How to do a social media cleanse without permanently deleting your accounts

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As social media becomes more important to our day-to-day lives, people are spending more time on it. Being active on social media platforms can be exhausting and, even worse, take a toll on your mental health. Recent studies have found that social media can create a bubble that makes people narrow-minded and have an impact the reward centers of teens' brains. Preliminary studies have also linked heavy social media use to depression and anxiety.

For users feeling disconnected or looking for a social media detox, there are simple steps that you can take without permanently deleting your profiles and accounts.

Delete social media apps from your phone

If you're actively checking social media accounts on your smartphone, then deleting your apps can help you take a break. You don't lose your data when you delete the app without deleting your account. When you're ready to return, you can download the app again.

Temporarily deactivate accounts

Sometimes, deleting apps is not enough. When someone posts on your Facebook wall or sends you a direct message on Twitter, your notification settings might send you an email and interfere with your detox. Or maybe you'll mindlessly log on via your computer. Fortunately, some platforms allow users to temporarily deactivate their accounts. This doesn't delete any data and the user can hop back on when they please. Both Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) allow their users to temporarily deactivate.

Give someone else power over your accounts

If you don't have willpower or simply don't trust yourself, you can always outsource the task to someone else in your life. Pick someone you trust and give them your usernames and passwords (tip: change all your passwords to a filler password before handing off your information). Ask them to change the passwords for a designated amount of time so that you cannot succumb to temptation.

When you return, do a little housekeeping

When you go back to your social media accounts — or before you take your hiatus — do a little cleanup. This can include unfollowing accounts that annoy you on Twitter and Instagram, defriending acquaintances and strangers on Facebook, deleting tweets and Instagram posts that make you cringe, checking who can see your Snapchat stories and changing your privacy settings. Cleaning up your accounts can make you more comfortable with the social circles you're sharing content with.