"Virtual Break: A Cleanse for the Soul" by: Dr. Dana Corriel 

The word 'cleanse' normally elicits a reflexive reaction on my part, being a medical doctor and having encountered some fascinating ways in which people clean themselves out (I'll spare inserting an exhibit A and B at this point because I think we've all come across some ridiculous cleanses). But the one I discuss below was long overdue. 

It was getting excessive; my use of social media had taken over free time and had become almost an addiction. Not just for me, but for our society as a whole. 

Think about the number of times you click on that Facebook app. Or the Instagram button. Or any of the other links meant to connect us with one another in this day and age. 

Now think of the time you spent scrolling through that app's feed- reading your friends' updates or looking at photos of those in your community, or even those you follow on the other side of the world. It's an amazing hobby, really, surfing through those social media applications. But it also comes at a price. 

I needed a little nudge from my son the other day to realize just how bad it had gotten. He pulled my imaginary blinders off and commented on how I'm 'always on the phone'. It's true that work requires me to do so, to a large degree, but still comes at a price. 

I'm just not sure I'm willing to pay it. 

So, I took a step back and re-evaluated. Soon enough, I realized what I think I've known all along- I needed a social media cleanse. 

I did it. I made a conscientious decision to limit my use of the phone. I decided that a week off was a good time to spend away- away from everyone's updates, whereabouts, and specifics. No more scrolling of the thumbs- it was time to give those suckers a rest. 

And guess what? 

It was fantastic. 

When I put away that phone, I picked up my son more, spent more time looking into his eyes and played games. We had a conversation, or two, or twenty. I finished some things that had been in the back burner- one of those I'll-finish-this-later's. I got to spend one on one- truly one on one- time with my husband. I listened to some music on the way home instead of the yapping of a podcast and started taking in landscapes on the drives, I got to exercise by walking with my family, playing tennis, boxing, jumping and wrestling. But best of all was the laughing. It was the well-needed and often-forgotten laughter of yesteryear. And it was back. 

I got it all back thanks to the cleanse, and  it was worth every single second. 

I can't tell you that social media is now a thing of my past. It's not. I love how it allows me to connect with not only friends and family from close or far, but also with other like-minded doctors and professionals in the health field. I also get to read some of the latest research studies because I follow medical journals.  

Regardless, I've tried to find a balance, because I can't unsee the happiness that comes from putting it all away. There is a comfort level we can all achieve by finding our perfect spot- somewhere in the middle 

So go ahead and cleanse away, because this one is medically-approved. 


Dana Corriel, MD is a board-certified, practicing internist and Director of Quality at Highland Medical, PC in Rockland County, NY. In her spare time, she engages in writing about medicine, from both entertaining and educational angles. Her goal is to create more engagement in social media from qualified professionals themselves, and to bridge the gap between doctors and patients by giving physicians a voice. Material can be found www.drcorriel.com, and across social media platforms under 'drcorriel'.