Taking a Break from Social Media is Good for You

Results of a study that asked participants to take a week-long break from social media find positive effects on wellbeing, depression, and anxiety. This should come as no surprise to anyone on social media.

A team of researchers from the University of Bath (UK) evaluated the mental health impacts of a week-long social media hiatus. For some research participants, this meant freeing up roughly nine hours of their week that would otherwise have been spent browsing through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok.

Their results — published on Friday, May 6th, 2022 in the US journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking — suggest that just one week off social media improved individuals’ overall level of well-being, as well as reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

A full week was awesome, but fully removing oneself from social media was better. Digital Minimalism and Deep Work author Cal Newport, pointed out the full abstention” benefit.

The researchers further found that they could obtain smaller, but still significant improvements in depression and anxiety by having users simply reduce the time they spend on Twitter and TikTok. The biggest effects, however, came from full abstention.

I’m pretty minimally engaged with social media these days. I still have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but I don’t really post all that much—especially to Facebook and Instagram. I do have a pretty bad habit of scrolling through Instagram Reels and that most likely needs to be curtailed.

Honestly, I should just stop and do practically anything else.

May 16, 2022