You probably use a lot of technology to get your work done every day. Unfortunately, however, there are plenty of aspects of technology that hurt more than they help. Social media, in particular, can grind your productivity to a halt if you let it get the best of you.
Reasons You Should Try a Social Media Fast
A popular way people are getting unhooked from digital addictions is through a social media fast. Just like a 24 hour fast from food is a health habit that helps the body detox, a social media fast frees up your mind to ditch bad habits and regain its sharpness.
Whether it’s for a day, a week, or even a month, a social media fast can be helpful in a number of ways. Here are a few reasons you should try one out for yourself:
1. Quit Getting Distracted
Social media is one of the biggest distractors in the world. When working at a computer, it’s so easy to switch tabs to your social media feed while your boss isn’t looking. Unfortunately, with an abundance of content and updates from family and friends, it’s easy to waste hours a day doing nothing but scrolling.
Regain your focus
A social media fast will help you regain your focus. Use the time without social apps downloaded to your phone to instill productivity habits that will remain even once your fast has ended. Instead of checking your Facebook notifications, do some jumping jacks to reset your brain. For example, do a crossword puzzle at lunch instead of watching the latest Instagram Live.
Your time spent on a social media fast will hopefully, free you of your dependence (or habit) on checking social media all the time throughout the day. In addition, your “fast” will increase your productivity at work and at home as social notifications stop dragging you down.
2. Be More Present
How often has social media taken your time and attention away from loved ones? Probably more than you’d like to admit. Your social media fast will help you reconnect with your friends and family in a more meaningful way than ever.
It’s rather ironic that social media has in many ways degraded our relationships when it was originally built to help us stay connected. However, that’s the sad reality, as social media is now more for laughing at memes and watching creative videos rather than sharing pictures with family and messaging long-lost friends.
Your social media time can be replaced with a call to an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time or a video chat with your grandparents. You’ll also notice that you can give more attention to your family while eating meals or hanging out with each other in the afternoons.
3. Stop Being Bored
When you’re feeling bored, the first thing you’re likely to do is to pick up your smartphone and start browsing your social media apps. But there are so many better ways to use your time! A fast from social media will force you to figure out new ways to fill your idle time.
The first thing you might turn to is Netflix or a video game. While this is certainly switching things up a little bit, try to find ways to unplug instead. For example, plan times in your Calendar to read a book, take a walk or do some chores you’ve been putting off for some time.
Find other activities to interest you
When your brain recognizes that other activities can take place in a time of boredom, you’ll have an easier time gravitating toward said activities even after your fast has ended. Hopefully, this means you’ll stop resorting to social media apps every time your mind goes blank.
4. Increase Your Self-Esteem
Numerous studies have shown a correlation between excessive use of social media and depression, along with other mental health difficulties such as anxiety and stress. These effects are mostly caused by the feelings of inadequacy that come from watching other people live their lives through social media. Jealously quickly sets in when other people look much happier, wealthier, and more attractive than you believe yourself to be.
By taking a break from social media, you can focus on your mental health. Replace your social media time with activities that bolster your self-esteem. For example, go to the gym, take a little extra time for yourself in the morning, or start a journal full of positive thinking and affirmations.
Want to do a side hustle?
You can even use your Calendar to put together a side hustle for yourself. This side gig can give your life some extra meaning, even providing an alternate career doing something you truly love. Plus, you’ll be able to generate the extra income you need to go on all the nice trips that kept getting you down when you saw them on social media.
5. Improve Your Physical Health
Just like with your mental health, your physical health can experience a boost as you cut down on social media. For starters, time spent off-screen can be more active, getting you off the couch more often. You’re also giving your eyes a break from staring at a bright screen with small text for prolonged periods of time.
Speaking of that tiny screen, the blue light emitted from smartphones can make it difficult for many people to fall asleep and rest well. However, by toning down your social media usage, especially right before bed, you should be more successful following a healthy sleep routine that will leave you feeling genuinely refreshed in the morning.
If you’re not fully convinced of the power of a social media fast, try a short one as a test drive. For example, make it a goal to spend the next Monday at work without checking social media once. Note how much you’re able to get done and how you feel when you clock out. If you had a positive experience, try it again the next day until you’ve fully reached your stride.
Image Credit: thought catalog; pexels; thank you!
Hunter Meine is a BYU-Idaho graduate, husband, father, and writer. When he's not writing, he's playing sports or enjoying the outdoors with his wife and daughter.