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Why a Digital Detox Is Essential and How to Unplug

Social media is the first thing we check in the morning, and often, the last thing we scroll through before we go to sleep. That doesn’t have to be bad, but the problem is that we’re constantly bombarded with a lot of data through friends’ posts, news updates, celebrity updates and other often useless information. Recently, many people have decided to turn off their social media apps and treat themselves with a digital detox in order to get their lives back on track. 

If you’re toying with this idea, here are some ideas on how to unplug and yet stay in touch with what’s new:

1. Don’t expect the impossible

A lot of people go on a social media diet expecting to turn their lives around and achieve everything they’ve been postponing in favour of Instagram and Facebook. The truth is — it’s not how it works. If you have issues with time management, there’s no social media detox that will stop you from procrastinating. You’ll just find another form of distraction, so before you decide to deactivate social media accounts, make sure you have a plan on how to complete the tasks you’ve been putting off. 

Make the best of all the free time you have, but don’t expect to suddenly become super productive just because you don’t use Facebook.

2. Get ready for some consequences 

Majority of consequences will be nosy questions and puzzled stares you’ll get from people when you tell them that you don’t have Instagram or Facebook. Aside from strangers, you might encounter questions or even accusations from your family members. They’ll want to know the reason you decided to go on a digital detox, or they might even demand you to come back but if you’re sure about your decision, you shouldn’t be worried about others. Instead of getting into petty arguments, calmly explain that your social media detox is something private and that they’ll be notified once you decide to come back.

3. Get organised

A social media fast doesn’t mean you’ll be missing all the news updates but there will be moments when you’ll be out of the loop (“OMG, did you see the photo Cindy posted? What an ugly dress!”), and that’s something you’ll have to accept. So, before you decide to go off the grid, find a news source that will keep you informed, and collect everyone’s phone numbers and emails so you’ll be able to contact them in case you need to. It might look like a tremendous work, but you don’t have to do it at once, instead, give yourself time and ask everyone to give you their contact info. Also, if you plan to unplug for a longer period, it would be nice to inform your online friends and followers that you’ll be gone and if you want, provide them with contact information. Even though disappearing sounds tempting, notifying others is more polite.

4. Find other things to do

A lot of people have been replacing aimless social media use with other, more purposeful activities like reading and spending time outdoors. Even if they’re outside, the majority decide to be on their phones instead of actually engaging with the outside world. That’s why it’s essential to have ideas on how to spend the extra free time.

  • Exercising is a great option since physical activities also boost endorphins, similar to a like you get from your followers. So, instead of doing nothing, start exercising. After some time, you’ll feel great, and you’ll body will look toned. If you’re not into the gym, doing yoga, pilates, running or martial arts are also worth considering.
  • Reading is also something you should try, even if you’re not into it. There are many genres so finding something for yourself shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Listening to music is what most of us do, but instead of aimlessly going through YouTube playlists, go to your local record store and treat yourself to a full-length album. Listening to an LP surrounded with vanilla scent from your candle supplies can be an amazing experience if you give it a shot.
  • Try a new hobby – whether it’s something old or new, you can always learn a new skill which in return will give you a sense of accomplishment. Cooking, pottery, photography are only a few, there are many more options, so feel free to try something new.

5. Find inspiration in others

Social media fast is a brilliant opportunity to dedicate time to yourself and re(learn) how to practice mindfulness. You might find yourself alone, so it’s recommended to get inspired by others who can offer advice on how to do it and still feel fulfilled. People like Cal Newport have a lot of valuable insights, so it’s worth listening to them. A lot of them don’t propose the total discontinuation of social media use, but rather exercising self-control and using it only if it benefits you. 

To sum it up: Spending ten hours on Instagram isn’t healthy, and if you do it, then you should definitely consider getting off of it, if only for a few weeks. You might see the benefits very soon.