Why You Should Do a Smartphone Detox this Holiday Season

Halloween has come and gone—along with your obsessive Instagram scrolling to see who had the cleverest costumes. And let’s be honest, your social media use will probably only intensify this holiday season as you browse through endless posts about holiday travels, gifts, engagements, and parties. Normally, about 50% of women spend over one full day online each week, but my guess is that number goes up this time of year with holiday social media use. (Gotta Snapchat your squad in all of your new holiday party dresses, right?)

With evidence showing that excessive Facebook use can result in jealousy and even depression, and move evidence suggesting social media can make us feel inadequate, unattractive, and even lonely—now is as good of a time as ever for trying out a smartphone detox.

Here are our top three reasons why you should consider a smartphone detox this holiday season:

  1. You’ll have better memories. Ever find yourself recording videos and taking Snapchat photos at a concert? Are you looking through the lens of your smartphone camera most of the time rather than looking directly at the stage? As hard as it is, try putting that phone in your pocket and focus on viewing the experience through your own eyes rather than an Instagram filter. Research shows you’ll even have better memories of the experience sans social media. Who are all those Snapchats even for anyway?
  2. You’ll resist tendencies of addiction. Ever find it difficult to turn off your phone or resist checking your new Instagram likes? Research shows “Each time we receive a new message or alert, our brains get a hit of dopamine—the novelty is addictive.” So you’re not imagining it; you really might be addicted to your smartphone.
  3. You’ll up your politeness game. Are you the friend who needs her phone on the table at all times when you’re grabbing dinner with friends? Gotta respond to every. single. text. right away, even during meetings? Are you the one everyone in the movie theater glares at when you try and sneak a peek at your texts? (You’re not being sneaky, btw.) Then it’s probably time you learn how to distance yourself from your smartphone.

And here are a few dozen more reasons worth starting that digital detox. However, while attempting a full-fledged digital detox is great, try first limiting your smartphone use. This is my favorite 7-day smartphone detox plan. What I like best about it is that it’s gradual. From unfollowing people you don’t really know to stopping your push notifications to leaving your phone home while you go to dinner with friends—a gradual detox plan lets you re-learn life without constant social media, email, and text alerts.

If you’re still not convinced you’re ready to put down your smartphone, spend some time reading through this Health.com writer’s lessons from her digital detox. Her top lesson?: “I’m not nearly as dependent on my devices as I thought I was.” You might think you don’t have a choice, but you do. It’s a matter of self-reflection and willpower. If I can do it, anyone can. (I think I spent most of Halloween Snapchatting than actually talking to my friends. Yikes.)

So before you open up Snapchat to send photos of your fancy Christmas tree, holiday party prep, or new holiday dress options—think about your rationale behind wanting everyone to see your super fun holiday moments. I know, I know. It sounds cliché, but seriously try resisting the social media posts and instead focus on really enjoying and soaking in your time with friends and family through your own eyes instead of your smartphone camera lens. Your loved ones will thank you—and your memory will too.

Sarah Pike

Sarah Pike has her BA in Communication and her MA in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication. She has experience in teaching, PR, marketing, and politics. When she's not teaching or writing, she's probably binge-watching RomComs, volunteering, or planning her next vacation. She also enjoys following far too many celebrities than she should on Instagram.

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