Social media has taken over our phones in the 21st century and has the power to completely consume our thoughts, minds, and screens.
Is it time to take a break from social media?
We’re able to connect keep in touch and meet people from all over the world through social media.
We’re able to experience families and friends’ most important moments from afar and stay up to date on the latest information or events happening around the world.
But, it’s easy to get so caught up on these social platforms that it becomes an obsession and begins to consume our lives.
We get so easily distracted by the photos, videos, and information readily available at our fingertips.
Why Should You Take a Break from Social Media?
Taking a break from social media can be beneficial for your mental health. If you find that it is causing one or more of the following, taking a break from social media could be the right choice for you:
Stress: Unfortunately, there are many ways social media can cause stress. Whether it’s the pressure of posting regularly or the disappointment of not receiving the positive feedback you expected on a post, social media can cause us to feel stressful emotions.
Social media is also a primary source of news for many and a constant drip of mostly bad news, can become crippling to your wellbeing.
Constantly Distracted: Instead of being present, you often find yourself glancing over at your feed or checking every notification you receive, despite being in the company of people or in the middle of another activity.
While you may feel plugged in and connected while browsing social media or checking the latest headline, losing focus of the immediate world around you can lead to a feeling of disconnect between yourself and the real world.
Losing Focus on Important Tasks: Checking feeds here and it is fine but, it’s far too easy to get sucked into a social media rabbit hole and next thing you know, you’ve lost hours of your valuable time.
If you’re missing deadlines, late to appointments, or find yourself unable to get to all the items on your to-do list, you may be spending too much time on social media.
Comparing Your Life to Others: It’s important to remember that people often only post the highlights of their life. Some go as far as staging their posts to convey an image which, may not be the whole truth.
If you’re comparing your life to someone else’s and thinking yours isn’t fun or full enough, a break could be beneficial to help you realign with what makes your life meaningful.
Competing With Others: After comparing, there’s competing. It may be that you want a higher follower count or that your friends are getting more likes than you on their posts.
You’ve taken it upon yourself to compete against them. While competition can be healthy, if you’re feeling anxious or stressed by it, you could be headed down an unhealthy path.
By allowing ourselves to be free from the social pressure we place on ourselves, free from always needing to be up-to-date on the latest and greatest, and to become content or present in the moment takes somewhat of an effort on our part.
We could allow the negativity or stress of social media to consume us, or we can learn to be disciplined and learn to use it with intention.
If you are comparing yourself to others, competing with others, feel judged, are being bullied, or witness others being bullied this could cause a huge amount of stress in your daily life.
People tend to post only the parts of their lives that they are proud of, but not the whole picture.
Stepping away for a while could refresh our minds and allow us to see things more clearly. A social media detox may be just what you need to take a step back.
It also allows us to access how we feel without social media since it’s difficult to think back to a time when social media didn’t exist.
10 Ways to Take a Break From Social Media
Taking a total break from social media doesn’t mean that you have to go cold turkey right away.
You can start slow and at your own pace. Here are a few tips to begin your process:
1. Set A Time Limit for Social Media Use
Allow yourself to be more intentional with your social media usage by setting a strict time limit on how much time you want to spend on social media daily.
For example, you can choose to limit yourself to 30 minutes per day and decide to check it once in the morning and once more at night.
Set an alarm and allow yourself to use social media freely without judgment. When the alarm sounds, simply exit the platform and focus on something else.
2. Use Screen Limiting Apps
Some phones have a screen time limit feature where you can set a usage limit for your apps.
A great way to use this feature is to set daily limits for your individual social media apps. The phone will remind you when you have 5 minutes left and when time’s up, give you the option to ignore the limit for the day, snooze for 15 minutes, or to exit the app. You’re still in control, but the screen time feature works as a set reminder each day and gives you the choice to hold yourself accountable.
If your phone doesn’t have this feature built-in, there are apps available that can help with tracking and limiting your social media usage.
3. Leave Your Phone in Another Room at Night
To best ensure a good night’s rest, try to disconnect from your phone or screens at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.
Leaving your phone in another room for the night allows you to focus on a healthy bedtime routine.
It also means you won’t be immediately tempted to check your social media apps first thing when you wake up in the morning.
If leaving your phone in another room feels too extreme, you can place it in a spot across the room, away from your bed.
4. Turn Off Notifications
Have you ever received a notification that you are tagged in a photo?
Let me guess- you hopped on that platform quickly to make sure they didn’t post anything embarrassing or that they didn’t shoot your bad side.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
Isn’t it crazy that the simple act of receiving a notification could trigger an instant response and you could find yourself spending 5…10…20 minutes just mindlessly scrolling?
How do we go ahead and combat this? Simply go into your application settings on your phone or computer and switch off any social media notifications. This will prevent any new messages from popping up on your device.
5. Delete Unnecessary Apps
Take a moment to check just how many social media applications on your phone.
Do you use them all?
Are they necessary to check every day?
Are they even necessary to have at all?
Try deleting them one by one starting with the least important one to the most important. You may be surprised by how much storage you free up.
It’s common to check our social media feeds randomly throughout the day and to be distracted by posts and images.
When they are not readily available for you to check, you will quickly snap back into reality and focus your attention elsewhere.
6. Try a Social Media Detox
As I mentioned before- quitting social media cold turkey may not work in the long term. Instead, try going 24 hours without social media and see how you feel.
If you think you can go longer, try 48 hours, and gradually move up from there. This may also give you insight into how addicted to social media you are.
Then access the advantages and disadvantages of living life without social media.
Do you feel that you have a lot more free time?
There is no rush, and you are free to decide what works best for you.
7. Temporarily Disable Your Accounts
Some social media platforms allow you to temporarily disable your account and, when you’re ready, you can reactivate.
While this is one of the more extreme ways to take a break from social media, it can be effective if you really want to disconnect or need an extra boost of discipline.
The obstacle of not being able to login into your account will help hold you accountable in your goal to take a break.
8. Let Friends and Family Know You’re Taking a Break
Anytime you’re working on a goal, it’s a good idea to let a trusted friend or circle know what goal you’re working towards. This can help to surround you with a supportive community that will check in on you.
Let friends and family know you’re taking a break from social media so they can rally around your decision to do so and help hold you accountable.
But also, so they know to best reach you through other means such as a phone call or text.
9. Find a Better Distraction
You could go 24 hours without social media and think to yourself: “Well, now what?”
It’s natural for our minds to feel as if they need to be busy- so make a list of things you could be doing instead of using social media.
These activities will naturally take your mind off using social media and keep you busy- with more productive things.
10. Practice Being Present
You’ve learned all the ways in which social media distracts you and takes your attention away from your physical world.
Once you’ve started taking a break from social media, you’ll likely realize you are more present in everyday life.
Observe what that feels like and learn to spend quiet time with yourself, focused on what you’re doing.
Meditation can be a great tool for practicing mindfulness, reducing those anxious feelings and it can help you realign with your priorities.
Challenge yourself not to post on social media while you’re out with friends but rather, focus on enjoying each moment in their company.
How Long Should You Take a Break From Social Media?
There’s no set amount of time that you should take a break from social networking. Some people like to take a week off, others prefer to go months without checking their feeds. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you figure out how much time you should give yourself to avoid burnout. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
• Don’t let your friends pressure you into staying on social media.
If you feel like you’re missing something, ask yourself why you really wanted to check your feed in the first place. Maybe it’s because you felt bored or lonely, or maybe you just wanted to see what everyone else had been posting. Whatever the case may be, try to find another distraction.
• Find a hobby.
Hobbies are great ways to relax and unwind, especially if you’re feeling stressed out. Whether it’s reading books, playing games, knitting, painting, or anything else, try finding a hobby that interests you.
• Keep busy.
If you’re having trouble focusing on your hobbies, consider joining a club or group where you can meet new people and expand your horizons.
• Be realistic.
If you use social media for work, you might want to limit your time spent on it during non-work hours. This way, you won’t have to worry about being distracted by notifications while at work.
• Remember that you’re human.
Everyone needs downtime now and again. So if you find yourself struggling to resist the urge to check your social media accounts, remind yourself that you’re only human. After all, we’re all guilty of taking a peek here and there.
The Benefits of Social Media Breaks
Is taking a social media break really worth it?
How can it benefit you and your lifestyle?
Here are a few ways that social media breaks are beneficial:
You will suddenly have more time- to do whatever you want with it.
You will be more productive with your time
You can start a new hobby or project or simply continue one
You will care less about what other people are doing in their life, and start to focus more on your own.
You won’t miss it as much as you think you would 🙂
Have you ever taken a break from social media? Do you have any tips to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!