Start The New Year Refreshed: The Benefits of Detoxing from Social Media

"New Year, New Me" – the popular mantra repeated by many making their New Year’s resolutions. Along with these resolutions comes a plan in place to achieve the desired goal(s). Dieting and weight loss is of course most popular; a broad spectrum of different methods are used in achieving a healthier lifestyle, such as detoxing from certain foods or beverages. However, there are many other detoxification processes out there, and one rising in popularity is that of detoxing from social media and related electronic communication.

Indeed, Millennials are well known for being glued to their phones, living our lives as though they rotate around the likes on Instagram and Facebook statuses we receive. We are lucky to have almost any information we desire available in mere seconds with just a swipe and a few taps of our fingers. Younger generations are in even deeper than we are, as they have never experienced a life without technology readily available at their fingertips. Keeping up with the latest news on the Kardashians can be so addicting that we forget how precious the current moment is; we sometimes forget to put down our phones and truly live.

We all sometimes need a gentle reminder to be more present in our day to day lives, and taking a break from social media can be extremely beneficial in learning to do so. With the start of a new year, 2016 is the perfect time to do it!

Giving up anything you love (aka are addicted to) for a period of time can be difficult, but social media can produce especially surprising withdrawal responses for some. Perhaps without even realizing it, you likely reach for or glance at your phone a minimum of 100 times a day (and that’s probably falling on the low end of the scale). Just like anything else, social media becomes part of a habit that’s been ingrained in your daily routine, and you will notice its absence. Without access to news, pictures, and stories about your friends (and even the people from high school you barely speak to), you will quickly fall out of the know on breaking news and gossip.

Social media is a mindless, relaxing way to fill the void of boredom as you lazily scroll through your timeline, and it will not be an easy task, but as they say, pain is gain. So, what are the benefits of detoxing from social media?

Better body image and self-confidence.
Media portrayal of women and girls frequently exhibits exaggerations (or blatant lies) about the definition of beauty and what it is to be sexy. Women struggle with their own bodies as they try to perpetuate the myths illustrated by models who look like they  “woke up like this” -  no one explains how they are on a strict regime of diet and exercise, and still struggle with their weight and appearance. What we see is the perfectly staged, scantily clad bikini picture on Instagram that garnered over 15,000 likes – with nary a fat roll (or even fold of skin) to be seen. Even the most confident of women can experience self-doubt thanks to the filtered version of reality social media presents to us. Remember that you only see what people want you to see online; the reality of social media is that what you see often differs from what is “real. “ Essena O’Neill (the 19 year old model, now famous for her dissection of her own Instagram account and the truth behind each photo) is proof that you can’t always believe what you see on social media.

Increased satisfaction (and attention) in interpersonal relationships.
Think about the last time you were out to dinner with your friends, or with your man; how many times did you check your phone, or even hold an entire conversation while multitasking, phone in hand? It’s safe to say that others around you were doing the same. We are so glued to our phones nowadays, that many have tried instituting a rule that whoever looks at their phone first has to pay the check (or some other form of “punishment.”) After all, ignoring others to take a call or browse social media is rude behavior, and really should be unacceptable. Without the distraction of social media and your phone luring you away from the people around you, your attention will be focused on your loved ones, and they will feel more connected to you as a result. Instead of sitting next to each other in silence on social media, you will engage in each other and in quality conversation - perhaps you will even get to know them better than ever before.
Appreciation for the world around us – and the life we are living.
After a long, grueling workweek, how many of us sit, slumped on a couch, TV blasting some nonsense reality show in the background, while simultaneously scrolling through social media to “catch up”(raises hand sheepishly)?


How about taking a hike, and catching up on that beautiful view of the mountains? Drive along the coastline and see how beautiful the beach looks at sunset, waves from the ocean crashing down. Walk downtown and enjoy the stars overhead as you make your way to meet friends at the new pub that just opened. When you really stop and take it all in, you can appreciate how amazing this world – and this life – really is.

There are many benefits to detoxing from social media, and becoming more conscious of ourselves and others around us is certainly a great goal to reach for in the new year (and beyond). Life is precious and short, and should never be taken for granted. While social media can be a fun way to whittle away a half hour during downtime, don’t let it ever prevent you from living each moment to the fullest, and practicing gratitude for the life you have been blessed with – now get up, get out there, and carpe diem!


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