15 Ways to Take a Break from Social Media When You Need a Detox

Updated: Jul 19

Social media can have a damaging effect on your mental health, but taking a social media break can help you reset your boundaries and improve your well-being. Here’s how.

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15 Unique Ways to Take a Social Media Break When You Need a Detox


While social media platforms allow us to connect with others, they also negatively impact our mental health. When you realize how much time you spend scrolling social media apps, and what that does to the brain, you might know that it’s time to take a break from social media.


Here’s how.


Why Take a Break from Social Media?


Multiple studies have linked excessive social media use to mental health issues. For example, a 2022 study found that people who used social media apps to either decrease loneliness or for entertainment experienced poorer mental health than those who did not. [*]


In a 2021 survey, 86% of the 1,500 social media users surveyed reported that social media negatively affects their self-image and happiness. [*] Conversely, a study of university students showed that the majority of participants felt a positive change in their sleep, anxiety, and mental wellbeing after taking a social media break. [*]


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15 Ways to Take a Break from Social Media


1. Set a Goal


Before you take a break from social media, take a look at your social media habits. How much time do you spend browsing social media? Check your screen time so you know where you’re starting from in terms of social media usage, then set your intention.


Do you plan on quitting all social media platforms or just certain ones? How long will the break be? Will you completely delete any social media accounts?


2. Clarify Why


In order to stick to your break from the social media apps, you need to get clear on your reasoning. How does each social media platform make you feel? How does it impact your everyday life? What about your ability to reach big goals?


Write down why you take social media breaks and keep that paper posted somewhere you can see it as a reminder to help you stick to the break.


Image of the HeadSpace website

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Related: 9 Types of Journaling for Mental Health and Wellness: How to Create a Journal Routine

3. Buddy Up


Get an accountability partner to join you. Social networking sites are made to keep you scrolling and social media addiction is real, and sometimes fighting the addiction alone can be impossible. By having a partner, you can both reach your goals and hold each other accountable when temptation is too great.


4. Take It Slow


Social media breaks don’t have to be all or nothing. You can take things slowly by setting a time limit. If you have an iPhone, set time limits for each app.


The trick here is to accept when you run out of time for the day. Don’t bypass the limit and keep scrolling.


5. Delete Apps


On the other hand, sometimes quitting cold turkey is best. If you have a true social media addiction, deleting apps entirely can ensure you aren’t tempted.


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6. Temporarily Disable Push Notifications


Push notifications act as another reminder to get on social media apps. Turn off social media notifications so that when you choose to open social media, it’s with purpose and not because your phone tells you to.


7. Find a New Hobby


What do you use social media for? Find a new hobby that serves the same purpose. For example, if you use social media to relax, take on a relaxing hobby instead, like going for a walk or drawing. Replace social media for entertainment with listening to a podcast, and so on.


8. Spend Time In Nature


Spending time outdoors can remind you of how big the world is - and how unimportant social media is. Plus, it’s a great form of self-care as it forces you to get present in the moment, which can improve your well-being.


9. Stay Informed In Other Ways


If you use social media for news, you can help yourself stay off those sites by finding other ways to stay informed. Perhaps you listen to a news podcast or make time to watch the evening news with dinner.


10. Sign Up For a Newsletter


On the other hand, if you like social media for entertainment value, you can replace it with a newsletter. There are all kinds of newsletters out there, so sign up for one that suits your interests. It will serve you with the most popular articles and stories in a shorter period of time so you aren’t scrolling.


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11. Prioritize Self-Care


Spend the valuable time you normally spend scrolling social media taking care of yourself. This is one sure way to notice the positive effects of a social media cleanse immediately. Take up journaling, work on your skincare, or perfect your workout routine - whatever makes you feel good.


Related: 45 Self-Care Tips for Women to Amplify Overall Wellness Today

12. Talk With a Trusted Friend


If you’re struggling to stick to your break from social media, reach out to friends. Perhaps they have relevant experience and can help you stay strong. Or, ask them to fill you in on the trending topics from social media.


13. Ask a Family Member for Support


Your family members can offer support in a variety of ways, from holding you accountable to distracting you with other things to do.


Spend time with them and notice the positive impact on your well-being as well as on your relationship. The positive effects are endless.


14. Engage on Purpose


When you do end your social media break (if you choose to), be sure to engage with purpose. Social media is a time suck, but you can still use it intentionally.


Do you want to see photos of your cousin’s new baby? Send a nice note to a friend? Open the apps only once you set that intention.


15. Use a Browser


After your social media detox, you might want to continue keeping social media at a distance. You can do this by using a browser rather than re-downloading the apps.


The browser version of social media sites is often less appealing than the app, making you less likely to scroll. That also makes it easier for you to hop on with the intention of posting or checking notifications quickly.


What’s your favorite way to take a break from social media? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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