Unplugging for Wellness: The Healing Power of Social Media Detox

A few years ago, months after I was diagnosed with psoriatic disease, I discovered that social media could be used as a platform for advocacies and an avenue to vent out my frustration about my illness. At first, I found the comfort and support that I’ve been longing for.

I was connected with hundreds, if not thousands, of people who shared the same illness and have different stories to tell. I learned so much.

Stress management is so important.

Technically, I felt validated. I felt seen. I felt heard. And most importantly, I realized that in my own little way, through my stories and my art, I would be able to make a lasting impact to other chronic illness sufferers as well. After gaining a couple of thousand followers, I slowly began feeling drained and tired.

Overexposure and being constantly active in the chronic illness community can be somewhat tiring and emotionally draining. Although it provides valuable support, continuously reliving and discussing triggering and challenging experiences frequently evokes strong emotions, which eventually lead to fatigue and exhaustion.

Let's talk why it's important to unplug!

I decided to temporarily quit social media, refrain from making content and illustrations, and stop making illness-related articles.

Taking a break from social media provided a sense of relief and allowed me to focus on self-care and relaxation, which positively made an impact on my overall well-being. I was able to relax, disconnect, and recharge, therefore reducing the stress associated with being constantly connected. Here's how.

Letting go of the habit of comparison.

True enough, “comparison is the thief of joy.” My constant exposure to social media has greatly contributed to feelings of comparison, which started not to benefit my mental health. I noticed myself comparing myself to others in terms of their physical appearance, their lifestyle, and their recovery.

By staying offline, I was able to allow to distance myself from the pressure of comparing my situation to others and become more focused on my own healing journey.

I was able to focus more on the things that matter

During my social media detox, I found myself steering away from the things I used to enjoy and the things I used to be so passionate about. Constant exposure to social media for a few years fixated my eyes on my illness and recovery, and I started taking my own personal life for granted.

I realized that actively engaging in social media constantly reminded me that I was sick, which took a toll on my psychological well-being. Stepping away redirected my attention toward things that bring me genuine joy.

I was able to set boundaries.

Being in constant communication with fellow psoriasis and chronic illness sufferers eventually disrupted the balance between my online and offline It has temporarily blurred the lines between my personal and public life, leading to a loss of boundaries.

By establishing boundaries, I was able to regulate the amount of emotional energy that I invest in the chronic illness community whilst ensuring that I have enough reserves to take care of my own well-being.

Increased meaningful real-life connections.

During the height of my advocacy, I found myself relying more on virtual interactions with people I do not personally know whilst further shying away and refusing to open up to my closest friends and loved ones.

My social media detox encouraged me to revisit the genuine connections that have constantly provided a strong support system, which has helped me establish more meaningful relationships with those around me.

Lessened amplification of validation-seeking behaviors.

The feeling of getting a high social media engagement with the content I used to post through likes, comments, and shares has constantly given me a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Eventually, this became an indicator to measure my value and my self-worth.

I learned how such a need for external validation and approval overshadowed the genuine enjoyment of life experiences.

Practicing mindfulness in social media.

What I have learned from all of this is how to take control of my social media experience by curating my feed to include content that I find helpful, encouraging, and inspirational, those that do not trigger negative emotions, but rather, those that cultivate positive energy.

Through the process of social media detox, I have gained a deeper understanding of who I am, what I value, and the direction I want to take in my recovery and beyond. This strengthened sense of self forms a solid foundation for personal growth, self-acceptance, and a more fulfilling journey of healing and recovery.

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