5 Reasons Why You Should Take A Social Media Break FEB.09.2021WELLNESS
Tiffany Shlain founded the Webby Awards in appreciation of technology. But the author and filmmaker has also made it a life mission to point out the pitfalls of endless scrolling. In her book 24/6, she gets real about how her family’s 11-year-strong technology Shabbat, a 24-hour period inspired by the Jewish Sabbath, from Friday evening to Saturday evening, when screens are off the table. “It keeps getting better, and I keep seeing the different ways it makes my life better, and my brain better, and my soul,” Shlain says. Want in? Read on for five ways a social media detox can help you live better.
Removing the pings, dings, and other alerts from the equation could help us pay attention to what’s in front of us. “We’re reading more now than ever, but we’re skim reading,” Shlain says, noting she prints off articles and recipes to consume during her tech Shabbat. “I read very differently on Saturday and on Friday night than I do during the week. It’s harder for me to stay focused on a book during the week because inevitably there’ll be something in the book that will make me think of something. And then I go on the phone.”
There’s no doubt that many social media platforms boast beautiful, inspiring images, but we have our own great thoughts and ideas within. For many creative types, like Shlain, it’s the introspective moments in which they thrive. “I’m a big journal writer, and I know that all of my best ideas in the last 11 years have happened on Saturday. They happen when I’m not getting new input, but I’m processing the input that’s already been there,” she says.
You’re not alone if you sometimes feel like everyone is having more fun than you are. But often it’s just a facade—a joie de vivre filter. “I always feel like when I’m online, I can never get enough. I can’t get enough news headlines. I can’t get enough email. I want those boots in that ad,” Shlain says. “And this fascinating thing happens when I turn the screens off on Friday night. It’s such a quick switch, but I immediately stop being hungry, and I switch into this mode of appreciation and being grateful for what’s right in front of me.”
Sometimes tech distractions are a good thing—helping us get out of our heads. But in excess, that method of escapism could be the root of the problem. “You don’t realize how much you’re missing when you’re looking down all the time,” Shlain says, noting that going for a walk sans phone is one way to enjoy nature. Instead of waking up and checking her phone, Shlain spends a few minutes writing in a journal.
“Doomscrolling” and “doomsurfing” have entered our vernacular during the pandemic, as we can’t seem to look away from the bad news. But setting screens aside is one way to create a buffer between you and the dumpster fire. “It’s been such a stressful period that every week I feel like this complete self-protective space around me that allows me to think and connect and recharge in this really powerful way,” Shlain says, of her tech Shabbat. She notes a profound statement her daughter made that stopped her in her tracks: “No one at the end of their life is going to wish they scrolled more.”