We cannot deny that social media plays a huge role in our lives more so during this pandemic. In the absence of face-to-face interaction, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter provide safe and convenient ways for us to connect with family, friends and even work colleagues. Social media updates us on the events in each other’s lives without having to initiate contact and ask “How are you?” Such information is freely shared and available through a mere tap of a finger.

But too much of a good thing may lead to problems. Though virtual interaction may be beneficial to our mental health during the pandemic, mindless scrolling of social media feeds can lead to sadness, loneliness and even exhaustion. Because mobility and activities are currently limited, such emotions may push us to simply pick up the smartphone and indulge in another round of scrolling. To better care for our mental health, we need to break this cycle.


What is social media detoxification? 

According to Itin Lachica-Umali, a Psychology professor at the Colegio De San Lorenzo, social media detox is a component of digital media detox. This involves refraining from or minimizing the use of television, and other “technology vices” in favor of face-to-face connection.

Though social media is convenient, the constant distraction it offers may keep us from processing our own experiences. Because the pandemic is unforeseen, Psychologist Roselle Teodosio, owner of IntegraVita Wellness Center, believes that we must be allowed to grieve. “There is an added pressure, most especially from social media, to make the most out of the situation, kind of like making lemonade out of lemons.  This can make people more frustrated with themselves, when they can’t seem to find their own “niche.” Also, people are afraid to show their fear, lest they be labeled as negative or a pessimist.  But it is actually okay to feel not okay, to admit that one feels fear, that one is afraid, that one cannot function well since there is really an uncertainty during this time.  It is also very natural to grieve. Grief would mean an end to something, not just death of a person.  It is an end to a friendship, an end to a relationship, an end to a dream and most of all, an end to a lifestyle, a life one had known.”   

Umali agrees that social media may push you to compare yourself with others. “This is the root of unhappiness,” she says. “We need to detoxify from social media so we can pause and process things in our own time.”   



When do you need a social media detox?

If you experience any of the of the following, you may need to take a break from your computer or phone:


Here are some steps for social media detox:


When you do a social media detox, you may observe these benefits:


According to Umali, the responsible use of social media begins with thinking before clicking. Carefully think about your comment before posting it. Will it harm other people? What does it say about you as a person? Whatever you put on social media reflects your values and beliefs. Be a responsible user—and this includes limiting your time on social media in order to be healthier.

One night, fifteen years ago, Lea was flipping through the channels on her television, looking for a movie to help her destress from her job as a financial adviser in one of the country’s top insurance companies. Instead, her channel surfing took her to a show on yoga, which kept her glued until the end. Watching the gentle flow of yoga poses helped relieve her stress, which kept her tuning in to the show regularly, until she found herself practicing yoga. “I fell in love with yoga since then. I loved how it had a holistic approach to health, focusing on both physical and mental abilities.”



For ten years, she dabbled with yoga until five years ago when she decided to make it her daily practice. “At that time, I was feeling exhausted and stressed. My body was pleading for a break. I decided to focus on myself.” With her regular yoga practice, Lea discovered a more focused way of thinking, and with this clarity came the realization of what she wanted to do with her life. “Two years ago, I decided to go to Vietnam to undergo training so I could be a yoga teacher. Our yoga class had five teachers, which we called masters. We would start our practice with pranayama, or breathing exercises coupled with meditation. It taught me to focus on my breath and to be still in the present. In the stillness, I could hear what my mind and body were telling me.”

Her six-month training certified Lea as a yoga teacher. Because of the pandemic, Lea holds online yoga classes, not just for Filipinos, but also for friends she made in Vietnam. At the same time, she supports her husband in developing an organic vegetable garden in Rizal. He focuses on growing high-nutrient fruits and vegetables that complement Leah’s yoga practice. Though Lea is living proof of yoga’s ability to help regulate blood pressure, fight insomnia and support the body’s natural healing process, she finds that the most important thing she gained from her practice is mental strengthening. “A weak mind can’t carry a strong body, but a strong mind can carry even the weakest body,” she shares. “A strong mind will keep you stable and grounded. It gives you the power to cope with stress.”

This October 14, Lea will share simple breathing and meditation exercises in Panahon TV’s much-awaited webinar, Peace of Mind during the Pandemic, which also features psychiatrist Dr. Rowalt Alibudbud, and Dr. RJ Naguit, chairman of the Youth for Mental Health Coalition, Inc.

From this webinar, Lea hopes that participants will learn to let go of things they can’t control. “Stress is inevitable, but what’s more important is that you know how to manage it. If you’re on a continuous fight-and-flight mode, you’ll get sick. Gentle yoga helps release the tension with mindful poses. Just by focusing on your breath, you honor your body, allowing acceptance, awareness and letting go. When you do this daily, you develop a calm state of mind. It’s a powerful tool to manage everything that’s happening in the world today.”

To register for the webinar, click here: https://panahon.tv/webinar/index.php