Gemma Styles | Contributing writer | Saturday, 19 November 2016

Gemma Styles: Is Now The Perfect Time To Have A Digital Detox?

Gemma Styles: Is Now The Perfect Time To Have A Digital Detox?

The Debrief: Is the pre-Christmas period the perfect time to make like Kendall Jenner and take a temporary break from social media?

Photo by Matilda Hill-Jenkins

By 'eck it's cold. (Big up the northern masses.) At this time of year, most of us are, as if by nature or a magnet, drawn towards fireplaces and warming quantities of Christmassy spirits. Like a bear digging it's mountain cave in which to hibernate for the winter - yes I watched Planet Earth II on Sunday - for our own survival and wellbeing we reach for the mulled wine, Baileys etc. and cosy up like our lives depend on it. A time of friends, family and food. Hardly the time of year to be talking about a detox... but I'm going to anyway, so buckle up, friends. 

Luckily this detox involves no abstinence from gluttony - it's all about spending less time on social media and more time dealing with your real life. So maybe it's the perfect time of year after all. We're talking about a digital detox this week after Kendall Jenner decided she needed a break from it all and deleted her Instagram. There was speculation that she may have done this after being trolled about her Vogue Italia cover (apparently the ballet was incorrect - please consult a ballerina for more information) but in a refreshing change of events, she says it has nothing to do with online abuse.

Talking to Ellen Degeneres in an interview, the eldest Jenner sister explained that she just needed a break, feeling that she was spending too much of her time online. She explained: ‘I wanted a bit of a break. I'm always on [Instagram]. I would wake up in the morning and I would look at it first thing. And go to bed and it was the last thing I would look at. I feel like I was a little dependent on it.’

Fair enough, I think. Calling it a ‘detox,’ as Kendall did in the interview, suggests that there's something toxic about social media that can get on top of us. While it doesn't necessarily have to be a toxic environment, it can feel like that sometimes, and if it's all getting too much and taking over then a break might be a great idea. Personally I get stressed out by the fact that I 'should' post on Instagram more than I do - but honestly a lot of the time I'm just ticking along living my life, you know, without any make up on and painting skirting boards wearing sweatpants. (I should clarify this isn't a regular activity but I recently moved house and still all I can think about is paint. Anyway.) 

Now that we're onto the more fun bits like bemusing the cat with flat pack furniture, back off to Instagram I go. Maybe I've already had my detox in the run up to the Christmas season! I certainly understand when it all just feels too much. 

If you fancy a detox then it doesn't have to be as extreme as deleting accounts - although as long as you log back in within about a month then they shouldn't go anywhere - you could delete the app from your phone (like Ms Jenner did with Twitter by the way) or if you have more self restraint than us regular humans then just, you know, stop going on them for a bit. Part of the social media detox is taking the pressure off yourself, so don't overthink it or make a rigid plan, just feel out how you want to step back for the time being.

Maybe you'll love it and never want to go back on. Maybe the extra free time will allow you to realise it wasn't social media stressing you out at all and gain a bit of perspective on what's actually up. Either way, I'm seeing November as a count-down to the count-down to Christmas; a break now will have us raring to go once all the pubs start serving the mulled bevvies. Besides, pre-Christmas social media is all adverts anyway.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in: 

Gemma Styles: The Rise Of The Instagram Vegans 

3 Heroric Friends Saved A Woman From Date Rape 

Gemma Styles: Are We Socially Shaming Ourselves Into Self Improvement

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