For almost a year and a half of the pandemic, social media has been our only point of contact with the outside world. Digital platforms are where we came together in crisis, mourning, and loneliness. However, despite being a source of solace, it has also acted as a trigger, and an added stressor in our already stressful lives during these strange, and dark times. Therefore, it should come as no surprise, that many had voluntarily chosen to do a social media detox or cleanse during this time, to give their minds some rest from the cacophony of social media channels.
For those of you who do not know, a social media cleanse or detox works the same way on our minds, as a juice cleanse works on our body and sometimes, choosing to voluntarily unplug is the best decision you can take. There are several ways social media disrupts your life and twists your understanding of reality.
Social Media Can Disrupt Your Sleep
Researchers have found that using your social media in bed can have adverse effects on mood and sleep. A recent study examined and found that 70% of participants checked social media on their phones while in bed, while 15% spent more than an hour on social media while in bed. In addition, the results found that social media use in bed at night increases the likelihood of anxiety, insomnia, and shorter sleep duration.
Evidence also suggests that heavy social media use, particularly before bedtime, can intervene with sleep quality and quantity. For example, one study found that children who use digital devices at bedtime had significantly worse and less sleep.
Increased Social Media Use Can Cause Mental Health Problems
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania published the first experimental research relating the usage of social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram to reduced well-being. The results showed that limiting social media use reduced the symptoms of depression and loneliness.
Increased time spent using social media was linked to prolonged symptoms of ADHD and conduct disorder and worse self-regulation.
Constant Connectivity Affects Work-Life Balance
The feeling of constantly being connected can make it tough to create boundaries between your home and work life. Even when you are home or on holiday, it can be not easy to withstand the urge to check your email, reply to a text from a co-worker, or check in on your social media accounts.
In a study written in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, researchers discovered that technology use performed a role in defining an individual’s work-life balance. The study advised that the use of the internet and mobile technologies impacted overall job satisfaction, job stress, and feelings of exhaustion.
Taking a digital detox may help you build a healthier, less stressful work-life balance.
Social Comparison Makes It Challenging to be Satisfied
If you spend time using social media, you might have found yourself comparing your life to your mates, relatives, total strangers, and celebrities. One might find oneself imagining that everyone else seems to be having a wholesome, more prosperous, or more interesting life based on the small, curated impression you see on their Instagram or Facebook posts.
As the phrase goes, comparison can rob your joy. Detoxing from your social connections can be an excellent way to concentrate on what’s essential in your own life.
Digital Connectivity Can Create The Fear of Missing Out
FOMO is the fear that you miss the activities that everyone else is doing. Constant connectivity can foster this concern. Every time you see an image or post about someone else’s life, it can make you think that your life is more boring than theirs. As a result, you might find yourself overcommitting to social events out of the fear that you’ll be left behind.
FOMO can also keep you regularly checking your device out of worry that you will miss an essential text, DM, or post.
Doing a digital detox is a way to establish limits and overcome your fear of missing out. The solution is to do it in a way that does not make you feel cut off from the rest of the world.