Zoe Sugg opens up about feeling ‘suffocated’ on social media

Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella is one of the biggest names in social , with more than nine million Instagram followers and 11.2 million subscribers to her YouTube channel.

The Royal Society Of Public Health found is more addictive than smoking and alcohol and that using social media for more than two hours per day is associated with poor self-rating of mental health, increased levels of psychological distress and suicidal ideation.

So, the campaign – a collaboration between LUSH, Zoe and mental health organisation #IAMWHOLE founded by Jordan Stephens – is asking people around the world to take one day off.

We caught up with her to ask why she thought the campaign was so important.

Why did you want to get involved with digital detox day?

I initially approached LUSH as they're one of my all-time favourite brands, I've been a fan of theirs since I was a teenager and I always admired the charity campaigns and human rights work they carry out. Very early on we knew we wanted to do something to help mental health charities, and we started work on the IRL bath bomb. We then also joined forced with I AM WHOLE, an incredible organisation that work on mental health campaigns, and it seemed like such a natural fit to bring all our conversations together and get working on a campaign that would not only raise much-needed funds for grassroots mental health charities but also look at our relationship with social media and see what we can do to promote a more positive digital experience.

Do you take digital detox days?

Digital detoxes are something that I try and do from time to time, mainly around Christmas time as everyone else seems to switch off more then too. Sometimes I can find myself endlessly scrolling and consuming so much that I feel like my brain can't retain any more information, and that's when I know I'm overdoing it.

Why is it important? How often do you think people should consider doing it?

Setting boundaries on who you follow, what content you consume, and how that content makes you feel is imperative when using social media. Do you always feel positive when you come away from social media, or is it something that largely negatively impacts you? All these things are good to question and I think it's healthy, especially in this day and age, that we're all taking the time and stepping away from our devices to give us that space we probably don't realise we need.

What would you say to people who feel anxious about not being connected to social media for a day?

Nothing is so important that you need to know it instantly. We are so used to a much faster paced world now, that we forget that time still passes and life goes on if we don't get back to that message or check that notification right away. You'll never feel as ‘in the moment' as you do when you're experiencing ‘real life' and not scrolling through everyone else's on a device in your hand.

Have you ever felt addicted to social media, like you didn't want to switch off?

Yes, I often scroll without any agenda, just to fill time or to procrastinate. When a person receives a notification they instantly get a dopamine hit, which explains why people become addicted to social media so easily.

More than anyone, you've grown up with social media and seen its changes – do you still think it's a force for good?

Yes! Social media has many positives and I've been very fortunate to have experienced so many of those over the last 11 years. It's a place to stay connected with loved ones, to share experiences, build communities, make friends and find like-minded people to share hobbies with. As with everything though, it's good in moderation and too much of something is usually not that good for us.

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