Digital Detox Day: How 5 Hong Kong influencers stay sane on social media

digital detox day hong kong influencers
Credits (L to R): Coco Alexandra, Christoffer Cheng and Ellie Furuya

Digital Detox Day is happening this Saturday, 5 September, encouraging people to turn off their phones and focus on their mental wellbeing. The project is a joint effort between mental health campaign #IAMWHOLE, LUSH, and influencer Zoe Sugg. Its sole purpose is to bring awareness to the negative side effects of social media. 

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I’m super excited to finally be able to share the campaign we’ve been working on for SOOO long! I present to you : DIGITAL DETOX DAY! With both #Lush & @iamwholeuk (@jordanfstephens) we’ve created this campaign around how social media can affect our mental health and negatively impact our lives. The world of social media has many benefits, but over the years, it’s become more and more an extension of our hands and minds & we can find ourselves endlessly scrolling, comparing, judging, being cyber bullied, not setting boundaries and not knowing when to switch off. It can be the cause of anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, loneliness and low self esteem and over the years I’ve had thousands of messages from you all, including other creators who are struggling with how social media makes them feel, so this felt like the perfect campaign to put together. Over the next week, we’ll be sharing content here and over on @iamwholeuk on many of the topics linked with mental health and the digital world with some incredible panelists and fellow creators, friends and even my therapist! On Saturday 5th September we’ll be asking anyone and everyone (that’s you reading this) to switch off for mental health. A whole digital detox day where we put our devices down and re-connect and re-evaluate how social media makes us feel. We hope this week of content helps those of you who need it and ultimately we hope we can encourage you to find a way to have a better relationship with your device and improve your mental wellbeing. I’ve also worked closely with Lush to create a limited edition bath bomb “IRL” with money going into a one-off fund taking applications for grants from small, grassroots groups who work on mental health issues. Those are available in store and online NOW! (There will be a making of going live tomorrow). #digitaldetoxday 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼

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While apps like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter mean we’ve never been more connected, we’re paradoxically more disassociated, too. Social media has been shown to cause feelings of isolation, depression, disconnect, FOMO, and cyberbullying, and Digital Detox Day wants to put an end to that.

If you want to develop a healthier relationship with your social media, Sugg and LUSH will be posting discussion panels on their IGTVs about body image, cyberbullying, anxiety and digital boundary setting throughout the month. And of course, remember to take 5 September off to digitally recharge. 

For some added inspiration, read on to find out how five Hong Kong influencers keep their digital boundaries and mental wellness in check while navigating social media. 

Ellie Furuya

“Social media is an amazing source of free inspiration, to find places to eat, drink and discover, and it’s connected me to some of my now closest friends. But, it’s easy to get caught in the perfect projections of people’s lives. I’ve learned to appreciate the beautiful images at face value and follow accounts that personally interest me. Whenever I experience the negative side of social media, I turn it off for a little while and shift my focus to the present. I make it a rule to keep my phone down when I’m at dinners, or at home with my partner.”—Ellie Furuya

J.J. Acuna 

“I tend to use social media for work, it can be an engaging, entertaining and positive way to learn about what cool things people are making around the world. I don’t love how people use it to tout political views or share those memes that make fun of people. That’s a very cynical approach, with bad energy, and it can suck you in. People need to figure out if their social media content is part of the problem or part of the solution. When I’m not working, I have to do other things, like exercising, cooking, sketching, journaling or meditating, so I’m not stuck looking at the phone.”—J.J. Acuna

Jen Balisi 

“I love being able to connect with people around the world, and I love the positive influence I can have on total strangers’ lives. But my ability to pay the bills is based solely on the opinion of others, which can become toxic when my content doesn’t get likes, or I get hateful comments. If someone is horrible, I will block them. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Recently, I’ve been trying to ignore the numbers and focus on creating content I love and relishing in meaningful interactions instead. It’s made a big difference. Create boundaries and remember that social media isn’t real life, so put down your phone and live a little!”—Jen Balisi

Christoffer Cheng 

“I love how easy it is to keep up with friends, and get the latest on topics I love, especially during COVID. But you have to watch for the moment when it becomes an addiction, and you end up overwhelmed. I am very lucky that I do not experience much negativity from my followers, or get FOMO, but I still try my hardest to limit my screen time, and I’ve muted all my notifications, so I don’t get distracted. You’ve got to listen to your heart, whenever you feel any kind of negative feeling, it’s always good to slow down, take it easy and step away for a while to let yourself relax.”—Christoffer Cheng

Coco Alexandra

“Social media is a place where people from all backgrounds and beliefs can connect and express themselves. It’s a space of infinite possibilities, and I love playing in it to share positivity, empowerment and tips. But it’s often used to spread fear, lies and destruction. Everything is energy, so the accounts you follow either give you energy or drain your energy. I’m a huge believer of digital cleansing. I unfollow accounts that make me feel bad and have a strict ‘love only’ policy. Put a time limit on your scrolling and check in with yourself before you engage with social media. Make sure you’re in a balanced energetic state, and if you’re feeling low energy, give yourself a digital-free day to recharge.”—Coco Alexandra

See also: #legend100: Hong Kong’s top influencers of 2019

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