I write about toxins in our food and air but what about social media?
Think it could be toxic to your life?
Are you one of almost 5 billion people who use social media every single day?
If so, it could be having a seriously negative impact on your health and it might be a time to do a little detox.
It’s thought that around 60% of the world’s population now uses social media.
While there’s no denying it comes with some pretty great benefits, users also need to be aware of the negative impact it could be having on their health and well-being.
You’ve seen the reports about it, haven’t you? (if not read this one and this one)
Here, we’ll look at the downsides of too much social media and how it could be impacting your health plus what you can do instead.
(I’m working on my addiction, too!)
The Impact of Social Media On Mental Health
There’s been a lot of research carried out over the past few years, which has shown excessive social media use can lead to mental health issues. It’s been linked to an increase in depression, anxiety, stress, and eating disorders.
There are several reasons social media can trigger mental health issues.
Firstly, although you’re interacting digitally with friends and family, it’s not the same as in-person interaction.
This means you can often end up feeling isolated and lonely.
It’s also common to feel envious of others when you’re browsing your social media feed.
Comparing yourself to how others are doing is only going to make you feel bad if it appears you’re not doing as well as they are.
Could It Be Affecting Your Physical Health Too?
While the mental health effects of social media are pretty well known, many people are unaware of the physical effects it can have.
The more you use social media, the less active you’re going to be.
This means your cardiovascular health is going to suffer, you’ll potentially gain weight and it also increases the chances of developing a serious illness if you’re not active enough.
So, the physical effects can be pretty serious if you’re addicted to social media.
Trouble Sleeping? It Could Be Social Media!
The majority of adults have difficulty sleeping, but could it be due to your social media use?
Well, if you tend to lay in bed checking your social media before you go to sleep, the answer is yes.
Looking at a screen and communicating with people on social media right before bed, is sure to negatively impact your sleep.
Your brain will be more active, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
It’s also known that the blue light emitted from smartphone and tablet screens can interrupt sleep patterns.
So, like anything in life, too much social media can prove to be harmful to your health.
Many of us have become reliant on social media without even realizing it.
Therefore, if you’re looking to improve your health and live a happier life, the answer could be to cut back on your social media use.
5 Tips To Help You Detox From Social Media
Ok, so you know the negative impact social media could be having on your life, the question is how do you stop?
Social media addiction is a real issue in today’s society.
Like any addiction, it can be pretty tough to break a social media habit.
However, the good news is, there are lots of tips you can follow to make quitting your addiction easier.
Here, you’ll discover just 5 tips to quit your social media addiction plus read on below for things you can do instead.
Switch Off Notifications
It’s going to be pretty tough to cut back on your social media use if you keep getting notifications. While notifications on the actual apps aren’t necessarily a problem, the push notifications you get on your phone are.
Think about it, you’re minding your own business, then you get a push notification telling you a friend or family member has posted something. The likelihood is, you’re going to stop whatever you’re doing and quickly check what’s new.
Without notifications, you’ll find you check your social media accounts a lot less frequently.
Aim to Quit Gradually
Like any addiction, the key to success is gradually reducing your social media use.
If you attempt to go cold turkey, you’ll find it much harder to resist. However, cutting back gradually will make it much easier.
You can reduce your social media usage in several ways.
Setting specific time slots where you can check your accounts, for example, is a good start.
Find A New Hobby
You’re going to need something to distract you with the free time you’re going to have. So, the best thing to do is to find a new hobby.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? If so, do it now.
Finding a hobby you can immerse yourself in will encourage you to spend less time online.
Use It With Good Intentions
When used correctly, social media can have positive effects on your health.
It’s the pointless scrolling, attention-seeking posts and comparing ourselves to others that do us no favors!
So, start using social media only with good intentions.
This could mean using it to check in with friends and family who live far away. Or, it could be you’ll use it to set up an event for everyone to get together.
Consider What Your Posts Are Achieving
When it comes to posting on social media, it helps to think before you make a post.
Why are you making the post?
Is it to get attention because you’re bored? If so, rather than post on social media, call a friend.
Think about why you’re posting and what alternative behaviors you could follow to get the same outcome.
It can be difficult to break a social media habit.
However, the 5 tips above will make it a lot easier!
23 Things You Can Do Instead of Social Media
Giving up or cutting back on social media isn’t easy.
When you’re used to checking your smartphone constantly throughout the day, the habit can be pretty tough to break.
This is especially true if you don’t have anything else to fill the time you’d usually spend on social media.
However, there are a LOT of things you could be doing besides social media.
Here, you’ll discover 23 of the best alternative ways to better spend your time.
1. Catch Up With Friends
Instead of messaging and interacting with your friends on social media, go see them!
In-person interaction is so much more rewarding than online interaction.
So, arrange to meet up and grab a coffee or watch a movie – you’ll enjoy it so much more!
2. Read A Book
Reading a book can be really relaxing and more importantly, it gives your eyes a screen break.
Spending too much time staring at a screen isn’t good for you!
So, take a break, read a book, and broaden your mind.
Pausing in your day to pray can be extremely powerful.
Sure we shout up prayers when we need help or are stressed but what about spending a few minutes in the middle of the day praying or memorizing scripture?
4. Do A Puzzle
Why not get your brain working and do a puzzle?
You can buy puzzle books with a variety of puzzles to test the brain.
Or what about a 500-piece puzzle you work on with your kids or spouse?
It’s better than wasting brain cells staring at a screen.
It may not sound like fun, but you’re going to feel so much better after exercising.
Social media is known to encourage inactivity.
So, get up, get moving, and help yourself get healthier and happier.
Try yoga, a short interval workout, or this 4-minute workout that Zach Bush recommends.
Check your local church, animal shelter, or assisted living center.
My friend works at a memory care facility and she always needs volunteers to play games with the residents.
What about Meals On Wheels? (learn more about it here)
How about loving on some cute dogs and cats at the shelter?
Look around your community, the options are endless.
7. Listen To Music
Music has the power to instantly lift the mood.
It distracts you from your everyday life, eases stress, and can make you feel energized.
So, throw on your favorite tunes or discover new artists.
8. Go To The Mall
If it’s raining and you can’t go outside to walk then go to the mall.
While you are at it you can get ideas for birthday and Christmas gifts.
It’s never too late to start working on your gift list.
9. Take A Walk Or Go For A Bike Ride
Getting out into nature is great for your well-being.
It’s easy to forget about the real world around you when you’re immersed in a digital world.
So, take a walk or ride your bike to your local park, or even just around the block.
See how much better you feel afterward.
10. Get Your “To Do List” Done
Use your free time to do something productive.
If you constantly seem to waste most of your time on social media, stop the cycle and make a list of things that need to be done.
I’m sure your spouse could give you some ideas.
Use your time to complete these tasks instead.
11. Start A Side Hustle
Face it, if you have time to be scrolling social media you have time to start a business.
You could justify some of your time on Facebook and Instagram if you were using it to promote your business or products.
Seriously, what would an extra $500 to $1000 a month mean to you?
(reach out to me, I may be able to help you with this one)
12. Plant A Garden
Your garden doesn’t have to be elaborate but even in a small space, you could grow some vegetables for a salad.
You could even try container gardening if you only have a small porch.
There is nothing like fresh tomatoes or radishes freshly picked from your garden.
If you prefer fruit, try growing strawberries!
13. Get Involved In Your Community
There are many opportunities in your community.
Rotary Club, Lion’s Club, and political parties, to name a few.
These organizations are always looking for people to join and help raise awareness of their missions.
14. Take A Cooking Class Or Learn A New Recipe
My friend recently took a class to learn how to cook a turkey.
He’s so excited he no longer has to wait around for someone else to cook it for him or risk having a dry turkey.
What could you learn to cook?
Would your family be surprised if you had a few new meals for them to eat next week?
15. Read Aloud To Your Kids
Countless studies indicate reading aloud to your kids will help them do better in school and just be better humans!
If you can, find a book all ages in the family would enjoy.
For older kids, ask your child what book they have to read for school and offer to read it aloud to them.
If you aren’t currently reading to your kids they may think it is weird but give it time.
You will find that over time it will become a cherished time for everyone in the family.
Read how to get started and find a book list at ReadAloud Revival.
16. Teach Your Dog A New Trick
Your dog will love you for this one.
You can YouTube all sorts of training videos.
From simple commands to tricks, you will find videos online to show you how to do them. (just don’t get sidetracked).
We found this great training program for our dog when she was a puppy that I think lends to her calm attitude and quick obedience.
17. Transform Your Body
I mentioned exercise above but what about getting in really good shape?
Like, such great shape that you compete in a marathon or fitness contest.
You could even earn money while you do it.
Read here how you can make money while you lose weight and get healthier.
18. Start A New Habit
They say it takes 21 days for something to become a habit.
What is it that you’ve been meaning to change in your life?
Maybe it’s getting up or going to bed earlier.
Start brainstorming and get going.
19. Learn About Essential Oils
I know you have a friend who talks about essential oils on Facebook.
Instead of ignoring the post, check into the oils for yourself.
Essential oils can help you reduce toxins in your cleaning routine and may help you build your immune system.
Read my post to discover over 100 ways to use essential oils.
20. Host A Party For A Friend
How many of your friends have started a new business this last year?
What about supporting them by offering to host a party for them?
Invite a few of your friends over that you think would be interested in the products or business.
Your friend will be super excited that you are supporting them plus you’ll probably earn some hostess rewards.
21. Learn To Play An Instrument
Many apps will help you learn an instrument.
My daughter has been teaching herself to play the guitar with www.yousician.com.
If you prefer to take lessons from someone in person, call the music depart of your local college or church to see if they can refer someone to you.
22. Start A 30 Day Challenge
This could be a book reading challenge, sugar detox, or workout challenge.
You could match this with another new habit you want to develop like reading thru the bible every day or eating healthier.
Find a 30-Day Arm Challange here or try doing HIIT with my husband for 30 days here.
23. Practice Photography
Grab your camera or smartphone and explore your surroundings from a different perspective.
Experiment with composition, lighting, and subject matter to capture unique moments.
24. Attend A Cultural Event
Check out local cultural events, such as art exhibitions, live performances, or museum visits. Immersing yourself in cultural experiences can broaden your horizons and inspire creativity.
How to Start the 30-Day Digital Detox Challenge
Steps to Start the 30-Day Digital Detox Challenge:
- Set Clear Goals: Determine what you want to achieve, such as reducing screen time or improving focus.
- Create a Detox Plan: Decide on the duration and establish specific guidelines, like no social media or designated screen-free hours.
- Inform Others: Let friends, family, and colleagues know about your intentions for support and understanding.
- Find Alternative Activities: Use the list above to find things to do with your time.
- Create Accountability: Share progress with others doing the detox or form a support group to stay motivated.
- Practice Mindfulness: Reflect on thoughts and emotions, engaging fully in the present moment to stay grounded.
- Reflect and Evaluate: At the end of 30 days, assess the positive changes in mental health, productivity, relationships, and well-being.
It’s Time To Make Some Changes
So, I didn’t have to write this post for you to know that social media can hurt your life.
You already know you scroll through Facebook or Instagram when you are bored or just to fill in gaps of time.
You’ve got so much more you could be doing!
I included 23 things you could do instead of social media.
The truth is, there are hundreds of alternative ways to spend your time other than browsing on a screen.
So, the next time you feel compelled to check your social media account, do one of the ideas above.
I Want To Hear From You
I would love to know what you think about this post.
Do you find yourself spending too much time on social media?
Tell me what you’ve been doing instead.