A 30 day social media detox is great to have if you’ve been scrolling for hours. Oh, you have? Well, lucky for you that you found this blog post all about starting a 30 day social media detox.
Social media has drastically changed the way we communicate. Within a few seconds, you can get your news or order your groceries. You can be entertained for hours with just a scroll. But sometimes spending so much time on social media can hinder your goals.
As someone who works in social media (literally, my job is to write captions for social media posts, lol), I recommend that you take a break from social media. Again, social media can be fun and useful, but you need to take a break. I always tell my non-media working friends, “Imagine just sitting watching TV all day…like binge watching for hours and solely paying attention to television all day. Social media is a more interactive form of media, but still. So get off it.”
If you are wondering if you should take a social media detox or a short social media break, then I’m here to break it down for you. This post will discuss how to take a 30 day social media detox and give tips for taking a social media break and how to stop using social media without deleting it. You can use these tips to do a 7-day social media detox or even a 6-month social media detox.
BUT this post will NOT teach you how to quit cold turkey with social media. This is a detox from social media and will ease you into being less reliant on social media.
So….what is a social media detox?
A social media detox is a period of time when a person actively decreases their usage of social media. Social media detoxes can last from a few hours to a year. It also can go by the name of social media cleanse, social media fast, or social media break.
Is it OK to take a break from social media?
YES! Social media is designed for us to keep scrolling and scrolling. Do not blame yourself for wanting to take a break. It’s 100% okay to take a break. It’s healthy to take a break from social media.
Why should I take a break from social media?
Social media affects our mental health more than we think. Experts & studies have shown how social media can lead to social isolation and loneliness. It also can lead to cyberbullying and feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Of course, that’s all the negativity but social media doesn’t stop like other forms of mass media. Unlike TV, another form of mass media, your app doesn’t force you to watch an ad or your favorite show doesn’t end. Without screen time or an app limiting your daily time, you can be on there for hours.
Basically, having too much of a good thing can have negative effects.
Signs you need a social media break.
- You are spending hours and hours scrolling endlessly (aka opening TikTok for 2 videos and it’s 5 hours later)
- You are constantly comparing yourself to others online
- You feel lonely af
- You’re anxious most of the day
- You cope with negative emotions by scrolling
- You don’t spend time enjoying moments & want to record and snap photos for your feed
- Your whole life revolves around posting online
- You have tons of cases of FOMO
- You close a social media app, stay off for a minute, then open the app again to refresh the same feed
- You spend more time on social media consuming than doing your hobbies, work, etc.
HOW TO DO A 30 DAY SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX
Step 1: Decide that you want to take a social media break.
I know that this may sound obvious, but you really need to want to stop or decrease your screen time, so I recommend starting out small. If are on social media 24/7, then quitting cold turkey will be extremely difficult. I recommend easing into the process. Do not put your phone in a locked container like in The Social Dilemma.
Social media is addictive, like sugar. You need to take small baby steps each day. You have to be dedicated to the process. You have to change your mindset.
Step 2: Set up ScreenTime.
Okay, the first step that you should do is to open up ScreenTime and set limits. But you should open the app and set up Downtime and App Limits.
My downtime is set from 11 PM-8 AM currently but it changes often. Then for App Limits, I recommend restricting each app for different times. For example, I use YouTube for everything from workouts, random tech tutorials, to watching Kpop videos at night, so 2 hours is generous. BUT for Instagram and LinkedIn (aka apps all about other people’s lives) I limit myself to only 30 minutes and that’s for both of them combined.
I think for Andriod there is an equivalent of ScreenTime that is called Digital Wellbeing.
Figure out what works best for you. You can even include shopping apps and games as well.
Step 3: Turn off all push notifications.
You won’t be obligated to get on Twitter or Facebook when you have your notifications off. Select which notifications you want to see. I personally do not have any social media notifications unless it is messaging. I don’t know when someone likes my photos and even comments depending on the app.
Decide on what notifications are important to you and decide whether to have them as push notifications or to make a noise when they pop up.
Step 4: Make it difficult to access social media websites and apps.
A lesson I learned from Atomic Habits by James Clear was to make a habit difficult if I wanted to quit it. So with a social media detox, you will need to make having access to social media websites and apps difficult.
Download social media detox apps like StayFocused or Forest to prevent you from spending time on the apps. Follow accounts that bore you that make you want to log off. Keep yourself busy with hobbies or tasks to avoid needing to scroll.
Also, log out of all your social media apps and on your desktop. Most of the time, I’m too lazy to sign back in, so that helps.
Another tip for doing a social media detox is to remove social media apps from your home screen. If you have to type or keep swiping to find an app, then you’ll want to get on it less. It’s extra work and time-consuming. Hide those apps on your phone, especially if you do not want to delete the apps.
Step 5: Let people know that you are on a social media detox challenge.
One of the biggest culprits of using social media is people always messaging you on it, prompting you to answer their message as soon as possible and always needing to get back on the app.
Have a social media detox or break paragraph ready to let everyone know that you are on a break. Some people will message you on a DM and might be upset when you aren’t answering them. Or if you communicate mainly through Instagram or Snapchat, then people will be concerned if you don’t answer for a few days. Just let them know that you are going to be offline for a while and where to contact them.
Your social media break message should be short and straight to the point. If you are posting to your followers or customers, then you can be detailed.
Hi everyone! For the next month, I will be doing a social media detox where I will be limiting my social media usage. I will be spending a few minutes each day or even week on this platform. Feel free to contact me through text or email to reach me.
Or something along those lines.
Also, ask your friends to either send TikToks or any links to social media through messages only. For iPhones, sometimes the link will go to safari or Google Chrome where you can only view that link or video once without an account. This also helps you cut back on scrolling because it’s time-consuming to have to log in.
Step 6: Have social media-free days.
A common self care day activity is to go technology or social media free for 24 hours. It can work in several ways: you could not use one social media app for 24 hours, you could not use any social media platform for a day, or quit any technology for a day. It’s all up to you.
If you can make it one day without social media, then the next day will be easier. Soon, you’ll be able to stay off for a long time.
Step 7: Replace your scrolling with a hobby.
There will be moments when you feel the need to know what’s trending on Twitter or what’s the latest TikTok meme or dance. Instead of hopping on the app, swap that with another hobby. Read, learn a new instrument, start an Etsy store, or do jump jacks. Just do something.
Step 8: Place your phone in another room.
This tip is my most common habit for cutting back on my social media usage is to place it in another room or far away. Place your phone face down in another room or across your room. Don’t have right in front of you.
I use the Forest app during work or when I’m blogging and let it run. The Forest app is essentially a timer that rewards you with virtual plants when you stay off your phone. It even donates or plants real trees in real life when people use the app.
Step 9: Create small goals during your 30 day social media detox.
Remember this is a social media detox. It’s so you won’t rely 100% on social media. You should have an overall goal of what happens after completing this social media detox challenge.
- Do you want to be able to go completely without social media?
- Is this just a quick, short social media break?
- Or do you want to just cut back on your TikTok watching time?
Create short goals each day or week. For example, for week 1, you want to go without checking Instagram or to reduce your scrolling time to only 30 minutes a day across all apps.
Use a social media detox checklist or calendar to help you out! I created a simple calendar that you can check off every day and pick any goal you want.
Step 10: Be easy with yourself.
Again, social media is addicting. I’ve detoxed from Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for a few weeks but got back into scrolling. Doing a 30 day social media detox will not be easy. Do not beat yourself up for getting back on social media. One thing that I remind myself is that it’s a norm for my generation to cope with life by scrolling. Here is part of a speech by Simon Sinek that discusses our phone addiction this younger generation.
The way we communicate is also through mainly social media apps nowadays. To find out about some restaurants, you have to log into Facebook. Want to buy a t-shirt, sorry that boutique can only be contacted through Instagram or Twitter. Need info about a local event? There’s information only on their social media.
If you slip back into scrolling for too long, just use some of these tactics to not spend all day on social media and go live your life.
What to do while on a 30 day social media detox challenge?
- Read. Books still exist, you know.
- Learn an instrument.
- Start a self love journey.
- Workout or start doing yoga.
- Spend time with friends and family.
- Be a better co-worker.
- Study for your exam.
- Work on self care and your well being.
How long of a break should I take from social media?
It really depends on what you need. I recommend a month because it’s doable. I’ve had a friend go a whole year without social media during college to some friends who took a 24-hour break. I try (outside of work-related social media research) to use all my in less than 30 minutes a day.
I recommend knowing what you want from a social media break.
How do you take a break from social media without deleting it?
You take a break by reducing the need for social media. You start by making the apps seem undesirable. You do not need to go cold turkey and delete accounts and apps (unless you want to). But you need to replace the dopamine and instant gratification of scrolling with something else.
Use apps and Google Chrome extensions that limit your time on social media. Use ScreenTime on your phone. Find other things to do. Get back into your hobbies and read. It’s going to take time to get used to not using social media that often, but you can do it!
This blog post gave tips on how to handle a 30 day social media detox challenge!
While you are on your social media break, check out some of my other blog posts: