Have a Healthy Relationship with Social Media

Christian Thomson

Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing.

How Business Owners and Their Teams Can have a Healthy Relationship with Social Media

Have you ever heard of a digital detox?

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Oxford defines it as “a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.”

This can be a frightening thought for many. In our connected world, voluntarily going without our electronic devices has become a foreign concept, for teens on social media and business people alike. But business leaders are finding that taking a break from technology has benefits for their team and their business.

The Benefits of a Digital Detox

There is a reason why it is referred to as a detox. Social media is addictive and can be difficult for many people to put aside voluntarily. Overcoming that addiction carries several benefits, however, including:

  1. Reduced Stress. Among those polled, 20% cited the use of technology as a source of stress. Putting your devices aside even for a brief time gives you a chance to decompress and relax.
  2. Better Relationships. Despite the name, social media tends to make users less sociable in the real world, as conversations, dinners, and meetings are interrupted by the checking of statuses, responding to instant messages, and other distractions
  3. Improved Creativity. Studies have shown that simply having electronic devices present can reduce both creativity and productivity by reducing focus and attention.
  4. Better Physical Health. We have all seen people with their heads down, staring at their phones. This has resulted in a phenomenon now known as “tech neck.” Aside from the near-epidemic level of neck injuries, those constantly engaged with their devices are experiencing digital eye strain. And this isn’t even touching on the dangers of walking into things…
  5. Increased Attention Span. Devices and connections are growing steadily faster. Users are able to jump from site to site with greater speed, but also tend to bounce from sites quicker than before. With so much information available online, users are confronted with almost too much information. They have also become less patient, tending to click away from a site if it takes more than a handful of seconds to load. As a result, the average human attention span has dropped over the last decade from 12 seconds to 8. This means that the average human now has a shorter attention span than a goldfish.

With so much to gain, one would think that people would be quick to put aside their devices and have more genuine interactions, but it often proves difficult. So how does one detox from social media? It depends on the individual.

How to Detox from Social Media

In some cases, one can simply develop new habits. For example, when going to bed at night, leave your smartphone in another room to avoid the temptation to go online or check up on statuses. When at work, if you are in an important meeting, you can put your phone on airplane mode or perhaps leave it at your desk. The same can be done when having dinner with someone or any time when a greater level of focus is desired.

In more extreme cases, a full-blown detox may be necessary, in which case you might try the following:

  1. Deactivate Your Accounts. This is one way to show others and yourself that you are serious about your detox. It will keep you from being able to take a “quick peek” or easily engage anyone during your break.
  2. Uninstall Your Social Media Apps. This is another strong step but doing so will keep you from receiving the constant notices that serve a significant role in social media addiction. Like above, it also keeps you from being able to check in any time you are feeling bored or needing a social media “fix.”
  3. Replace Social Media with Other Activities. Cutting out addiction by itself is not enough. You need to replace it with something. Here is an opportunity to learn something new or pick up old hobbies that have been neglected.

Social media has its place and many excellent uses, but it is also highly addictive and can easily eat away at the time best spent on other pursuits. By taking a break from technology and social media, you will find yourself in better health, physically and mentally, and that translates into further benefits for your workplace.

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