Wellness Wednesday: how to start your social media detox

Social media is a prison and we all need a break. © Anne-Sophie Verkoyen

How long has it been since you last checked your phone? For some of us, it was only seconds ago while others might be multitasking and are doing it right now. Nevertheless, you clicked on this article for a reason. Being online 24/7 can be exhausting, so every once in a while it is time to unplug for a digital detox. Not sure how to live without all the social media distractions? Here are a few tips.

Studying in a new country can sometimes be challenging. As an international student, you don’t always know what to do, where to go and how to manage your feelings. But Wellness Wednesday is here to help. Do you need a boost of energy, some quick tips on how to get your life together or are you in need of some good advice? Every Wednesday there will be a series of lifestyle articles posted on 21bis. Mindfulness, relaxation, food and exercise: we have it all. With our ideal tips and tricks, you will come a long way. Make sure to visit this website and follow us on our Instagram page: ‘weare21bis’ to stay up-to-date. Get ready to brighten up your day! And now onto the article: 5 tips to start your social media detox.

According to The Telegraph, an English newspaper, people check their phone an average of 27 times per day. Disturbing, because this means that we are often more time online than we are asleep. In a world where we are expected to be constantly available, it is unlikely to take a break from social media. But do you remember those days when you didn’t have to worry about how many likes you received or which quote and filter were worthy enough for your new Instagram picture? And don’t forget the battle with internet trolls that are ready to comment on the next move you make. Some time away from your screen can recharge you in no-time, without the Fear of Missing out (FOMO).

1. Become conscious about your usage
The first step of your social media detox is perhaps an obvious one, but knowing why you want to slow down your screen time usage will motivate you in the process. You can download an app called ‘Moment’, which tracks how much time you spend online each day. The results might be an eye-opener that helps you live more in the moment instead of online.

2. Turn off your notifications
If you react to every type of sound like Pavlov’s dog, then it is time to turn off your daily notifications. Our brain is created to focus properly at one task at a time. By focussing on all the ongoing sounds and incoming messages, we are unable to let our brain rest and process new information. Try to work offline in a calm environment with little to no distractions for optimal results.

3. Create ‘screen-free zones’
Screen-free zones are times when you do not use your phone or laptop. Try to include a few of these times during the day while eating, driving, going to work, waking up and going to sleep. An easy way to not get distracted by notifications is by turning your phone on airplane mode. When you take a quick look at your e-mails right before bed you start associating your bed with productivity. This can harm your sleeping pattern. Screen-free moments are the ultimate key to getting new ideas and creative thoughts.

4. Decide which app to prioritize
Another great tip is to delete certain social media platforms where you waste too much time on. Focus your energy on the app you actually like rather than everywhere. You might want to consider deleting them or removing the applications from your phone. It is not necessary to go cold-turkey, but if you create a rule to only use certain apps on your computer instead of on your phone it can make a big difference and in the long run also free up some space on your phone. If you have tried taking breaks from social media and like it, consider getting rid of your account completely.

5. Find a new habit
Lastly, the most effective thing to do is to develop a new habit. With every bad habit that you want to reduce, a new habit can be formed. Rewarding yourself with reading a book you have always wanted can be a great way to keep your mind and body busy. Creating a new habit that is beneficial to you is the best way for breaking the social media cycle that is trying to keep you online.

If you like our Wellness Wednesday series, be sure to check out our previous article about social media: Does social media influence you?

Text and photos: © Anne-Sophie Verkoyen