5 Simple Steps For A Social Media Detox

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  • I decided to embark on a social media detox for a week.

  • My social media detox included the following: deactivating my Facebook and Snapchat accounts, removing Twitter from my phone, moving Instagram to the second screen, unfollowing all celebrities and other random accounts, and only checking social media once per day.

  • I expected to go through withdrawal, but I actually loved the freedom so much that one week turned into two and two weeks turned into a month. Still, my supposedly “brief” social media detox affects my attitude towards and use of Instagram.

  • Try it! You (probably) won’t be sorry…


Did you read the title of this post and cringe? I’m with you. I’d read about people “detoxing” from social media and honestly judged “those” people as being out-of-touch and over-the-top. Surely, anyone needing to do a social media detox was waaaay more obsessed than I was. Poor them.

Then, three things happened:

  1. I read the book The Circle. Have you read it? It’s all at once captivating, thought-provoking, and terrifying. I don’t want to give anything away, but let me just say this: If you read it, you’ll probably be more conscious of the time you spend mindlessly scrolling through screens.
  2. I watched a few episodes of the Netflix hit Black Mirror. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what Black Mirror is about, here’s the official description: “This sci-fi anthology series explores a twisted, high-tech near-future where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide.” Like The Circle, Black Mirror episodes are bleak; certain episodes (like “Nosedive”) make you want to throw your phone—and everyone else’s—out the window.
  3. I caught myself scrolling through Instagram while watching my favorite TV show, The Handmaid’s Tale. The realization that I couldn’t make it 50 minutes without checking social media startled me. Forget my “poor them” judgment…poor me!

I pledged to detox for one week.

The 5 Social Media Detox Steps I Took:

1) I deactivated my Facebook and Snapchat accounts.

I don’t really like Facebook anyway, and catching up on Snapchat stories almost felt like a chore (especially since Instagram includes a “story” feature of its own).

I wasn’t ready to completely give up my personal Instagram account because I really do like seeing photos of friends’ trips, weddings, and kids. And, I use a separate public account (@thehealthinvestment—come follow me!) to spread the word about this blog.

The simple act of deleting my Facebook and Snapchat accounts was freeing in and of itself. I was off to a great start!

2) I removed the Twitter app from my phone.

I don’t use Twitter for personal use; I only use it for this blog (@healthinvestmnt), and I barely tweet at all. Still, since the app was on my phone, I’d find myself mindlessly logging in and scrolling through my feed. It was a complete waste of time.

Once I deleted Twitter from my phone, I added it to my Google Chrome “bookmarks” bar so that I could still check it once or twice a week.

3) I relocated the Instagram app to my second iPhone screen.

Since it wasn’t readily available on my home screen, it was much easier to avoid mindless scrolling.

4) I unfollowed over 100 celebrity and other random accounts.

I asked myself this honest question: “Do posts of previous Bachelorettes in bathing suits, random puppies sleeping, and funny gifs add value to my life?” My honest answer was “no,” so I unfollowed all of these accounts with the intent of maaaaybe following them again once my social media detox ended. I didn’t want to commit to anything permanent.

5) Finally, I vowed only to check Instagram once per day.

This was the toughest part. As mentioned, I was programmed to mindlessly scroll through my feed multiple times a day. For my social media detox, I vowed to mindfully check my feed only once daily.

At first, I found myself reaching for my phone and then putting it back down at various points throughout the day. This act awakened me to my reliance on social media and actually freaked me out, especially post-The Circle and Black Mirror! Eventually, I started to forget where I had put my phone and go hours without it. Once, I accidentally left it at home when I went out to dinner. I took this as a sign that my detox was working!

The results:

Once I was acclimated (it took a full week) to rare, intentional social media use, I loved the freedom so much that one week turned into two and two weeks turned into a month. Now, my supposedly “brief” social media detox has shaped my new and improved attitude towards the apps!

Now, I check Instagram more than once a day, but I’m much more mindful about how long I spend scrolling. Since I’m no longer social media-dependent, I feel happier and freer than ever.

It’s nice to sit in silence and people watch on the subway…even though my people watching pretty much involves looking at others as they scroll through their phones. The irony! It’s also nice to be fully present during TV shows, at dinners, and in conversations with friends without feeling the nagging urge to check my phone.

Bottom line: If you’ve never tried a social media detox yourself, it may seem intimidating at first. However, you may end up loving the freedom you feel and mindfulness you gain. I highly recommend it!


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