person addicted to social media
Mental Health

The 2023 Social Media Detox Challenge For Better Phone Habits

Are you ready for a 20-day social media detox challenge and break-up with your phone? Okay not break-up but let’s say a cooling-off period to cultivate better phone habits.

The marvels of smart phones are many. With one single tap you are face-timing with loved ones, planning your next vacation, stalking your ex (wink wink!).

We are more dependent on our phones than ever.

But perils of phone addiction are real as are its benefits. Consciously or unconsciously we are wired to world of apps, which adversely affect our mental health, sleeping habits, relationships and other aspects of our lives.

Don’t believe me? Here are some numbers; we check our phones 58 times a day and spend about 3 hours and 15 minutes per day on our phone, according to a study by Rescue Time app.

This is all the more reason for you to do this 20-day social media detox challenge.

Even if you are not addicted to your phone this challenge will help you in understanding your relationship with technology and identify any problematic areas.

Social Media Detox to Develop Better Phone Habits

woman eating and checking social media apps

4 Major Effects of Social Media Addiction

Addiction to social media has some serious effects on your health and behavior. Here are 4 major effects.

It Affects Your Attention Span

The average attention span of an individual has gone down to 8.25 seconds in 2023 from the previous 12 seconds in 2000.

One of the major reasons for this is extensive use of smart phone.

But why is that it’s because our bodies essentially love comfort and scrolling your social media doesn’t really require any effort, making it a very enticing and comfortable activity. 

Increases the Need for Instant Gratification

Ease of communication ushered by smart phones has paved way for instant knowledge. You want to know something just tap your phone and information is at your hand.

This in turn satisfies your brain cells instantly and provides instant gratification.

Now at a first glance this may not seem like a problem but here’s the issue, sometimes it affects your mood adversely when you don’t get that information ASAP.

Did you ever notice how bored, moody or irritated you feel when you have no access to Wi-Fi or internet data?

Social Media Apps Amplify the Need for Validation

The need for validation from others is so common and the culprit is those several social media apps on smart phones.

There are people who seriously get upset with a drop in their follower count or likes and comments.

The need for being admired and accepted is very universal and social media apps exploit this very basic human emotion.

Phone Usage has Adverse effect on Mental Health

Studies have shown that increased usage of phones has been linked to mental health conditions like depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, (OCD) and anxiety.

Increased screen time leads to poor sleep patterns. It hampers your ability to process things and delays your instinctive response to situations.

Your relationships with your partner and your family members may also suffer due to this. Smart phone addiction has also been linked to restlessness and increased mood-swings.

Physical hazards of Phone Addiction

The physical hazards of cell phone are equally worrying. Your smart phone causes serious health problems like:

Eye strain:

Your eye muscle experience a serious strain when you start at your phone for over 2 hours at a stretch. It can cause problems like blurred vision, migraine, eye muscle fatigue resulting in dry eyes.

Text Neck Syndrome:

Text Neck Syndrome leads to stress, pain or injury to neck muscles due to prolonged screen time on phone.


Speaking or texting on phone while driving is one of the major reasons for road accidents.

Risk of Germs:

Apparently 1 in 6 phones have fecal matter on it! So gross! A study by University of Arizona has found that our phones carry 10 times more bacteria than our toilet seats.

Signs you Need To detox from Social Media

A woman staring at her social media

Here are 8 signs you need to detox from social media and unplug your mind for a while. If you identify with at least three of these points please consider taking up this 20-day social media detox challenge.

1. You check your phone right after you wake and sleep late scrolling your phone at night, this has affected your sleep quality.

2. You impulsively reach out for your phone to check your social media feed every few minutes, even while working and it has affected your work.

3. You check your phone amidst conversations, while eating and prefer texting to talking.

4. You instantly want to share your life updates like any important birthdays, vacation pictures, family events etc.

5. You watch TV and stare at your phone screen at the same time.

6. Your family is annoyed with your phone habits.

7. You stalk people regularly. And yes, that includes people other than your ex.

8. You live for likes and can’t help compare yourself with others when scrolling your feed, even if it increases your negativity.

Most people will agree to at least one of these points. Smart phones have wired us at cost of our time, health and relationships.

If you want to seriously want some clarity as to what triggers your compulsive phone habits. I urge you to take this social media detox challenge.

How To Prepare for the social media detox Challenge

Inform People That You Won’t Be Active On Social Media

When you think about a social media detox you are immediately hit with a sense of FOMO or “fear of missing out on juicy updates, cool events, or important news.

But if something big is happening, trust me, you’ll find out about it one way or another.

So, let your people know that you’re taking a little social media breather. Drop a post on your feed or shoot a quick text about this.

Create Official Social Media Account For Work Purpose

If you rely on social media platforms for your business, set up a dedicated business account.

During your detox, don’t use your personal accounts. Use the business account solely for work-related stuff.

Take this Challenge with a Friend or Family

Why not rope in a buddy or a family member to embark on a social media cleanse together? Having someone by your side can make all the difference in sticking to your goals for the challenge.

2023 Social Media Detox Challenge

This challenge is divided into sections to ease you into the full detox mode. Each day you will make some small significant change and try to unplug yourself from your phone.

Day 1 – 3: Starting the Social Media Detox Challenge

This challenge is not binding and you can modify some of the steps as per your convenience.

This is essentially the warm-up part to slowly get you unwired from your mobile. These are very simple tasks but be mindful you will experience the urge to grab your phone, but don’t give in.

Let’s begin!

Day 1:

This task has to be repeated on all days of the challenge.

Make your bedroom a ‘no phone-zone’. Switch off your phone an hour before sleeping and keep it in a separate room along with your phone charger.

Day 2:

Don’t switch on your phone after you wake-up. Trust me the world won’t come to an end. Instead complete one task like drinking a glass of warm water, practicing some deep breathing and then check your phone after 30 minutes.

This step will be modified in the later part of the challenge.

In addition to repeating step 1, switch off all app notifications on your phone, if you have to check official mails don’t spend more than 5 minutes on it.

Day 3:

Today the real task begins, note which apps you’re using the most. This will shed light on just how much time you’re dedicating to those social media apps, as opposed to other important stuff like email, work, or personal phone use.

Now go ahead and delete those social media apps from your phone. You can always reinstall them if you absolutely have to.

But by removing those apps, you’ll make mindless phone scrolling much harder.

If it is impossible for you to delete the apps use then use the log out option, this might make your urge to check your feed less appealing as you’d have to login each time.

Day 4-6: Detoxing Social Media Apps

a woman detoxing her social media

In this second stage of this social media detox challenge, you’ll repeat steps 1 to 2 and do some additional tasks of organizing your phone.

Day 4:

Declutter your phone by making a list of all apps you hardly use, this includes, Whatsapp groups, Instagram, FB groups, Tiktok, Snapchat, Twitter groups and any other social media platform.

In this list include:

— people you barely talk to

— people you stalk online

— social media accounts that make you feel like crap.

— text messages, old pictures you’ve wanted to delete.

— All personal and professional emails you no longer need or are interested in receiving.

Finally,  hit the delete option. Remove any person or anything who you’ve outgrown or makes you feel unhappy or makes you question your self-worth.

If you want to preserve old images or important documents put those items in a separate folder or drive.

Day 5:

Hold off on the scrolling, messaging, or posting on social media until the clock strikes 12 PM. Instead, dive into some empowering morning rituals, like morning affirmations to set the tone for your day.

Set a positive affirmation as your lock screen wallpaper. Every time you reach for your phone, you’ll get a motivational boost right there.

— I’m so brave for doing this challenge.

— I’m focused and motivated to achieve my goal.

— I remove all toxic energy and the need for validation.

Here are some affirmations to inspire you.

Day 6:

Increase your unplugging time. Don’t check your phone till 2 PM and leave your phone when you are having lunch and dinner.

Day 7 – 12 Full social media detox

In this penultimate stage of the challenge go into the full social media detox mode which means leaving your phone behind for an extended period.

Day 7:

Don’t check social media platform until 5pm and avoid using it during your breakfast, dinner and lunch time as well.

Day 8:

Use only one social media for only 10 minutes for an entire day.

Day 9:

Don’t use any social media social media app for an entire day. Practice writing your email responses under 5 minutes.

Day 10:

Don’t spend more than 15 minutes at a stretch on your phone use a timer. Arrange a particular time to check and respond to emails.

Day 11:

Plan some interesting life event like a family dinner outing and don’t share it on social media.

Day 12:

Switch off your phone for one full hour and spend some time in nature, like sitting in a park.  

Day 13:

Switch off your phone until lunch time and if you want to push yourself with this challenge then switch off till your phone till the evening.

Day 14:

Leave your phone behind while you go out for a dinner or a movie with your family.

Day 15:

Switch off your phone for a period of 24 hours. If possible plan a weekend getaway without your phone.

Days 16- 21 Reconnecting with Your Phone

a young woman looking at her phone and smiling

In the final stage of this digital detox challenge you’ll acquaint yourself with those aspects of social media that aren’t stressful.

Day 16:

Read some interesting blogs or videos that motivate you to become better (hint Oh Well Yes).

Day 17:

Maintain a schedule on how much time you will spend on social media in a day after you are done with this digital detox challenge.

Day 18:

Choose to follow social media accounts across all platforms which inspire you, but be mindful of not spending more than 10 minutes on a particular app.

Day 19:

Take baby steps in creating some mindful habits like reading three pages of a book instead of phone scrolling.

Day 20

Make a conscious shift of opening majority of your apps through desktop, if can do without reinstalling certain apps then so be it.

Lastly, when can you do this Social Media Detox?

Whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressed with your social media consumption you can take this challenge.

Social media shouldn’t turn you into a zombie staring at a screen and comparing yourself with others and living a fake life drenched in photo filters.

You shouldn’t abstain from embracing technology, but you need to be mindful of that fact that are you consuming technology? or is it technology consuming you?

Related Posts:

19 Excellent Tips to form Good Habits

How to Create A Peaceful Mindset

101 Life-Changing Habits for a Better You

100 Productive Things to Do When Bored

How to Practice Self-Care For Better Mental Health


  • Bexa

    This is a really inspirational post, Suktara! I went on a very long social media break (4 months!) and noticed so many positive benefits, notably I felt so much calmer. I did want to go back to social media eventually, but now I am much more mindful about the amount of time I spend on my phone. I’ve found that I am enjoying more things offline such as reading and bullet journaling, which I find so relaxing. Thanks for sharing – fab post! <3 xx

    Bexa |