If you’re dragging yourself through hours of TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram every day, find out why you need to do a social media detox and re-join the real world…

The past year has redefined the meaning of ‘busy doing nothing’. Between lockdowns, cancelled holidays, and exercise limitations, people have flocked to social media to divert their attention away from the adversity that the pandemic has brought.

As the UK slowly eases out of coronavirus restrictions, the future is looking brighter. Now, we should take the opportunity to reinvigorate our lives. How can we enjoy this time? It starts by putting down your mobile phone and watching the benefits flow in.

While social media may seem positive in the short term, we can become addicted to it in the long run, constantly desiring the next like or retweet.

The damage of social media

The effects of social media on our mental health is known. Our favourite apps are often fuel for anxiety, depression, and isolation. This is because the feeling of getting a notification or like can release dopamine to the brain. This drug creates a happy feeling, similar to food, drugs, or gambling.

While in the short term this happy feeling may be considered positive, over the long term the need to get this dopamine fix increases. We become addicted to social media, desiring the next like or retweet. Over time, it becomes difficult to get the same satisfaction from anything else other than our phones.

The same satisfaction can be created through alternative and healthier methods, such as education, exercise, and social interactions.

5 things to do instead of social media scrolling

Did you know that the average Brit spends 110 minutes on social media every day? This means that every year, we spend nearly a month dedicated to our online lives. Ask yourself if you want to dedicate a full month to scrolling through Facebook.

At the same time, there are a variety of better activities you could be doing. On your social media detox, why not use this extra time to try out the following activities…

Plan a holiday or trip

Nothing beats the excitement of getting a trip booked. While international holidays are still a little difficult at the moment, but we can still use this time to plan out some dream holidays for when life returns to normal.

Get active

Scrolling on social media is almost always a sedentary activity. So, while trying a social media detox, why not start up a new exercise regime? Exercise releases endorphins which relieve pain and reduce anxiety. The long-term benefits of exercise are more than that of social media.

If you want to give running a go, we recommend the NHS Couch to 5K beginner’s running plan!

Stay in touch with others

Social media cannot replace real social interactions. Now we are less limited by the pandemic restrictions, we can spend time planning long-overdue catch-ups and fun activities with family and friends.

If someone lives far away, and you rely on technology to stay in touch, swap a Facebook message for a video call! The beauty of video calls is that it allows you to see a face, interact with your friends, and practice real verbal communication.

Now we are less limited by the pandemic restrictions, we can spend time planning long-overdue catch-ups and fun activities with family and friends.

Volunteer your time

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer, which can help take time away from social media antics. The Office for National Statistics has measured that Brits spend on average one hour and seven minutes a day completing unpaid work such as care or volunteering.

Have a look for local organisations and charities that rely on volunteers. Alternatively, you could simply start by helping out your friends or neighbours.

Learn a new skill

Who says education is only for children? Even once you leave school, maintaining an eagerness to consistently learn and develop is crucial for leading a fulfilling life.

In the absence of social media, why not take the time to learn a language, perfect your knitting skills, or apply for a course. Whatever you’re interested in, you’re sure to find a local club or teacher to help you learn the ropes.

If you’re a skiing enthusiast, why not by trying out the four-week ski instructor course from the Ski Instructor Academy in Austria? You’ll get to learn new skills, get active and go traveling!

While the past year hasn’t been all too exciting, we can plan for a productive future ahead. Having a social media detox is a great place to start, to help your mental and physical health, and your social life.

Click here for our top tips on overcoming ‘back to work anxiety’.