Taking A Digital Detox

Tom and Myspace entered our lives in 2003, and almost overnight, we changed. We had more to check than voicemails, more to answer than calls, more to read than T9 texts. At first, it was just the Myspace page. Then it was walls, feeds, posts, and tweets (and retweets). Social media, impersonal interpersonal communications, cyber connections—it’s all altered humanity and changed the way we interact with others.

It’s the times that I don’t care one way or another about what’s happening online that I’m the happiest.

Sometimes, I’m overwhelmed by the work that needs to be done on social. Other times, I’m underwhelmed with how little I have going on for me on Instagram. But it’s the times that I don’t care one way or another about what’s happening online that I’m the happiest. When I’m feeling anything but great about my interactions on the platform, I know it’s time for me to put down my devices and reconnect with myself IRL. Pilates, yoga, reading, “fashion shows” (otherwise known as seeing what kinds of outfits I can put together with my clean laundry), and tea with a close friend are my favorite ways of doing so. I also take time to remember that, online, what we see is hardly ever what we get.

But I’m not the only one who feels worn down by social media’s shenanigans. And the how, why, when, and what of being dragged through a hedge backward by our apps is different for everyone—even influencers. So I asked several how they deal with being run down by their various platforms, and I was happy to learn that I am absolutely not dealing with this alone.

If you’re feeling or have dealt with social media anxiety, take a few moments to hear what these wellness and self-love influencers of the digital age have to say.

Lalah Delia | @lalahdelia
Founder, Vibrate Higher Daily

How do you identify social media burnout?
Social media burnout can fluctuate. Sometimes, I have nothing new, relevant, or creative to add. Sometimes, my mind and passion aren’t in it as usual. [It’s not uncommon that burnout can cause others to feel] complete exhaustion and even physical and psychological symptoms: such as headaches, eye-strains, fatigue, irritability, energetic heaviness, insomnia, and, in extreme cases, even depression and a sense of low self-worth.

Being mindful that slowing down to rest, reset, and restore is also being productive.

How do you handle it?
Like any thriving-balanced professional, taking time out from business to tend to the deeper parts of one’s self and one’s life is a necessity and recipe for success and higher potential. Leaning into the burnout and surrendering to it, even welcoming it, is a powerful way to come home to our more creative, innovative, and magnetic self. How? Rest. Being mindful that slowing down to rest, reset, and restore is also being productive. Rest is a vital part of the creative, emotional, and mental process. Burnout signals that it’s time to power-down [and to] to power up more effectively, positively, and optimally. 


Sophie Jaffe | @sophie.jaffe
Founder & CEO, Philosophie

How do you identify social media burnout, and how do you handle it?
When I sign onto Instagram and feel flustered, overwhelmed, and not sure what to say or post, I typically know I’m in a burnout. I’ve been through many of these burnouts in the past five to six years. Posting with intention and being fully honest and transparent with my followers always brings me back to what matters. It’s not about likes or comments. It’s about helping the world feel more connected with who they truly are. I’ve been working hard to be more intentional with my time on social media by going on and connecting with specific people on my mind, posting something truly from my heart, and then leaving so I can be present in my real life. I also have a “joy” list written in my phone that I come back to whenever I feel myself spiraling or in a dark place. It really helps when I’m feeling frozen.

What are your go-to forms of self-care?
My self-care emerges when I’m alone. Sometimes it’s a sweaty workout or a walk without my phone. Other times, it’s a phone call with a best friend. [Many things] from doing breathwork when I feel frustrated or anxious to listening to my favorite music to bring joy and dance to the mundane and eating nourishing foods to fuel my mind and body [I consider to be self-care]. If I have several hours to myself, the ultimate treat is going to the Korean spa, booking a body scrub, and spending time in the soaks, tubs, plunge pools, and saunas. Then, I eat an epic Korean meal and go home feeling so renewed. 


Lauren Talulah Smeets | @curvy_roamer
Head of Brand, The Confidence Corner

How do you recognize social media burnout? 
It’s difficult because, as an influencer, marketing specialist, and social media management, my job is purely social media in every aspect. My iPhone screen report reminds me of how much time I’m spending on my phone. The main reason I use my phone is for social media, so I’m regularly faced with a huge amount of guilt when that little report pops up. Other obvious signals consist of the comparison ‘demons.’ If I’m comparing my life or ‘lack of success’ to others on my news feed, it’s time to take a break. Even feeling particularly stressed about not doing enough in terms of content or audience interaction is a frequent thing. I can get overwhelmed by unopened messages in my DMs or in feed post comments. 

If I’m comparing my life or ‘lack of success’ to others on my news feed, it’s time to take a break.

How do you manage it?
Taking time off is so important. Just before Christmas, I took a four-day break and hid Instagram on my feed. I felt a lot better from that. I recently downloaded Tik Tok and found myself two hours deep in a hole at 1:00 a.m., so now I put the phone down at 11:00 p.m. (ish) and listen to a podcast instead whilst I drift off. I also try and take conversations offline as often as possible and connect with people face to face. Spending so much time by yourself interacting only via social media can be isolating. I also try and unfollow or mute people that don’t add value to my journey or make me feel good about myself. And that’s okay, we shouldn’t feel guilty about that—as people of influence, we can’t speak to every single person online.


Devi Brown | @karmabliss
Founder, Karma Bliss; Host, Dropping Gems Podcast; Author, ”Crystal Bliss”

How do you recognize social media burnout?
As a wellness entrepreneur, staying off social media is just not possible. The most important step is to observe your habits but not stand in judgment of yourself. There might be one day out of the week where I did not sleep well or woke up early with my baby and I reached my one-hour social media limit by 10:00 a.m. 

How do you manage it?
One of the best allies I have found in battling social media burnout is utilizing the settings on my phone to monitor my usage and give me some structure for my timeline of use. In my iPhone, I have my social media accounts set to one hour of use per day, and I have a freeze-out set on my phone and laptop that restricts all use of web browsing, social media, website access, text access, etc. between the hours of 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Those are the hours when my son and I play, have dinner, have bath time, and read a bedtime story. Leaning on those settings has helped me tremendously, not just in reclaiming my time, but also in becoming more self-aware of my habits.


Nathalie Rhone | @allgoodeats
Registered Dietitian & Functional Medicine Nutritionist, Nutrition by Nathalie

How do you identify social media burnout, and how do you handle it?
It may be surprising, but I haven’t felt burnt out by social media yet. I don’t spend much time using it. All of my content is very organic, and just an extension of my private practice and daily life. It is not very curated, and [it] follows my regular routine, highlighting all aspects of my healthy lifestyle, especially what I eat and cook. I don’t spend time styling or editing content, and I only use the iPhone camera. I love seeing reposts and comments from my followers and only promote products that I actually use and really believe in, so truly social media doesn’t feel like work at all. 

I always put my phone away when I’m with clients, in bed, and on dates with my husband.

If I’m on social media, I’m posting, responding to comments and messages, or looking at posts from family and friends. I always put my phone away when I’m working with clients, I don’t use it in bed, and I try to keep it in my bag when I’m out to dinner or on dates with my husband. More than anything, what has kept me from burning out is the incredible engagement and feedback from my followers. The reminder that I am helping even just one person means the world to me. I’m so grateful for the incredible community that social media has helped me create!

What are your go-to forms of self-care?
Nourishing my body with nutrient-dense foods is one of the greatest forms of self-care. I listen to my body and give it what it wants to thrive. No matter how busy I am or where in the world I am, I try my best to start my day slowly with the same routine… warm lemon-ginger water in bed, coffee with my homemade steamed nut milk, green juice, and a big fruity breakfast. This helps me start my day in the right mindset, flushes the system, and loads my body with plenty of nutrients! 

On a daily basis, I try to incorporate some sort of exercise or movement for both my body and mind. I make it a priority to get enough good quality sleep each night (at least eight hours is the goal!). I also love to indulge in non-toxic skincare products and treat myself to massages. And, of course, spending quality time with my husband and dog is my favorite way to decompress and very important to me!


Bre Mitchell | @browngirlselfcare
Founder, Brown Girl Self-Care Co.

How do you identify social media burnout?
Social media is a blessing and a curse. I can quickly connect with people and interests I care about, which is great, but with that privilege also comes the cost of being easily overwhelmed with too much mind- and time-consuming information.

I can tell when I’ve had too much social media by my mood and how I allow myself to feel. When I scroll and read comments and arguments that have nothing to do with me but make me angry, I’ve had too much social media. When I feel down on myself because I can’t compare to the lifestyles of people seemingly better-off than I am, I know I’ve had too much social media.  When I can’t stop crying over injustices going on in the world and feel anxiety taking over, I know I’ve had way too much social media.

How do you handle it?
I am a firm believer of stepping away from social media for days and weeks at a time, so I take mini breaks often. I’ve snoozed people on Facebook for 30 days so that I can get a mental break without cutting them off completely. [My] iPhone also helps me stay aware of how much time I’m spending on social media, which helps me put the phone down and focus on my life in the real world.


Dr. Will Cole | @drwillcole
Functional Medicine Expert; Author, ”The Inflammation Spectrum” & ”Ketotarian”

What are your go-to forms of self-care?
For me, self-care is quiet rest. I like to meditate in the morning over a cup of earl grey tea, which contains bergamot, which has been shown to enhance autophagy or cellular recycling. This gives me time to still my mind while also nourishing my body with antioxidant-rich tea.

There is nothing too pressing that needs to take me away from my time with my family.

How do you identify social media burnout, and how do you handle it?
Any time I feel the pressure to keep my phone with me when I get home from work is a major sign for me. Unless I am waiting for a specific phone call, there is nothing too pressing that needs to take me away from my time with my family. So when I feel this pressure to constantly check my email or social media, it encourages me to put my phone away even more than normal for a mini digital detox to refocus my mind.


Neda Varbanova | @healthywithnedi
Founder, Healthy with Nedi

What are your go-to forms of self-care?
One of my go-to forms of self-care is to cook a healthy meal! It relaxes me and takes away built-up stress. I also love being able to prepare nourishing food for my body. I truly believe that food is medicine, and eating a healthy diet packed with veggies, fruits, and lean protein is one of the best ways to take care of ourselves.  

How do you identify social media burnout, and how do you handle it?
Social media burnout is inevitable and can lead to unnecessary stress. I get overwhelmed by all of the DMs I receive daily. As much as I love to interact with my community, it can be a lot, and sometimes it gives me anxiety. The way I manage this is by scheduling time blocks. My posts go live in the morning and I spend about half an hour interacting with followers and accounts I follow. Mid-day, I focus on answering DMs, but some days, I am so busy with work, I don’t check in until late afternoon. It’s important to acknowledge that it’s okay to take a break and unplug.


How do you overcome social media burnout? 📱🔥
Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!


James Francis Kelley is a writer and stylist based in Los Angeles. While he has many interests, he’s most passionate about creating an eco-conscience culture and preparing for a globalized future. If he’s not working, he can be found on Duolingo, biking to electronica music, or browsing Mr. Porter. Find his work on his website, and his musings on Instagram.