DIGITAL DETOX DAY- How does social media affect us? Tips and advice of how to deal with social media
Updated: Sep 5, 2020
What is digital detox day?
Digital Detox Day will take place all over the world on 5th September and it will be a day in which you switch off from social media and allow yourself to reevaluate your relationship with your devices and reconnect with the present. Digital Detox Day raises awareness about the impact that social media is having on our mental health negatively, and aims to helps people to form healthier relationships with their social media and devices. The campaign is a collaboration between LUSH, Zoe Sugg (founder of Zoella), and mental health organisation #IAMWHOLE (founded by Jordan Stephens).
Together, LUSH and Zoe Sugg have created a limited edition bath bomb (called 'IRL') in which
all profits will be going into a one off fund for grants for small groups that work with mental health. Personally, I think this is a much more beneficial use of the campaign as it will directly benefit those dealing with mental health. My bath bomb is due to arrive tomorrow and I can't wait (I'd hoped it would have come in time for this blog post but COVID/ busy online ordering had other plans).
I have watched Zoe Sugg (Zoella) on Youtube since I was honestly about 14 I'd say (and I still do now, god I bloody love her vlogs especially the ones with Mark!!) and as ive mentioned before on my page she is one of my biggest inspirations one of the reasons being how openly she talks about her experience with mental health and anxiety. Seeing that someone influential to me was going through what I
was going through made me feel so much calmer and normal. Seeing all that Zoe has achieved whilst dealing with mental health just shows that it does not define you, so you shouldn't even let it try.
Does social media only have negative contributes to our lives?
Definitely not and i'm not going to sit here and pretend it does and this campaign isn't about dragging social media but allowing people to reevaluate their use of it and recognise the impact that it is having on their life. Social media allows a platform for people such as me to have the ability to start their own business and get international exposure. Without social media, I wouldn't have able to get the commissions that I do, receive the custom I do and sell prints internationally. Social media is almost essential for me to ignite my world of illustration and for me to have that privilege, it is very beneficial for my mental health in a number of ways as for me my art is my escape and being able to share that with people and have them relate to what goes off in my head is beyond me. My work is all about empowerment and in that I mention mental health a lot and I suffer with such as anxiety myself and just being able to create posts that allow people to know that dealing with their mental health is okay and that they are never alone, although it may feel that way.
Also, social media platforms allow us at such an ease to check up on our friends or even to check in with people we might not necessarily speak much to in person and I think that is amazing. I am such an introvert and I find social situations particularly around speaking about my mental health very difficult and I will easily brush it off with a 'yeah I'm fine' to avoid what I must believe is some kind of impending doom of talking about myself. Therefore, I am so much more likely to engage in these types of conversations over my device which you might think isn't the best but its what works for me and if you can find anything that works and allows you to express your mental health and confide in someone you trust about it then I urge you to do it, it will take so much weight off your shoulders. Writing down how you're feeling even if its just in a diary or on your mobile notes is so empowering.
However, I think we all can say we recognise that social media is definitely having an impact on all of us, or at least I can. I have had first-hand experience watching someone I love become a victim of cyberbullying and it is because of our devices that this type of bullying is even around. The problem with this being it has become too easy to create fake accounts, too easy to post a negative comment or start a negative thread about someone and it has definitely if not brought 'cancel culture' into our worlds, it has most definitely helped. Unfortunately, there is nothing as of yet set in place to ever prepare you for negative backlash on social media at this magnitude and it is a place that can very quickly allow one to feel very vulnerable can become a very lonely, intimidating space despite there are certain safeguarding policies around to prevent this, it still happens daily. Just a reminder to please report any harassment/bullying/negativity that you witness on social media as you have no idea of its impact and PLEASE never drag someone down wether it be a celebrity or not, they still read the comments wether you think it or not. I personally don't understand it and as the saying goes, if you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything.
Another negative aspect of social media that I have actually discussed in my designs is false beauty standards. This comes in so many forms such as face altering filters that once we use we can't go without to the point we begin to dislike our natural faces and often leads to the 'need' of digitally editing your photos to feed into these false expectations. This is a part of social media that saddens me so much as I have definitely felt the effects of it myself and has genuinely lead me to a very insecure place with my body as I would constantly compare myself to these perfect, toned models that I saw on social media. As I said in my illustration post on instagram about the body shaming I had seen online of a woman unknowingly photographed in a natural environment as opposed to a photoshoot in a well lit studio :
'How people are supposed to love themselves in a society that body shames a girl for not having a toned stomach and perked ass on a photo she had no idea was being taken. When all we have are instagram models being glorified on our feeds while the natural body is ridiculed and deemed ‘disgusting’, how do we expect people to not be absolutely filled with insecurities? I can’t believe we need to actually normalise… the normal??'
The biggest problem I find with this false perception of beauty on social media is that although the mature mind can teach itself that these are in fact a facade and can see past that, the younger mind cannot and social media exposes the younger, impressionable generation to such as this. This is not the lesson we want to be giving to young people, we can't allow them to grow in a world where natural beauty in all shapes and sizes is deemed shameful or how do we ever expect them to feel content with their natural self. In a world where the only self validation they get on social media is purely based on their appearance in relation to this false standard. Social platforms are so easily accessible and easily allow access to explicit songs and as of recently have made these explicit songs into dance trends. There's just something about watching underage girls/boys innocently dancing to such vulgar, over sexualising songs that just doesn't sit right with me one bit.
We have become so invested in social media that wether you know it or not, it probably has effected you both positively and negatively in a way either discussed or many others as the list goes on and on but we'll be here forever. However the biggest indicator that its having an impact on us is the variety of new mental health concerns that weren't around before social media or have definitely seen an increase due to the stresses of social media. We have gotten to a point where we actually don't know HOW to switch off as many of us don't know anything different but to be attached to our devices, constantly checking our social medias and checking for notifications. That is why this Digital Detox Day is so important as we need a day to reevaluate, reconnect with those around us and live in the now. We NEED a breather, we need to switch off.
How do I 'switch off'?
Switching off from social media for digital detox day can go as far as you want to take it, you can log out of your apps, delete them, turn your phone notifications off in settings or literally turn your whole phone off. Personally, I think I will just either delete the apps or turn the notifications off for them. Use the 5th September to reevaluate your use of social media and think how it's impacting you, maybe make some notes and think about how YOU can improve your use of it. So what can you do instead for that whole day?
* Have a movie day, get your comfiest pjs out and take a well deserved rest. I mean it is a Saturday at the end of the day.
* Take that day to plan something exciting, plan a weekend break with the people you love
* Check up on your family and friends. Simply spend the day with the people you love, talk to them and appreciate their company, listen to them and ask them how they're doing
* Have a self care day and do whatever you believe to be 'self care' wether that be a pamper day with face masks and bubble baths (with the 'IRL' bath bomb from LUSH) or just something you love
* Get the paints out! If being creative is something you love then dedicate the whole day to it
* Simply, do a task you've been avoiding or that you often find yourself lacking motivation for and end up scrolling social media whilst doing
* Get your walking boots on and go for an adventure to clear your mind either with the people you love or alone (be responsible and safe though!)
* Do some baking or cook yourself a gourmet meal. Why don't you even bake something for someone else and go deliver it to show them you care
* Do some meditation or yoga in the morning
* Read your favourite book or a book you've always wanted to read but never had time to
* Go out for coffee or even a cocktail if you're feeling fancy
Wether you do something productive with your day or allow yourself a day of rest, just make sure you switch off from the world of social media. I hope this post will help you rethink how you use your social media. Think about what impact social media is having on you and what you'd like to do about it.
Also, make sure to head over to Zoe Suggs instagram here and check out some of her video discussions surrounding digital detox day such as anxiety which she discusses with her therapist, cyberbullying and digital boundaries. Personally, I've been absolutely loving them especially the one on body image.
If you take anything from this please let it be -
*don't leave negative comments on peoples posts even if you feel they won't see them, I'm sure you wouldn't say it to their face or like it the other way round
*think about what you're posting or saying to others, you never know what someone is going through
*set yourself some Digital boundaries. Boundaries are so important in life for mental health, know your limits and triggers. Know that you don't always have to be available for people if you don't feel ready although your social media status might say otherwise. Be aware of when social media is starting to mentally be too much for you and know when to SWITCH OFF.
* (for anyone struggling with their mental health know that help is always out there, don't keep things bottled up. My messages are ALWAYS open for a chat for anyone who needs. Don't be afraid of reaching out. Head to #IAMWHOLE's amazing resources https://www.whole.org.uk/find-help/)