How many hours a day do you spend scrolling? Bouncing between likes, comments, clicks, and a never-ending stream of content, it’s easy to spend countless hours on social media—especially if you’re a marketer by profession.
While the average adult may spend upwards of 144 minutes on their mobile apps, those numbers only increase for digital marketers. Instead of simply consuming content, you’re likely responsible for creating and distributing it as well, in addition to engaging and supporting your social communities.
While social media is a powerful tool, in both our business and personal lives, it’s also important to take a step back for a little detox. Here’s how you can enjoy a social media detox without letting your job or work suffer.
The Risks of Social Scrolling
Before we unpack the “how,” of doing a social media detox, it’s important to address the, “why.” Continuous scrolling on social media doesn’t just affect our productivity. Negative feedback, not getting “enough” likes and the sheer volume of content we consume can all lead to stress, according to Everyday Health.
The thing is, constant stress, whether it’s from personal or professional social media use, can be dangerous. In How to Free Yourself From Stress, health experts at HealthMarkets suggest that the problem is when stress becomes chronic. They explain:
“In cases like these, the constant physiological response wears us down, affecting several major biological systems. Our stores of energy drain. Our bodies produce fewer infection-fighting T-cells, so our immune systems become weak, making it easy for illnesses and diseases to push their way into our lives.”
The goal of your social media detox is to mitigate this stress so you can do your job and enjoy the positive effects of social media without a negative impact.
Detoxing in a Digital World
When the world, and your career, rely on digital interactions, it’s not always realistic to delete your Facebook and Instagram—and your family or boss wouldn’t appreciate that solution, either. Instead, use these six simple, yet effective, methods to do a social media detox, even as a marketer, while staying on top of the latest trends:
1. Audit Your Apps
Are you using every app on your phone? While it may seem tedious, review the social media apps you currently have and delete those that you rarely use. If it’s not essential for your job, and you don’t frequently engage with its content, that app is only going to cause stress with unnecessary notifications about new posts and updates.
Bonus: that app is probably also taking up storage space on your phone that you need for photographs or videos for work posts. Ultimately, the more you declutter your digital space, the better you’ll be able to hone in on what’s essential for your attention and what is not.
You can even use apps to silence your social media apps during certain times of day and week, which can help you keep all your apps while reducing stress. Check out these social media blocking apps to find one for your needs.
2. Curate Your Feed
What we consume is just as important as how often we consume it. As social media users, whether for professional or personal purposes, we are in control of what fills our feed. If you notice that plant-experts and fashion influencers make you happy, follow a few more on your favorite platforms.
Most importantly, unfollow the accounts that make you stressed or anxious. For example, if you realize that too much news makes you nervous, unfollow all the news accounts that are filling your feed. Curate your feed so it only brings joy, happiness, and inspiration. If you can’t unfollow certain accounts for your job, simply hide their content from your feed instead.
3. Set Active vs. Non-Active Hours
Develop and stick to a schedule that allows for a better balance of on-screen and off-screen time. For example, Anastasia Warren, social media manager at KoMarketing, explains how she did this to mitigate her social media stress:
“While I love doing social media both for my clients and for myself, I knew something needed to change. That’s when I introduced (personal) social media-free weekdays. For a couple of months, I refrained from posting stories or thoughts on social media until the weekend when I could get in there and play. On Sunday night, I vowed to refrain from using them again. My life got a whole lot more productive and a whole lot less driven by the comparison game during this time.”
Find a schedule that feels supportive of what you want to get out of social media—information, happiness, humor—and then cut out the rest. Don’t forget to do this for your job as well. A good boundary to set is to avoid your company’s social media accounts when you’re outside the office unless it’s an emergency. This sets a clear guideline for you to follow.
4. Adjust Your Notification Settings
As a marketer, you know there’s a science behind a user’s push notifications. In fact, you’ve probably triggered a couple of them to display on the screens of your intended consumer audience. “Great apps create an instantaneous link between an emotional itch and the salve the service provides. To create this mental connection, effective messages are thoughtfully timed,” says Ximena Vengoechea, a design researcher at Twitter.
That same psychology and strategy for engagement still apply to you, and it may be worth adjusting your notification settings to minimize minute-by-minute phone pick-ups and usage. If you notice that your notifications significantly impact your time scrolling through social media, limit them to the essentials or remove them entirely.
5. Plan a Weekend Cleanse
If you don’t have any big deadlines coming up this weekend, challenge yourself to go 48 hours without social media. While the task may seem daunting, you’d be surprised what you can do without the stress of incoming notifications going off in your pocket.
The time away might open doors to reconnect with old friends (IRL), try out a new hobby, or explore a new location in your city. Even if you’re back on the social media grind by Monday, your brain and body will appreciate the rest.
Striking the Perfect Balance
We get it—we know you can’t really be away from social media for too long. It’s part of your job! As a marketer, being connected is what helps you to stay ahead of the trends, but it’s of equal importance that you’re still taking care of your individual needs. Sometimes, that means investing in a little social media detox.