top of page

Social Media Detox: Easy Ways Reclaim Your Sanity (& Your Time)

Practical Tips to Break Free From The Scroll

If you're feeling overwhelmed by endless scrolling, comparing yourself to others, and struggling to break free from the addictive pull of social media, you’re not alone. This episode is all about helping you break free of the FOMO and mindless scrolling.

It's more about not beating yourself up about your screen time and being intentional about how you use your devices. —Caitlin Kindred
social media detox, social media cleanse, stop scrolling


Caitlin is a content marketer who spends WAY too much time on social media. Recently, she’s developed a need to manage her own excessive screen time to improve her mental health.

With a background in psychology and a knack for practical strategies, Caitlin brings a unique perspective to the conversation on digital detox and reducing screen time. Her down-to-earth approach and relatable insights make her a valuable resource for those looking to start a social media detox or simply strike a healthier balance with their digital habits. And Jenny? She provides color and reliability.

Key Takeaways From This Episode

This episode helps you

  • Understand the impact of social media on adult mental well-being.

  • Effectively manage screen time for a healthier lifestyle.

  • Conquer FOMO and break free from social media addiction.


The Impact of Social Media on Adults

Positive aspects of social media

Of course, there are positives to social media. You can communicate and stay up to date with family and friends around the world. Many people who live in remote areas or are otherwise isolated can find new friends and communities. Other benefits include

  • Networking with other people who share similar interests or ambitions.

  • Seeking or offering emotional support during tough times

  • Discovering valid (!) sources of valuable information and learning.

Social media platforms are designed to be addictive and keep users engaged.

That’s how they make money (hellooooooo, annoying ads)!

“But, much like a gambling compulsion or an addiction to nicotine, alcohol, or drugs, social media use can create psychological cravings. When you receive a like, a share, or a favorable reaction to a post, it can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain, the same ‘reward’ chemical that follows winning on a slot machine, taking a bite of chocolate, or lighting up a cigarette, for example. The more you’re rewarded, the more time you want to spend on social media, even if it becomes detrimental to other aspects of your life.”

Negative aspects of social media: 

Inadequacy about your own life—your appearance, your home, your kids, etc.— b/c of social comparisons and unrealistic expectations. Yes, we KNOW that social media images are manipulated, but that doesn’t mean they don’t impact you! 

And don't forget about FOMO: the fear of being left out of social experiences can make you feel more isolated and trigger self-esteem and anxiety issues. In fact, a study at UPenn actually found that high usage of SM apps can make you feel MORE isolated!

Signs that your social media use is messing with your mental health

  • Spending more time on social than with the 3-dimensional people

  • Comparing yourself to the people in the accounts you follow on social

  • Being distracted while working/doing other tasks

  • Doing risky/dumb things to get more attention/engagement on social

  • Sleep problems

  • Worsening symptoms of anxiety/depression

  • No time to self-reflect, meaning you don’t stop to think about YOUR feelings, form YOUR own opinions, and examine YOUR behaviors

Practical Tips for Managing Your FOMO

  1. Practice gratitude: Focus on the positive aspects of your own life, and things and people you’d miss if they were suddenly absent from your life. An idea from If you’re more prone to venting or negative posts, you can even express your gratitude on social media—although you may benefit more from private reflection that isn’t subject to the scrutiny of others. 

  2. Be mindful of who you follow: Use that brilliant algorithm to curate your feed with inspiring and authentic content.

  3. Take social media breaks: Schedule times to disconnect and detox. Better yet, schedule time to use social media (more on that later!).

  4. Engage in real-life activities—you know, in the 3D world: Pursue hobbies and spend time with loved ones.

Strategies for Healthy Screen Time

That same study at UPenn found that “reducing social media use to 30 minutes a day resulted in a significant reduction in levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep problems, and FOMO.”

But if that’s just not realistic for you and your upcoming social media cleanse, the same study found that being more mindful of your social media use positively affects your focus and mood.

For example, many of us access social media purely out of habit or to kill time. Next time that happens, ask yourself why you’re logging on.

If you’re accessing social media to find specific information, check on a friend who’s been ill, or share new photos of your kids with family, for example, your experience is likely to be very different than if you’re logging on simply because you’re bored, you want to see how many likes you got from a previous post, or to check if you’re missing out on something.

Tips for a social media detox

  • Set time limits for social media usage. Your iPhone can help you do this. You just have to stick with it! 

  • Utilize phone apps to track and limit screen time.

  • One Sec: an app makes you take a deep breath before you can open and access the apps on your phone, good for pulling you out of the auto-scroll!

  • If you want, consider removing social media apps from your phone so you can only check them from your tablet or computer. If this sounds like too drastic a step, try removing one social media app at a time to see how much you really miss it.

  • Turn off notifications to avoid constant distractions.

  • Use various focus modes to customize which notifications can come through. 

  • If the red badges make you compulsively check your phone, turn them off

  • Schedule social media check-ins instead of constant browsing. Physically put this time on your calendar, set an alarm for it, and use it for social media scrolling. You can set aside 30 minutes if you want, or break it up however you’d like. 

  • Create phone-free zones in your home (bedrooms, dinner table).

  • Prioritize sleep and relaxation over late-night scrolling. (This one can be really hard for parents who need to disassociate for a little while. This is why I suggest giving yourself this time on your calendar and then turning it off when you’re done!)

Master Your Screen Time Management

Don’t beat yourself up about your screen time. Instead, be mindful and intentional about how you use your devices. —Caitlin

Effective screen time management has to be a part of your mental well-being in the digital age. Set boundaries and implement strategies to reduce screen distractions and focus on your real-life connections. Practicing mindfulness and scheduling designated screen time can help create a healthier balance.

Conquering FOMO and addiction

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is real. And it goes hand-in-hand with your other addictive behaviors related to social media. Recognizing the negative impact of excessive screen time and learning to manage any cravings for validation are key steps in conquering these challenges. Building resilience and focusing on real-world experiences can help combat FOMO and addiction.

Resources for this episode


bottom of page