How Cutting the Social Media Cord Saved My Mental Health

There’s never been a better time to consider taking a social media cleanse. In the midst of a pandemic, social unrest, political debates, protests and a failing economy, hopping on social media can be incredibly depressing. Instead of providing an escape, Facebok, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms draw you deeper into the mess and can even pit you against friends and family. 

Obviously, scrolling through your socials can take a huge toll on your mental health, especially right now. If you want to break free and begin focusing on the positives — yes, there is still good out there — it’s time to cut the social media cord. 

1. Curbing FOMO

There probably aren’t as many FOMO-inducing vacation selfies on your feed right now, but cutting the cord could still be a smart idea. Snaps of Sarah’s new pool floatie and family barbecue can still make you feel like you’re missing out on summer — especially after the pandemic stole most of it. Anywhere looks better than where you are right now.

Of course, deleting all your social media apps may make your FOMO even worse, at least in the beginning. However, if you give yourself some time to find the beauty in your everyday routine, you’ll discover it was your own life you were missing out on all along. 

2. Improving Sleep

If you’re anything like me, you fall into bed after a long, hard day and immediately unlock your phone. Then, you spend the better part of an hour scrolling through your socials before finally calling it quits. Well, it turns out staring at that little screen is affecting our sleep more than we might realize.

Aside from pushing bedtime back an hour, the blue light from your phone supresses melatonin production, thereby disrupting your circadian rhythm. Exposing yourself to blue light before bed can make falling and staying asleep more difficult. As you probably already know, too little sleep can negatively impact your mood and mental health. Ditch that phone two to three hours before bed to get some beauty rest and feel better, in general.

3. Making Real Connections 

Social media can also distract you from making connections in real life. While you’re busy liking and commenting on photos, you may miss your partner’s longing look or your best friend’s smile. Focusing on your phone could even  impact intimacy and happiness within relationships you already have — including your marriage.

As the physical distance between you and others grows, you may notice feelings of loneliness, boredom and even depression. Apparently that lack of physical conversation, expression and unity can take a toll on your mental health. Therefore, if you value your friendships, don’t slide into their DMs. Meet them for coffee and chat face-to-face. Odds are you’ll both feel a little closer afterwards. 

4. Boosting Confidence

Humans have always looked to others for validation or as a means of measuring their own progress. Social media provides just one more way to compare yourself to otther people. Sadly, nearly everyone you follow is only sharing the fittest, happiest, most successful versions of themselves online. Moreover, many photos that appear on your feed are posed or have layers of filters and edits on top of them. 

Seeing everyone’s highlight reels can severely damage your self-worth, confidence and happiness. How do you regain that self-confidence? You guessed it. Cut out social media! Love yourself and appreciate the progress you’ve made right now and watch as your mental health improves. 

5. Increasing Productivity

Before I cut the social media cord, I would check my phone every five  minutes. Any time my phone would bing with a new notification, I’d habitually pick it up. One minute would turn into twenty and, before I knew it, I had wasted an hour on social media. I could have been folding laundry or working, but I just couldn’t pull myself away.

I’m not the only one struggling, though. Worldwide, people spend an average of two hours and 24 minutes each day scrolling through social media. If you meet or exceed that average, eventually you’re going to feel unproductive, which can affect your mental health. Nip procrastination in the bud to feel better and get more done by staying off your socials — at least when you have a to–do list to knock out. 

6. More Time for Self Care

Spending more time on your phone automatically means you have less time for other things, including taking care of yourself. I mean, reading FaceBook arguments for an hour doesn’t exactly count as self-care — and niether does involving yourself in the quarrel. 

Instead of falling into a social media black hole, set down your phone and do something you truly enjoy. Enjoy a hot bath, complete with music and candles or do something outdoors. When was the last time you went for a walk or took a yoga class? Rekindling old hobbies and discovering new passions will do wonders for your mental health. Plus, focusing on you will banish FOMO, low self-esteem and depressive thoughts without you really even having to try.

Do It for You

If you do decide to pull the plug on social media, you don’t have to delete the apps forever. Maybe you just need a short break to recharge your battery. Whatever the case, remeber that you’re doing this for you. You deserve to be happy and healthy and to fully experience all that life has to offer. It’s time to make it happen. 


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ERIN FALCONER!

Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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