Tide PODS. Juice cleanses. The raw diet. Intermittent fasting. Raw water. So many fads to choose from, so little time. And many of them claim to be good for your health (well, probably not the Tide PODS one). But how many trends sweeping especially our young student population are actually good for you? Several students and professors alike are investigating one such newly popular trend, said to be good for brain health: The social media detox.

Give your busy brain a rest

In a recent article by Amy Doyle, she describes how difficult it was for her to give up all social media for two weeks (let alone her friend who took a social media sabbatical for a whole two months!), but once the initial FOMO (feeling of missing out) wore off, she found her brain functioned more smoothly, she was less bored all the time, and felt relieved when she returned (in her case, to Instagram) and saw that what she missed wasn't such a big deal as she maybe had thought before she quit.

She even described herself as feeling "blissed out."

Proponents of the trend called 99 Days of Freedom" touted the 99-day break as wonderfully healing to one's emotional health, and people who've tried it talk about enjoying their in-person social life more, getting more reading and writing done, and being able to more efficiently and effectively get work done.

But is it worth it?

Some experts doing active research on the topic of the social media Detox aren't so sure about quitting cold turkey as being a surefire cure to possible addiction, but that it's okay as far as awareness of issues of overuse.

For example, if we're constantly grabbing our phone and hitting the Facebook app just to distract ourselves from our real problems, that can be harmful. Cyberbullying, as another example, can actually be literally deadly for young people for whom their social circle is critical to their well being.

But, as I can attest, being in the burlesque and theatre worlds, often social media platforms are crucial networking tools, free or inexpensive, and easy advertising packages for those with no budget for their productions.

They are also hubs for healthy personal interaction, allowing us to expand our circle of friends beyond our tiny tribal groups and making our social life more diverse. They're also thriving ways for artists of all kinds to get their work out into the world effectively and much more hugely than would be possible without such a network, and can even assist in raising money for everything from one's own work to charities, and everything in between.

My conclusion? If social media is getting you down, unplug for a day, or schedule it the way you schedule work, or real-life meetings with friends. But if like so many of us, it's integrated irrevocably into your life and career, maybe there's a better way to deal with it than quitting it completely.

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