson 

Written by: Karin Eldor

Kanye, Kim, RiRi, and the Biebs have all done it. And now Gigi is the latest celebrity to add to the list. Hot off the heels of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and being crowned “Model of the Year,” Gigi Hadid announced she was unplugging from social media for a month, as an empowering move to live her life out of the spotlight and cope with anxiety.

Although we’d love to see NYE pics of Gigi and fam, we’re giving that a “like.” Or more like a “love” plus a string of heart emojis.

It’s enough to make us wonder: is taking a social media hiatus necessary for our well-being too (and not just for those of us with millions of followers)? And what better time to start thinking about this than with a new year in sight?

IS SHARING REALLY CARING?

TBH, there’s a lot to love about social media. There’s the sense of community and sharing that social media offers. It’s an integral part of building and cultivating a business and a brand.  It’s a strong networking tool to connect with others and share recent wins, and it’s a great way to stay on the pulse of trending topics and buzzwords. Besides, where else are you going to see updates of the Evil Kermit meme?

But despite all its strengths, it seems like social media is doing more harm than good. Teen Vogue and several other publications have been reporting about the correlation between social media and mental health -- and the stats aren’t pretty.

In its article about social media and depression, Teen Vogue featured this troubling stat: “In a survey of 1,787 adults between 19 and 32, researchers found that people who used social media the most were ‘significantly’ more likely to be depressed. People who used it the least, on the other hand, were the least likely to be depressed.”

If this isn’t scary AF enough for you, then shoutout to FOMO and negative vibes for making social media seem even less appealing.

Maybe in order to grow professionally and lean in, you need to log off. Here are five reasons to unplug RN:

IT CONSUMES YOU

You know the drill: checking your social media feeds is the first and last thing you do, every day. (Holler if you’re guilty of scrolling Snapchat while in the bathroom. We’re keeping it between us; pinky swear.)

"Maybe in order to grow professionally and lean in, you need to log off."

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And the worst part is, even when you’re not on social media, a post you saw earlier seeps into your mind, hours later. This is no way to be your most productive self!

We love this quote from life coach Marie Forleo, whose brand of badassery gives us life: “Don’t confuse getting inspired with getting things done. Create before you consume.”

You might claim to be creeping social media for inspiration, but at a certain point, you need to just get off and get shit done.

Pro tip: Start your morning by creating, no matter what this looks like for you. Whether it means gratitude journaling or drafting a pitch, let the sparks fly. Slow your scroll and opt for a more mindful approach to your morning and nighttime routine.

IT CAUSES COMPARISON 

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to constantly compare yourself to others, which can make it hard to focus. Social media becomes an open forum, begging for people to post their accomplishments, aha moments and big wins. Don’t get sucked in.

Freeing yourself of social media will force you to focus your energy on youand you alone. It will shift the power from posting to thriving; from growing your social media fan base to growing your talents and expertise. It will create that space you might be craving, so that when you do return to social media, you’ll be looking at it with a refreshed lens.

IT CREATES ANXIETY

After a not-so-sweet ‘16, our Facebook feeds seem to be populated with more hate than love, more #DividedWeStand rather than #StrongerTogether.

Here’s the irony: while social media was intended to bring people together, it can also sever relationships. All it takes is a shady post from someone in your network to give you second thoughts about that person IRL. So even a virtual action can impact a relationship, for better or for worse. And this in itself is exhausting.

If the doom and gloom on Facebook and Twitter become too draining to bear, a social media hiatus might be the solution. While it’s important to stay informed, you can still get your daily news from other sources. The news will find you. Trust. If you’re concerned, sign up to a site like theSkimm or check in to your fave news sites throughout the day (morning, lunch and evening). And bonus: we’ve got you covered with our “Links We Love” every Friday.

IT FEEDS FOMO

If the hate-filled rhetoric and constant clap backs aren’t enough, how about the FOMO-inducing pics of a squad weekend in Palm Springs (giant pool inflatables included)?

It’s natural to fear missing out and in a sadistic way, you might scroll your feeds knowing it creates pangs of sadness and jealousy. Taking a break will free yourself of this guilty pleasure and will eventually help you feel JOMO: the joy of missing out.

IT'S A DISTRACTION

Put simply: social media is a distraction. Can you imagine all the time you would win back from your life if you stopped looking at others’ posts and stopped hitting refresh to see how many new notifications you received?

I don’t know about you guys, but when I’m in the mood to procrastinate, I turn to social media. And as it turns out, it’s my greatest enemy.

"When I’m in the mood to procrastinate, I turn to social media-- it’s my greatest enemy."

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So maybe it’s time to add a social media detox to your list of other resolutions. It will force you to get to work rather than snapping about it. Be militant and remove the apps from your phone if that helps. And if a month is too drastic, try a week without social media and see how that feels.  

Your future self will thank you.

Karin Eldor is a coffee-addicted copywriter, with a long-time love for all things pop culture, fashion, and tech. Ever since she got her first issues of YM (remember that one?) and Seventeen in the mail, she was hooked on the world of editorial content. After earning her Communications degree, she spent 6 years honing her craft as a Senior Editor for AskMen.com. More recently, Karin enjoyed gramming and strategizing as Social Media Manager at ALDO. Today, she is Chief Content Writer at 818 Agency and a social media consultant. 

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