Feeling overwhelmed? Do a social media detox!

Anne-Kathrin Walter
Feeling overwhelmed? Do a social media detox!

Are you feeling overwhelmed lately? In this blog, we share why and how a social media detox might help you to recharge your energy!

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Is your soul tired and do you feel like your head is about to burst? Do you have this continuous feeling of stress within you? Are your experiencing struggles with functioning properly? It might be signs that you are dealing with overwhelm. Recently, I have experienced all of these symptoms and I truly did not know what to do about it. Although I felt that I took it slow and did not overschedule, I constantly was feeling overwhelmed. Why was that? 

Consequently, I decided to create an overview of my day to analyze where the overwhelm might come from. Then it became clear to me; social media! All day long, social media is a part of my structure and it truly has become an habit to check in on what is happening on the different social media platforms. Therefore, I challenged myself to do a small social media detox. In this blog, I share why and how a social media detox might help you to feel less overwhelmed and tips on how to avoid information overload from social media in the future.

Social media and how it affects your health

While it might seem as if most of social media users are addicted to using the various platforms, only few people truly are social media addicts. However, most of us have implemented social media usage as a daily habit into our lives. We use it while waiting for the bus, watching tv or sometimes even while hanging out with friends. Moreover, some even implement this habit whilst driving or working. That is when social media becomes a harming habit. 

For some of us, social media might even be associated with multiple other health issues, such as anxiety, depression and lonelines. Furthermore, studies found that extensive social media use negatively affects self-esteem. As a result of low self-esteem, more mental health issues might occur. 

These facts explain why you might feel more anxious and overwhelmed than usual. Therefore, it might be the right time for you to try out a social media detox.

 

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How to do a social media detox

Once I became aware of the fact that social media might be the reason for me feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and anxious, I planned my social media detox. This was quite a challenge, since social media plays an important role in my private and professional life. However, I was determined to go fully offline. Below, I am sharing tips with you on how to plan your social media detox.

1. Select the right time

Of course, you could just plan your social media detox right away. However, most of us have busy schedules and people kind of expect you to be online and available. Therefore, my first tip is to look in your schedule and to timeblock the first available free day to schedule your social media detox.

As social media plays an important part within my work, I decided to schedule my social media detox during the weekend. From Friday 5pm until Sunday morning 9am, I planned my social media detox. 40 hours without social media seemed like a good amount to start with for me. Of course, you can choose to plan an entire week for your social media detox. However, in this digital age, this is not manageable for many of us in combination with obligations such as work, social gatherings and more. Therefore, I recommend you to start small, in order to simply feel the effect of less social media usage in your daily life. Also within this short amount of time you will acknowledge, if social media is the cause to you feeling overwhelmed.

2. Plan nice offline activities

For many of us, scrolling through and interacting on social media is a common leisure activity. Therefore, one of the first things that you will acknowledge when you do your social media detox, is that you suddenly have a lot of time on your hands. Perhaps, you will even feel bored and not know what to do. Hence, I recommend you to plan nice offline activities to look forward to while doing your social media detox. For example, you might want to try one of these 111 self-care activities.

When I scheduled my social media detox, I planned nice activities out in nature and with my boyfriend, his family and my friends. By staying busy, the detox will be more easy, than if you are at home doing nothing. However, ensure that you are not overscheduling your weekend, because otherwise you will just end up feeling overwhelmed again.

 

3. Tell people around you about your detox

Another important thing that I did before entering my social media-free weekend, was to inform everyone close to me about the detox. You don't want your mum or friends to worry about your wellbeing, right? Therefore, explain to them that you are going offline for a weekend and that they only should give you a call in case of an emergency or if they want to hang out in real life.

4. Prepare your phone and other devices for the detox

One thing that I did prior to my social media detox, was to prepare my phone and other digital devices. In your settings, you can turn off the notifications from the apps that you use. In this way, you won't get triggered to go and have a peek at what everyone else is doing online. I recommend you to turn off the notifications for all apps that tend to cause overwhelm or anxious feelings within you every now and then. In fact, I only allowed notifications from personal development apps and my podcast app on my phone. In this way, if I engaged with my phone, it would be in a productive and health-improving way.

Moreover, hide away the 'toxic' apps somewhere in your phone where you have to make an effort to open them. On an iPhone, for example, you can make folders with different apps. I created a Detox-folder that I called 'Don't do it!' and I hid it away on a different screen. That was one of the best moves for me in order to continuously be aware of my detox.

5. Go offline and acknowledge how you feel

Now that you have prepared your social media detox, it is time to go offline. I recommend you to keep track of your mood throughout this detox. Perhaps, you will notice that you are not feeling overwhelmed anymore or at least feel less overwhelmed. By acknowledging how you feel, you will eventually realize what social media does to your mental wellbeing.

My conclusion after doing a social media detox: Did I reduce feeling overwhelmed?

After doing a social media detox, I acquired some interesting insights. First of all, I realized that I often check my phone out of habit and not because I actually am curious about what is going on online. It has almost become an automated action. For example, when I stepped into the car and had to wait for my boyfriend for a few minutes, I immediately grabbed my phone and wanted to go to the corner of the screen, where my social media apps usually are located. At that moment, I was very happy that I had hidden away my social media apps in a 'Detox-folder' somewhere else on my phone.

Secondly, I was surprised by the amount of information overload that comes from social media. During my social media detox, I felt a sense of inner peace that I haven't experienced for a long time. I was no longer feeling overwhelmed or anxious and managed to live more in the moment. First during my social media detox, I realized the amount of daily notifications entering my phone, that trigger me to seek more information. Not having all notifications turned on, was a true relief to my brain.

Thirdly, I learned that reducing social media usage can give more room for activities that I actually enjoy doing, but tend to get distracted by due to using social media. Reading books, meditating, walking in nature and being around my beloved ones, were activities that I suddenly did more mindfully. 

Finally, I walked through my day more aware. Aware of the beauty around me, the energies that people carry around with them and the small things that you usually neglect. 

To conclude, this social media detox was a true eyeopener for me. While I entered the weekend feeling overwhelmed, I left it feeling recharged and calm, ready to take on new challenges.

Tips on how to avoid feeling overwhelmed by social media in the future

After doing your detox, you will most likely be curious about what has been happening online while you were offline. I know I was, so I checked. However, I also wanted to take the lessons from my detox with me, to use social media more consciously in the future. Therefore, I applied certain habits to my social media usage, which are:

  1. Keep notifications from social media turned off; I only want to feel the need to open social media apps when it comes from within me and not from my phone 'teasing' me all the time;
  2. Do a clean-up; After my detox-weekend, I became more aware of whose messages or posts trigger me in a negative or counterproductive way. Hence, I did a social media clean-up, where I unfollowed accounts that cause clutter in my mind or even anxiety;
  3. Follow inspirational sources; I believe that social media can be useful, if you use it the right way. Therefore, I actively searched for inspiring and motivating people to follow. In this way, social media will become an asset in my life instead of a distraction;
  4. Schedule more social media detoxes; In order to avoid feeling overwhelmed in the future, I scheduled more social media detoxes in my phone. Some that only last for an entire evening, and some that last 40 hours.

Good luck with your detox!

Now that you have received some useful tips on how to do a social media detox, I hope that you get as much out of it as I did! Please let us know how you experienced your social media detox in the comments below!

Anne-Kathrin Walter
Written By

Anne-Kathrin Walter

Co-Founder of HiSensitives
Anne-Kathrin Walter is a writer, social media expert and the co-founder of HiSensitives. HiSensitives is a personal growth brand for highly sensitive people and empaths. Many highly sensitive people and empaths still see their trait as a weakness, and HiSensitives wants to change that. Therefore, Anne-Kathrin and her partner Riny have made it their mission to make the world a better place for highly sensitive people and empaths. With HiSensitives, they want to inspire HSP's and empaths worldwide to invest more time in themselves and their personal growth.