How to Take a Break from Social Media
By: Jasmine Lorraine Lahori
I’ve been there. Those late-night social media scroll sessions where you find yourself in a hole of niche content? That would be pretty hard to explain to a friend especially when you’re feeling delirious at 3 AM. Sometimes it’s a sign to take a break. But why is it even necessary to take a break from social media?
We use social media as a means to connect with others, stay up to date and also discover our interest. We also spend an average of 144 minutes a day on social media, an increase of 62.5% since 2012. According to Broadband Search, considering the average person will live to 72, On average we will spend 3,462,390 MINUTES on some form of social media.
Social media platforms can feel suffocating, especially when we live in an age of digital media being so instant, it can feel like a competition. According to childmind.org, constant connection with social media can increase the likelihood of developing unhealthy behaviors: most commonly linked to depression, eating disorders and anxiety.
So now what? You’re not feeling your best and you think social media may be behind it. Here are some tips on how to take a break, and best use your time.
Or better yet, delete the application from your phone. You can always re-download it and this is an easy way to disconnect. You don’t have the temptation of just opening the app again. It’s always a good idea to let friends now you’re taking a break before you stop posting all together. Tell friends and family to contact you through text or phone if it is urgent.
Stepping away from social media doesn’t have to be extreme either! For example, deleting Twitter from my phone will mean I check it less often. It doesn’t mean I don’t log in from my laptop and check every couple days. It’s all about moderation; you can pick and choose which platforms you take a break from.
Pick up a Hobby
Platforms like Youtube and Pinterest have a plethora of knowledge available at your fingertips for free. Find tutorials on how to make your favorite recipes, paint for the first time or simply support a really cool content creator you connect with. Even disconnecting from your regular social media can be a relief. You use this a great opportunity to explore what you truly enjoy. Search for ideas and inspiration that pique your interest.
Applying to jobs soon? Need help brushing up your resume or refreshing your Microsoft Office skills? There are so many articles that can help you not only improve skills but refresh your memory or even teach you something new. Don’t underestimate the power of media to only be for connecting with others. Education is an invaluable tool. Take advantage of the accessibility.
Explore New Sounds
That explore feature on Spotify? I could get lost in there for hours. Spotify has a substantial library of radio dramas, podcast, talk shows, horoscopes, spiritual advice, lecturers and ambient sounds. Use new music to be more productive during your workout or study session. Get out of your comfort zone and listen to some Lush Lo-fi! It’s personally my favorite playlist to study to on Spotify.
Use this time that you normally would use scrolling through social media to be active and take on those adult responsibilities. Maybe that hour between your classes you spend on Snapchat could be used to organize your assignments, schedule that payment for your light bill, respond to emails or maybe just reviewing your notes before class. It is possible to use downtime effectively, but don’t feel guilty for taking breaks or just not doing anything. If that midmorning Snapchat session keeps you going, do what works for you. Besides, a life that is all work and no play isn’t any fun.
Seriously! Find food that nourishes you and is especially tasty. It’s easy to eat mindlessly if we are scrolling through our phone. Enjoy eating food with friends and embracing each other’s company. Even better, go to a restaurant you’ve never been before and eat food from cultures you’ve never had before. Feed your curiosity and get out of your comfort zone.
Spend time with People You Love
I know. This one is a little out of left field. It’s hard to remember what people did before Instagram existed. Weather permitting, my favorite thing to do with a friend was grab an old quilt, a book and some snacks and just go to a local park and enjoy time together. Sitting under trees, the feeling of grass tickling your legs, or even just the smell of fresh air was one of my favorite ways to remember how precious life was. How fleeting time is and how life, regardless of what stage we are in should be cherished. Schedule that coffee date with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Call your mom. Seriously, she probably misses you! And most importantly, enjoy all the world has to offer.
Explore your Local Area
Remind yourself why you took a break in the first place. This could be a great time to find cool organizations to volunteer with. There are people in need everywhere and donating an hour or two of your time to a local non-profit can do wonders: or maybe just resume building. If you feel so inclined, join support groups, art classes, go to live music concerts at that local coffee shop. Seriously! Go out and support the people living in the same community as you. Don’t forget to take pictures and post them later: that way you can truly savor those moments together.
With all of this, I hope this was a good motivator to decrease your social media use. Even so, before making your big debut back to social media be mindful of how you want to spend your time on social media. Maybe it includes setting a timer while scrolling through your notification feed, or even only checking the profiles of your friends and favorite accounts to catch up on everything. There’s a solution to everything, maybe not overnight, but take to opportunity to do some of that self-care. Connecting with others is what makes life fulfilling; not how many followers you have or keeping up with the latest trends. Do things that truly make you happy and share that with the people who care.