A Facebook detox…what’s that you ask?? Exactly as it sounds. Just like a juice cleanse detox is good (maybe) for your physical health, a social media detox is great for your overall well-being. I don’t know if it’s just something that I made up or if people really do this, but either way, I recommend it.
So to better answer the question of what a Facebook detox is, it’s essentially this: abstaining from either Facebook or another social media platform, or all of them, for a predetermined period of time. Whether that be one hour or one week, it’s up to the detoxer.
Why do a detox? Many reasons. Do you ever scroll through your newsfeed and see something that instantly ruins your mood, makes you feel jealous, angry, sad, etc.? Yes, we all do from time to time. Do you ever scroll through and see someone’s post, and it makes you question yourself and even compare yourself to them, as unfair as that may be? It’s sad, but most of us could probably answer “yes” to all these questions, myself included.
In the past I have unintentionally done Facebook “detoxes”, like last summer when I was in the hospital for a short stay, and whenever I’m out and about all day. During those times I hardly look at my phone, and I noticed that I felt better. It’s a very nice feeling.
Let’s get even more knitty-gritty. Not all, but many people who use Facebook also use Facebook messenger. If you’re unfamiliar with what that is, it’s basically instant messaging. It’s like texting, but through Facebook. The conversations are private, just like with texting, but you can do group messages as well. You’re also able to send pictures, videos, etc. And the scary yet sometimes handy part is that you’re able to see the second the person opens a message, and when they’re responding. This little feature has caused me quite a bit if anxiety in the past. If you’re a regular social media user like myself, you probably can relate.
Let’s create a scenario as an example. Say you send your crush a message on Facebook messenger. You see that he/she has opened your message already…but it’s been 20 minutes and they still haven’t replied. Maybe they’re busy, you think. However, you see at the top of the conversation, right next to their name, the dreaded words: “Active Now”. If that doesn’t strike fear into your heart, you must not be big on Facebook! Of course now your mind jumps to the worst possible conclusions. You think you said something wrong, or they hate your guts since they haven’t replied back to you. Does this sound crazy or what?
I’m no expert, but I believe that regular Facebook and other social media use creates the perfect storm for mental illness. Yes that’s a b0ld statement, but it makes sense. Partaking in these activities and feeling those same emotions of worry, jealousy, and doubt, over and over, surely will eventually lead to one emotionally screwed up person!
In addition to the emotional aspect, there’s also the reputation. When I see a million gazillion status updates from the same people over the course of the day, I start to look at them differently. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s there. I try to stop myself from thinking these thoughts, but they just come to me. I think to myself, “Wow, they must have too much time on their hands.”, and “That’s not very interesting, I’m not sure why they felt the need to share that with us.”
Similar to posting, when I see that the same people are active on Facebook messenger all the time, I think they must have no life. Who could they possibly be talking to allllll day long? Don’t they ever get off their computer/phone and do something?
Reading this, you may be feeling different emotions. I may have stirred up some uncomfortable feelings inside of you. Social media can do that to you. Now, what if I told you that all you needed to do to make those feelings go away is to get off your phone. Just stop.
Here’s what you do: starting tomorrow morning when you wake up, plug your phone in to charge if it’s not already, and walk away. Leave your phone in a safe place, but somewhere that you won’t be tempted to pick it up and check it every 10 minutes. Now, it’s up to you how long you decide to go without using it. For me, it depends on the day and what I’m trying to accomplish.
If I am getting too worked up about someone not messaging me back, I’ll leave my phone in my bedroom for at least two hours. To give myself a little break. Then later on I’ll go check it, and sometimes leave it upstairs for a couple more hours. But if I’m trying to really clear my mind of all social media garbage, I’ll leave my phone alone all day. I’ll admit that I don’t do this very often and I won’t say that it’s easy, either. But I think that it’s essential for optimal mental health.
So, could you do it? Would you do it? Do you see the need for it?