How to Disconnect

Most of us have social media, and even if we don’t, we still have a social media app on our phones in case we want to log in one day and see what we are missing. Back in 2019, I realized some of the social apps I was using were making me sick mentally, emotionally, and even physically. I knew some of my depression was being triggered by posts and passive-aggressive comments, and information overload. I did not know what to do. One day, I saw a friend of mine post that they were doing a challenge called “No Social Media November”. This sparked a thought in my mind on strategies to disconnect from social media. Now, this same friend did the same challenge the prior November, and when they came back, they seemed renewed with amazing travel pictures, new insights, and a sense of freedom I longed for. It did not take a lot of convincing for me to do the “No Social Media November” challenge, but the funny part of this story is once I had one month off, I desired to continue a path with limited social media usage. So, with this particular app, even though I jumped back on once or twice to wish someone a Happy Birthday, I have not had a desire to reinstall it since November of 2019. I do, however, use other apps, so I am not anti-app, trust me, but I only choose apps that allow me to be in control of my emotions and thoughts.

Negative impacts on health

While it can offer numerous benefits of being able to connect so easily with anyone, excessive social media usage can lead to negative impacts on mental health, productivity, and overall well-being. If you find yourself spending too much time on social media platforms and wish to regain control over your digital habits, this post will provide you with five effective strategies backed by statistics to help you get off of social media.

Set Clear Goals and Time Limits

According to the American Psychiatric Association, 49% of social media users report that social media impacts their relationships with friends and family. To practice strategies to disconnect from social media, start by setting clear goals for your social media usage. Determine the purpose and time limit for each session, ensuring it aligns with your priorities and values. By setting boundaries, you can regain control over your time and reduce the risk of mindless scrolling. For example, I give myself 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon to catch up, post, comment, share, etc.

Engage in Offline Activities

Limiting social media usage and engaging in offline activities can significantly reduce symptoms of depression and loneliness. This is one of many useful strategies to disconnect from social media. Allocate time for hobbies, exercise, reading, or spending quality time with loved ones. By focusing on real-world experiences, you can enhance your overall well-being and reduce reliance on virtual interactions. Also, use apps that allow you to take your online squad or circle offline and into a real-life environment so you can get the best of both worlds.

Utilize Digital Detox Techniques

Taking a break from social media for just one week can lead to significant improvements in well-being, including reduced anxiety and depression. Consider implementing a digital detox by temporarily deactivating your accounts or using apps that limit access to social media platforms. This intentional break can help you reset your relationship with social media and gain a fresh perspective. What I loved about taking a break was that my friends and associates had to call or text me in order to know what was happening in my life rather than spying on my social media accounts. So for once, I saw who was interested in being a part of my life.

Practice Mindfulness and Self-Reflection

Practicing mindfulness is another one of the strategies to disconnect from social media that can reduce the negative effects of social media usage on psychological well-being. Take time to reflect on your emotions and thoughts when using social media. Notice how certain content makes you feel and evaluate its impact on your mental state. By being mindful, you can make conscious choices about what you consume and how it affects you.

Seek Support and Accountability

Social media platforms can have detrimental effects on mental health, including increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. To counteract this, seek support from friends, family, or online communities who share similar goals. Create accountability systems where you can check in with each other and provide encouragement to stay off social media. Reading a lot of self-help suggestion articles and books really help. Remember, social media addiction is real, and you need to wean yourself off. Put that same energy into yourself and the activities that bring you joy.

While social media has its advantages, a healthy balance and avoiding excessive usage are musts to combat social media depression and addiction. Please share your social media experiences with us in the comments below.

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