Self-Care in the Age of Social Media

Practice self-care when it comes to social media, which can easily consume your time and mental energy.

| July / August 2018

  • Digital detoxes help remind us that we don’t need to seek validation from outside sources.
    Getty Images/oatawa

We’re all familiar with the philosophical thought experiment, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Lately, I’ve been pondering a different version: “If I experience something beautiful and don’t share it on social media, does it matter?” Sadly, the modern answer often feels like “no.”

Because this is clearly an unhealthy cultural phenomenon, I’ve begun viewing social media detoxes as an important part of my self-care routine. Digital detoxes help remind me that I don’t need to seek validation from outside sources, nor do I need to be constantly entertained or distracted. If you’re interested in reaping the benefits of a social media detox for yourself, here are the steps I’ve found most helpful:

1. Alert your online community that you won’t be logging in for a while. This is more important for those of you with an active online presence and followers who may get worried if you suddenly “disappear.”

2. Uninstall social media apps from your phone; this step will make the biggest impact right out of the gate. Gone are the days of looking at Instagram or Snapchat in the check-out line or on the subway.

3. Log out of all social media platforms on your desktop, and remove the websites from your bookmark toolbar.

4. Don’t log on to social media for at least two weeks in order to gain some distance — 6 to 8 weeks offline should break unhealthy habits.

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