Did you know the average U.S adult spends 2.15 hours on social media every day? If you’re in the mood for a little self-loathing, take a peek at your screen time stats on your iPhone. Go ahead — I DARE YOU. Can you imagine what you could’ve accomplished in that time if I wasn’t mindlessly scrolling Instagram or watching YouTube videos?
If you’re shocked by the amount of time you spent online, now imagine something else: Go from whatever your daily time is right now, all the way to zero. That’s right, I’m talking about going cold turkey: A straight-up digital detox. Did a chill just run down your spine? Same. The very thought of going without digital as a social media manager turns my blood ice cold. How will my thumbs occupy their time?
But before you decide I’m a crazy person who just wants everyone to live off the grid, let’s talk about the potential benefits from taking a day or two off of the roller coaster that is social media.
Benefit #1: Improve your mental health.
Instagram is all fun and games until you start comparing yourself to the influencers who travel the world, have the perfect 2.5 kids, and have a supportive husband who just also happens to be totally hot. When you completely remove yourself from the option of falling into the comparison trap, you start to reconnect with your own life and remember just how great it is. Let’s start living there — inside your real, wonderful life — more.
P.S.: Instagram is 100% a highlight reel, and you’re fooling yourself if you don’t think that “perfect influencer” you look up to doesn’t have her own struggles. Always gotta keep that in perspective! One of my favorite Instagram content creators is @LaurenElizabeth. At first scroll, you’ll see the perfect L.A. girl who always has a spray tan, fresh highlights, and two precious pups (oh yeah, and the hot boyfriend). But what I really love about her is that she keeps it real when it comes to her mental health struggles and reminds her audience that perfect is a state of mind — we’re all perfect in our flaws, and acknowledging authenticity is very important. Her second teachable moment: Sometimes good lighting is everything.
Benefit #2: Decrease your eye strain.
The average adult American spends 6 hours and 43 minutes on screens every day. This is completely mind-boggling, but when you add up: checking your email in the morning, using Waze on the way to work, checking Instagram during your lunch break, staring at a computer ALL day on the job, and watching Netflix after dinner, 6 hours and 43 minutes seems low.
According to Medium, artificial blue light (the light that comes from screens) is the most harmful of all visible colors for our eyes. Taking social media out of the equation can help relieve your eyes from the constant blue light. A little break from that harsh blue light never hurt, right?
Pro-tip: After you’ve finished your digital detox, consider protecting your eyes from the harmful light with blue blockers. Even New York mag think they’re a good idea, and they’re cute too!
Benefit #3: Increase your productivity and focus.
How many times a day do you pick up your phone while in the middle of a task? It’s totally a bad habit that many of us have — myself included. But think about how much more productive you’d be if you could really — I mean really — focus on the task at hand and not get lost on Twitter every five seconds. At the end of the day, those little breaks add up and lead to less time getting your actual work done. Another downside? Your work ends up being scattered, again leading to more revisions. So consider putting the phone in a drawer while you’re at work, or even leaving it in the glove compartment of your car. I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but it might just be what you need to finally get that big project completed. Best case scenario? You might get a raise for producing better work. Win-win.
I’m not gonna lie, unplugging will be a challenge. As a society, we are always on and connected (and there’s a constant pressure that you SHOULD be). As you put your phone down, you might feel a little out of the loop at first, but trust me it’ll be worth it.