How To Detox Your Social Media Feeds For A More Successful New Year

By Meghan Dillon
·  4 min read
shutterstock 1089491075 (1)

January is all about starting fresh and trying to build healthy habits and make them last. This applies to things like diet and exercise, but it also applies to your social media diet.

Like it or not, social media plays a big part in our lives. It’s how many of us keep in touch with friends and learn about current events, but it can also be a cesspool of negativity. From divisive political accounts to influencers you can’t help but negatively compare yourself to, it’s a good idea to detox your feed at least once a year. Here’s how.

Set Boundaries around Social Media Use

Most of us spend more time than we should on social media and know we should cut back, but simply don’t know how. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to set boundaries around social media. This could look like times or places where social media is off-limits. Many of us look at it first thing in the morning or right before we go to bed, making it smart to not allow yourself to go on social media until an hour after you wake up and set a cutoff time at night (ideally at least an hour before you go to bed). Another iteration might be no scrolling while you’re in bed. Or at the table. Or when riding in the car.

Another boundary you can set around social media is how long you use each platform. It can be tricky to keep track of your time on social media, but iPhones (and Androids) have a built-in Screen Time feature where you can set a time limit for a category of apps or a specific app.

time-s up

I think one of the best ways to limit time on social media is to engage in activities that don’t require social media or internet access. Establish a phone-free room in your home where you can read, journal, or spend time with your family and friends. Limiting social media will get easier when you start to enjoy things away from it.

Unfollow or Mute Accounts That Aren’t Good for You

Whether it’s a divisive news account, someone you compare yourself to (particularly those that affect your body image or self-esteem), or an influencer you used to like who has shifted into producing content that you dislike or makes you anxious, make a list of accounts you follow that you no longer enjoy. 

After you make this list, divide the list into “unfollow” and “mute.” Unfollow accounts that you don’t see yourself coming back to, and mute accounts you can see yourself coming back to, particularly accounts that are of people you know. We’ve all had to mute a family member who gets a little too political until something passes; you can disengage temporarily instead of completely cutting someone off. Will it take time to go through and decide whether or not to unfollow or mute accounts? Probably, but it’s worth it for your mental health.


Take Note or Journal How You Feel While Using Social Media

Though setting boundaries around social media is a good start, it won’t work unless you keep track of how you feel while using social media. Are you getting on social media to avoid boredom or some other uncomfortable, negative emotion? Are you looking for a dopamine hit? Do you enjoy your time on social media? How do you feel when you close the app? Take note of your motivations and emotions and write about them in your journal (I recommend journaling every day for mindfulness) or talk about it with your therapist. If you notice negative patterns, it’s probably a good time to think about the root causes and make some changes. If you notice progress, you can revisit unmuting certain accounts or simply continue your current social media habits.

im journaling some feelings

Closing Thoughts

While it can be tempting to delete all of your social media accounts, it’s possible to set boundaries around social media and learn to use it healthily. From setting time limits to knowing when to hit the unfollow or mute button, these hacks will help improve your relationship with social media.

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