The mental health benefits of taking a break from social media

Taryn Davies
Published: May 11, 2017

There are an estimated 2.3 billion social media users globally, it's undeniable that it plays such a huge role in our lives, both personally and professionally. But has our need to keep people updated on our every move or thought gone too far?

This Mental Health Awareness Week we spoke to Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA PPP healthcare about the benefits our mental wellbeing can experience once we take a break from social media.

Of course, it should be noted that a benefit of social media might, however, include reducing the feeling of loneliness and isolation, as you can connect to people all over the world using it. But is this a 'false reality'?

It's all too important that we remind ourselves that the pictures, videos and Tweets or statuses are carefully chosen and uploaded, it's not the whole picture of someone's life, just a moment that they'd prefer to share.

In fact, a recent study from the University of Houston in Texas revealed that social media is contributing to depression due to users comparing themselves to others.

Social interaction

Only interacting through social media can often lead to a lonely and isolating life, having that instant rewarding effect from communicating online can also make it difficult to switch off from.

Instead of switching off from all forms of social interaction, take a break from social media and meet people in person instead. There are big benefits to be had from doing this.


Refresh your mental health by taking a break from social media

One lady, in particular, reaps the rewards from this, a director of a Marketing company, she finds that constantly being online isn't the best thing for her health, and she often takes a break for her own mental health.

She explains that she sees being out of the country as the perfect excuse to disconnect from social media, even emails and the internet as a whole.


How to take a social media 'holiday'

If you’re considering taking a break from social media, it's important to do the following.

Suspend accounts 

Don't let the temptation of checking notifications overwhelm you, instead, suspend your accounts for a week to really immerse yourself into the break.

Get social 

Meet your friends and family face to face instead, you'll benefit from the interaction, and you might be surprised at how much free time you actually have when you're not spending hours scrolling and scrolling.

Reap the benefits of a renewed focus

We're all guilty of not giving things our full attention when we're busy looking at social media. Watch a film, enjoy a conversation or take a walk without the disctration of social media.

Invest in an alarm clock 

Remove the temptation of checking your phone first thing by having a separate alarm clock, rather than using the one on your phone.

Make adjustments 

If a straight up ban on social media leaves you in a cold sweat, why not try using an app that limits the time you spend doing certain things on your phone, or blocks it at certain times. That endless refreshing can be put to an end then.