I have a chronic illness and I am taking a social media detox. Here's why.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Social media. You either love it or you hate it, right? It’s something I admittedly have a bit of a tricky relationship with. Recently, I’ve been thinking about how I use social media and whether it’s in my best interests to keep using it. The conclusion I came to, was that I would definitely benefit from having a social media detox. Let me explain why.

An Unhealthy Habit

How many of you reach for your phone umpteen times throughout the day? Yup, me too. If I am being truthful, it’s a habit I have developed as a means to alleviate boredom. I often find myself mindlessly reaching for my phone and I can waste so much time scrolling through endless timelines.

The problem is, it doesn’t always leave me feeling positive afterwards. Social media can remind me that I am missing out, that I am unable to do the things I want to achieve. And, it can leave me feeling a bit deflated. It goes without saying that this is detrimental to my healing.

My use of my phone isn’t just affecting me mentally. It’s also having an adverse effect on my physical health. After spending a lot of time on my phone, I feel drained. Part of that comes from the energy demands from reading. But, I also think I am sensitive to EMFs. Too long on my phone and I can be left feeling unwell.

You might be thinking, “if’s that’s the case why do you even use it?” The truth is, social media is not all bad. There are aspects of it that I truly love and enjoy.

Connecting with Like-minded People

One of the biggest benefits of using social media– particularly Twitter and Instagram– is that it has connected me with like-minded people. There is a wonderful chronic illness community on social media and I  have made some wonderful friends online. People I no doubt would never have “met” if it wasn’t for social media.

I have a fantastic support network in real life. But, there’s something special about connecting with people in a similar situation to you. They can offer true insight, understanding and support because they are going through similar experiences.

Getting my Blog “Out There”

Social media has also been of huge benefit to my blog. Blogging and social media go hand-in-hand these days and– as a whole– it’s my biggest referrer of traffic. Social media undoubtedly helps me to promote my blog posts and allows me to reach people I might not have otherwise.

Social media has also enabled me to connect with other chronic illness bloggers. There is a wonderful, supportive community of bloggers who help each other out. Recently, I had the support of a few who helped me with guest posts as I went through treatment at Infusio.

I need to Find a Balance

Since there are aspects of social media I enjoy, I don’t want to shut away from it completely. Instead, I need to find a balance. As I explained, spending too much time on my phone is detrimental to both my physical and mental health. Plus, it also disconnects me from the real world too.

There are other, healthier things I could be doing instead of wasting time on my phone. If I spent less time on my phone, I’d have the energy to do other things. That could be as simple as reading a book over social media timelines. Or, doing things that help me to feel productive, such as more time blogging and creating (crochet, painting, photography etc.).

My Social Media Detox

A social media detox feels like a positive thing for me to do. Like I said, I am not stepping away completely, but here are a few steps I am taking:

Turning off all notifications

All notifications are turned off on my phone for social media, including Facebook messenger and blog emails. This allows me to look at my phone when I want to, rather than responding immediately to a notification (I am a bit OCD about not having notifications left showing on my phone).

Deleting Apps

I have deleted the Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest apps off my phone. This will stop me from mindlessly scrolling through timelines when I am bored. I will now only access them via my laptop or iPad (both of which I use much less often than my phone). This will greatly reduce the amount of time I spend on them.

The only social media app that remains on my phone is Instagram, which I actually enjoy using. There’s a nice community on Instagram and I love seeing snaps from people’s day. I can easily pick and choose who to follow too. So, in effect, I choose what I see. You can follow me on Instagram here if you’re interested.

I Have Deactivated my Personal Facebook account

Out of all social media, I don’t actually enjoy Facebook. Part of this is because my Facebook feed gets filled with click-bait articles, quizzes and fake news that I can’t be bothered with. But,  I’d  also rather talk to people over reading a post on Facebook.

I stopped looking at my Facebook timeline a little while ago. I was only using Facebook to access groups that I am a part of. However, because I have an account, I worry people will assume that I’ll see their posts. So, I came to the conclusion that it’s easier to have my account deactivated. It makes it clear that I am not using it.

Deactivating my account will stop me from accessing Facebook groups. However, maybe that will be a positive thing as, overall, I’ll spend less time on social media. It will be interesting to see if I feel like I am missing out or whether I’ll enjoy not having Facebook. If I do miss the groups, it’s easy enough to reactivate my account– I just need to log back in.

For now, I still have a Facebook page for my blog but I’m not sure if I will in future. It’s a source of frustration as Facebook pushes more and more for paid promotion of posts. So many of my posts are missed by the majority of my followers because of how the algorithm works. I can’t help but wonder if my energy is best spent elsewhere.

lIMITING THE lENGTH OF tIME I’m SPENDing ON sOCIAL mEDIA

I am going to try and only go on to social media when I want to post something. And, I want to limit the time I spend replying and checking out other people’s posts. I am sure this will be challenging. Breaking old habits and creating new ones is never easy.

However, I hope that all of the steps I’ve taken above will make this easier. Plus, I also want to get back into the habit of preparing posts for Twitter and my Facebook page in advance. I can write a week’s worth of valuable posts (sharing other bloggers’ posts and interesting articles) in advance in a relatively short time if I put my mind to it.

Becoming More Mindful of my Social Media Use

Overall, I hope the above helps me to become more mindful of my social media use. I also hope it encourages me to spend my time more productively. I will need to think of different, low-energy things to do. I’m interested to find out if my social media detox will have a positive impact on my mental and physical health.

What are your Thoughts?

What do you think? Do you enjoy social media? Or do you find it has some negative implications for your health? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments. And, please also share any tips for you have for managing social media better.

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4 Comments

  1. I’m definitely quite hooked on it when I’m home, but when I go out or travel I have no problems not ‘using’ it. Like you I also use it to alleviate boredom and connect with other spoonies, plus I enjoy blogging most of the time, and all the scheduling 🙂 a detox is definitely good every now and then. It definitely helps both mentally and physically for me too. Take care! x

    • Thank you, Sheryl. I think it’s good to take a step back and try to refind the balance 🙂

  2. Great post! I hope you were able to stick to the detox (it’s so dang hard!) I try to do a detox around the holidays and deactivate so that I can be more mindful when interacting with other people instead of checking my phone 300x. I love that there is an option of deactivating now, as opposed to just trying to ignore it.

    • Thank you, Rachel. I’ve been doing really good with it and feel I have found a better balance. I think it helps to do this every now and again. I don’t even miss Facebook if I’m totally honest! I agree, it’s good that the deactivation option is there.

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