Why Disconnecting from Social Media is Good for Mental Health

disconnect from social media, mental health improvement moz organics

Why Disconnect from Social Media?

Improves Sleep

Do you ever wonder why you can’t seem to get some decent shuteye after you’ve been scrolling your social apps for hours before hitting the hay? If you didn’t know, the blue light filtering on devices like cellphones and laptops suppress the body’s release of melatonin, a hormone that’s crucial to the body’s sleep-wake cycle. No wonder many of us lie awake in the wee hours gazing up at our walls instead of peacefully counting sheep. To avoid this, try putting your phone away for the evening at least 30 minutes before bed.

Enables You to Live Presently

You know folks, back in the day, eating a meal and enjoying conversations with friends didn’t require your phone glued to your fingers. We know we live in a digital world but when we become so consumed by likes, celebrity gossip, and selfies, we forget to live in the moment. We’re too busy recording songs at a concert to truly admire the artist(s) we’re listening to and fun, positive energy we’re experiencing. We’re too preoccupied with taking photos of cotton candy skies instead of sitting back and soaking in their beauty in peace. Here’s your reminder that moments aren’t great because they’ve been caught on camera. They’re great because you’ve been lucky enough to experience them.

Allows Time for Self-Reflection

Social media allows you to see a glimpse into the lives of others (which is great) but we can easily become consumed by what others are doing. Instead of investing in ourselves, many of us are invested in what other events people are attending, the clothes they’re wearing, the proud accomplishments in their lives, and so forth. But what about you? Are you taking time for yourself? Are you reflecting on your own journey, celebrating your own wins, enjoying your own moments with friends and family? It’s important to take time to reflect on where you are in life, what you can do better, and if you’re truly happy. These are the things that matter. Remember to take care of yourself.

Increases Focus

Think about it. If you’re always checking your phone to see if your crush has watched your Instagram story or how many YouTube views a recent prank video of yours has received, how can you focus on your tasks at hand? Midterm papers. Project proposals. Household chores. We know that these deadlines and responsibilities require our undivided attention (for the most part), yet we allow them to be disturbed with frequent social media check-ins. By stowing your device away, it’ll be easier for you to center yourself and remain concentrated, allowing you to work more productively and efficiently!  

How to Disconnect from Social Media

For frequent social media users, disconnecting sounds like a daunting (and almost impossible) task but it’s quite simple to do! Below are five tips for unplugging from the digital world to allow yourself to dive back into reality.

  1. Remove or rearrange apps on your phone. If you find that you’re continuously tempted to check in on your social channels to see what you’ve missing, try removing them. It’s easy to access them when they’re accessible on your phone but more challenging (and more work) via a desktop for example. If you don’t want to completely rid yourself of these apps, you can either delete them during the week and re-add them on the weekend when you have more downtime or move them to a folder that isn’t on your home screen.
  2. Put your phone on airplane mode. This mode isn’t just for travel. You can switch on airplane mode like when you feel like social media is becoming more of a distraction and perhaps triggering to your mental wellbeing than a source of entertainment and connection. The next time you have a big assignment due or a meeting to prep for, enable this feature and thank us later.
  3. Mute notifications. Some people enjoy these because they dislike having to manually check when they’ve been messaged, tagged in a post, and so forth. But for some, notifications can create feelings of anxiety, especially when they roll in one after another. By muting these, not only can you minimize temptation but also the panic that sets in when it’s only noon and you already have 30 unchecked notifications.
  4. Allot specific periods of time to be connected. No one says you must be available for all forms of social interaction every day of the week. If you find that being connected without a break brings more harm than good, allot specific periods of time throughout the day or certain days in the week to dive into the digital realm. And refrain from social media usage on specific days. Some may only devote an hour to social media every night while others might avoid it completely during the week and catch up on what they’ve missed on the weekend. Whatever works best for a healthy state of mind and your schedule, do just that!
  5. Have an accountability partner. It’s easy to accomplish just about anything when you have another person keeping you in check. And sometimes, knowing that a person is there to hold you accountable makes it easier, especially when you don’t want to be scolded for slipping up. Make this person someone who knows you well and perhaps sees you often. You can also make this fun and challenging and get creative with it! Loser buys takeout for scrolling through Instagram earlier than they should have? Sounds good to us!

The Bottom Line

Social media will always be a double-edged sword. For example, while it can help reduce feelings of loneliness by connecting users worldwide and disarm social stigmas surrounding mental health, it can also exacerbate feelings of disconnect, facilitate laziness, contribute to cyberbullying, and unfortunately, a lot more. But the reality is that social media isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s gaining even more popularity. The best thing we can do is take everything we see and hear on these channels with a grain of salt. Remember to unplug from these digital realms and enjoy the real world. Social media isn’t reality, friends. In many cases, it’s a highlight reel. And if you feel the same or disagree (totally cool if you do), follow us on socials and share your thoughts on this topic with us. We’d love to know what our MOZ community thinks!