Social Media Detox
Photography via Caroline Japal/Getty

Four Easy Ways to Kickstart a Social Media Detox in 2020

Whether it be a social media cleanse or an entire digital detox, there are many benefits to reap.

At the start of the twenty-tens, your wristwatch couldn’t talk to you, Instagram was just on the brink of launching and comparing yourself to your “followers” was hardly a concept. And now, social media rules our lives in this digitally-saturated world we find ourselves in. That being said, as we settle into a new decade, people are yearning for ways to unplug and rediscover the things this world has to offer beyond our screens. According to Pinterest’s report of top trends to try in 2020, which is based off of growth in search volumes, interest in a social media detox is up a huge 314 per cent.

Social worker and psychotherapist Melissa Fellin tells FASHION that when people are routinely looking at social media, their self esteem and self confidence take a hit. “Social media is just another media source that is influencing people’s self image,” she shares, adding that digital devices are isolating, “leading people to feel lonely even though they feel connected.” Constant exposure to social media is also one of the root causes of anxiety, stress and burnout.

The solution? Take a step back from your devices and connect with the tangible world around you. Here are some tips to get your own digital detox underway:

Replace the habit

Fellin says that the main point of a digital detox is to get you out of the habit of using your devices. To stay on track, find something positive to replace those digital moments with. For example, spending your commute immersed in a book will pass the time much faster than aimlessly toggling between apps.

Get creative

Reflecting on experiences with her child and adult clients alike, Fellin says people are more creative when they step away from social channels and digital devices. “They are better able to use their imagination, they’re more creative in their lives and they start to be pro social — going out, playing, doing things that they normally wouldn’t do because they were already doing [a version of] it online.” Yep, you heard it right… this is your time to take that adult dance class or head out to paint night.

Pursue human connection

If you rely on your devices to connect with others, Fellin suggests making a conscious effort to hold meetings IRL or see friends and family as this will take you outside of your bubble. If you don’t have any companionships in your area, joining classes and groups in the community is the easiest way to make some.

Embrace low-key down time

With so much going on in the world, it’s easy to feel lonely and bored in the confines of your home. However, it is worth considering that this fabricated connection to the outside world via your devices really isn’t giving you much, as Fellin alluded to earlier. Tune into your thoughts and appreciate your down time with journaling, kitchen experiments or a challenging puzzle. The end-result is drastically more satisfying.

And if embarking on a digital detox still seems daunting, get inspired by celebs like Lizzo, who, with boss-like energy, ditched Twitter at the start of this year.

This Pinterest trend didn’t come out of nowhere, however, as certain celebrities really made the case for Instagram absences in 2019. Selena Gomez, the fifth most followed Instagram user, shared her relationship with the app on LIVE with Kelly and Ryan last June, revealing that she doesn’t have it downloaded to her phone. “It’s just become really unhealthy, I think personally, for young people including myself, to spend all of their time fixating on all these comments and letting this stuff in,” the 27-year-old star shared, explaining that if she wants to share something she will use someone else’s phone. “It was affecting me, it would make me depressed, it would make me feel [bad] about myself. I’d look at my body differently.”

Another user who recognized the need for an Instagram break is actress Freida Pinto, who, upon her return to the platform last summer, outlined the benefits she encountered during her hiatus.

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(Part 2 of 2) So, In that time off some wonderful things happened: 1. I read more books. 2. I slept an undisturbed 7 to 8 hrs every night. 3. I had more time to workout meditate and plan my meals right. 4. I didn't get headaches and motion sickness from scrolling in moving cars. 5. I was more curious about the details of the current affairs and not just headlines. 6. I didn't fall into that deep dark hole that starts with a photo of your bestie on a holiday and a wasted hour later ends up on an account of cute golden retrievers doing cute things.(although those retrievers did brighten up my day often) 7. I stopped getting drawn into ads and buying more than I needed. 8. I was a lot more clueless on who wore what, ate what, kissed who..and my gosh I am happy to be clueless again! 9. My phone battery stayed alive longer. Woohoo! 10. I now know all the hues that I might have missed that come to make Cory's beautiful blue eyes! 😍 So here I am…Making an appearance on this platform but this time very aware of what I want to put out on it and more importantly what I certainly don't want to take from it. I do enjoy sharing my thoughts and views, especially when they are positive and can inspire on a public platform. But I still plan on sleeping 8 hrs undisturbed every night with lowered cortisol levels. Wouldn't trade that for blue light exposure before bedtime ever again! I am sharing my story with you because I know there is a large majority out there who relate and if any of you are planning on going/have gone on a real insta detox or have found that using this platform meaningfully and positively, maybe even sparingly has bettered your life. Then I highly recommed it and… Congratulations! Until next time Love and positive vibes FP … 📸: @go_dwells

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Considering everyone’s experience is different, you may not feel the need to get rid of social media altogether. Instead find success in cautiously curating what you consume. “Some people decide to only follow people they know, or they’ll decide to delete, block or unfollow people that they feel are giving them negativity and are making them feel bad about themselves,” Fellin adds. The message is clear: choose your own adventure, based on your own happiness. Likes be damned.