“How much is too much?” is a pressing concern for social media enthusiasts. You start scrolling your Instagram feed to check what your followers are up to but end up spending hours without any track of time.
According to statistics, Americans clock in nearly 2 hours and 14 minutes per day on social media. While the number is 13 minutes less than the average global user, it is still a disconcerting issue.
Imagine how damaging a few hours of screen time daily can be for your physical health and mental well-being. The risk is higher for children and teens as they spend even more time on social media.
A Pew Research Center survey notes that 64% of Americans believe that social media causes profound harm. Besides hurting your eyes and posture, it can cause a decline in mental health.
Frequent breaks can be saviors, with research confirming the stress-relieving benefits of social networking abstinence. Not surprisingly, digital detox is a common practice among Americans who value self-care and mental health.
If you are still contemplating a social media sabbatical, here are a few signs you should do it sooner rather than later:
Sign #1: You Experience Constant Stress and Anxiety
Social media is no longer a healthy way to connect with friends and family. For many users, it is a platform to compare themselves to influencers and celebrities or judge others. Multiple studies link heavy social media with an increased risk for anxiety, loneliness, depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts.
The growing prevalence of Instagram lawsuit cases in the US indicates how serious the problem is. Teens, adolescents, and young women suffering from mental health issues due to Instagram and Facebook (Meta) can claim compensation from these platforms, just like any other personal injury claim.
TorHoerman Law lists the negative effects that entitle victims to file a lawsuit, from low self-esteem to social anxiety, eating disorders, sleep problems, mood disorders, and emotional scars. Early signs of these problems also mean that you should take a break from social media scrolling.
Sign #2: You Deal With FOMO
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) isn’t just a hypothetical state of mind. According to studies, FOMO is closely linked with problematic social media usage. The more you worry about missing out on the latest updates, the longer you scroll content on your favorite platform. Before you know it, you may be addicted to the habit.
If you feel left out often, it may actually be time to stop scrolling and start introspecting. There is more to know in the world around you instead of Instagram and Facebook. Consider going out, meeting friends, or spending alone time to regain control over your emotions.
Sign #3: You are Neglecting Relationships
When you spend too much time with online followers and friends, you often do it at the cost of hurting real relationships. Do you feel your relationship with your partner is suffering due to excessive social media use? Are you setting a bad example for your kids? Are you short of time for your parents, friends, and siblings?
Watch out for these red flags because they indicate a dire need for a break. Focus on people who matter to you. The last thing you want is to have hundreds of online friends and followers but be alone in your family or social circles.
Sign #4: Your Work Productivity Levels are Dropping
Studies cite that social media usage can greatly reduce one’s attention plan. Eventually, it can affect your efficiency and productivity at work. From a business perspective, unrestricted use of these platforms can lead to a loss of 9.5% productivity of the employees on a daily basis. Many employers, therefore, restrict employees from scrolling during work hours.
Whether you work for an employer, run a business, or operate as a freelancer, don’t let social media put a dent in your productivity. Watch out for early indications, and limit your usage before it affects your work performance and career.
Sign #5: You Don’t Enjoy Social Media Anymore
Does checking your friends’ and followers’ profiles make you uncomfortable? Do you freak out if your internet is down? Does browsing through your timeline seem like an obligation? These signs indicate that you don’t enjoy social media anymore.
Consider an extended sabbatical rather than a small break. A digital detox can do wonders for your health and refresh your perspective. You will likely restart your journey with a more balanced approach when you rejoin after a break.
Taking a social media break can be an opportunity to disconnect from a compulsive obsession and reconnect with yourself and your loved ones. You should watch out for these signs and prioritize your mental health with time off your screen and online followers. Start again when you are ready and committed to taking it slow and easy.