If you’re thinking about taking a social media break chances are you’re feeling burnt out, stressed, and completely over the social media world. We’ve all been there but not all of us take action and give ourselves the social media break we so badly need.
Social media has been proven to affect mental health in a more ways than one and with anxiety and depression on the raise, there’s no question that taking a social media break can drastically improve your life. But will it be as simple as it sounds?
Can you quit social media one day and feel completely at peace the next?
Our editor in chief, Tammi, took a 3 month social media break and her experience proved otherwise. She experienced many ups and downs, almost quit half way through, but eventually found the peace and clarity she was looking for.
In this article we’re sharing what she learned during her social media detox, why it’s important to take a break from social media, and giving you some tips on how to take a social media break as well.
What is a social media break?
A social media break, also known as a social media detox, is removing yourself from all social media platforms for a set amount of time by logging off the apps, deactivating your accounts, or deleting the apps off your phone. Many people take a social media break to improve their quality of life in some way, shape, or form.
Why it’s important to take a break from social media?
It’s important to take a break from social media because many studies have shown that there is a direct link in social media and failing mental health. Spending too much time scrolling can increase feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and can keep you out of touch with the real world.
Related reads: 40+ Frightening Social Media & Mental Health Statistics
7 signs you need to take a break from social media
If you’re wondering if you should do a social media detox or if you need to take a social media break these 7 signs can help you identify your answer.
How long should a social media break be?
If you can relate to the 7 signs, then you may need a social media break and you might be wondering how long your social media break should be. The answer is based on what goals you’re trying to reach during your detox. A good starting off point would be 30 days.
5 things you should know about taking a social media break
Now its time to dive into the real honest truth about quitting social media. You may be surprised to learn that while there are many benefits to a social media break there are also some downsides, especially if you relied on social media for income like our editor in chief did.
You may struggle with your identity but you’ll get to know yourself in ways you haven’t before
Your presence on social media is essentially your brand. Whether you’re using it to build a business or not, what you post and how you show up on the platform is a big part of who you are. It is your identity on screen and sharing your life, over time, becomes your outlet for self expression.
But when you remove social media from your day to day life, you might start to wonder who you are without it. You might question if you’re still the same person if you’re not sharing photos and videos online, and you’ll most likely start to question what’s next for you now that social media is no longer apart of your routine.
But through those same questions you’ll start to learn new things about yourself and you’ll get to know yourself on a deeper level without all the noise and outside influence that is social media.
It’s so easy to be influenced online and to become someone you are not. But taking a social media break will give you the chance to become the most authentic version of yourself without comparing yourself to others. It really is a win win.
You’ll learn how to find validation from within and your self worth will improve
Maintaining an active presence on social media can quickly lead to basing your self worth on likes, comments, and shares. Taking a social media break to fix this problem can be helpful but it will be a hard transition. Here’s what Tammi had to say about this:
“Without social media it felt like there was this gaping hole in my life and I felt really lost. I had put so much of my self worth into a world that was not reality and now that it was gone I felt worthless.“Tammi Solis, Editor In Chief, Girl Unfinished
Basing your self worth on social media platforms is easy to get caught up in but it’s not a fair gauge on self worth due to ever changing algorithms, saturated platforms, and also the fact that it is not the real world. If and when you decide to take a social media break, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to engage in self care activities so that you can learn to find inner validation and grow your self worth based on your own self love.
To read more about Tammi’s social media break click here: Is Quitting Social Media The Ultimate Form Of Self Care?
Friendships might be hard to keep up with and FOMO will set in, but you’ll grow closer to your family
The old school ways of communication are long gone. Many people now communicate solely through social media apps and DMs. If this is your current way of communication know that keeping up with your friends through phone calls, text, and in person meet ups might be hard to do.
You may also have FOMO set in which is Fear Of Missing Out on things happening in the online world. This can get so bad that you might want to cut your break short and sign back on to see what you’ve missed. But you’ll quickly be let down to find that nothing has really changed.
In short you’re probably gonna feel out of touch and like people are going to forget about you. But instead of rushing back into social media, use this time to focus on the relationships that really matter like your kids, your partner, and other important family members. These genuine connections are more important than any online relationship you could ever have.
You’ll have plenty of extra time so you’ll need new outlets for creativity
You’ll be shocked at how much extra time you’ll have during your social media detox. You might find yourself getting bored or even feeling sad. Too much free time isn’t good unless you’re using it wisely so we recommend you prepare yourself for this by finding other things to focus your energy on. You may also need to find new creative outlets and fresh avenues for self expression.
Your mental health will fluctuate but ultimately it will improve
When our editor, Tammi took her 3 month social media detox, she felt like a weight had been lifted and she was very happy with her decision at first. But 3 weeks into it the pleasantries had faded and she was back in a mental health slump.
“The transition phase was really setting in and I was starting to see the big picture of how different life was going to be now. I was so blinded by loss and unproductivity that all the good parts of this new way of life felt very out of reach for me.”
It wasn’t until she turned to her self care routine and found new things to focus her energy on that she started to feel better. Around the 2 month mark she was gaining clarity and a fresh perspective on her life. At month 3 she says she felt like a brand new person and is currently still enjoying her time off social media.
How to take a social media break
Here’s a few quick and easy steps that will ease you into a social media detox and help you learn how to stop the scrolling for awhile.
- Step one: Gradually slow down on your posting.
This will help you get used to not posting and give your audience an idea of what’s going on.
- Step two: Turn off all your social media notifications
Go to settings>notifications>(social media app name)>toggle “Allow Notifications” to off. This one simple trick will immediately decrease your screen time on social media apps because you won’t be tempted with all those notifications popping up.
- Step three: Start tracking your screen time
Your phone has the ability to track your screen time and when it is set up you can view your phone usage for the current day or the past week. This will help you see your progress over time which will give you a tiny bit of satisfaction and keep you on track. To set up screen time go to settings>screen time>see all activity.
- Step four: Set specific times for social media scrolling
This will help you ease into scrolling no more. Set times that will give you what you need but not keep you going down the scrolling rabbit hole. Start with a set amount of time then gradually make your scrolling time smaller and smaller.
- Step five: Prepare your final post and announce your social media break
If you don’t know how to announce a social media break don’t worry! Just make it short and simple and cut to the chase. Or you can also say how you really feel and why you’re making this decision in support of your mental health. We recommend the ladder, you might receive some major support and also encourage others to do the same!
- Step six: Delete all your apps off your phone and use the browser to log on
This is a big step but one that is very helpful in the process. It’s not a cold turkey stop its more like a gradual ease into it. You will notice that browser scrolling is not the same as app scrolling and eventually you’ll be scrolling less and less with this step.
- Step seven: Log out from all apps from the browser and delete the browser page
This is your final step to starting your social media break. At this point you’ve stopped posting, you’ve minimized your scrolling, and you’re ready to be completely off social media. You did it!
- Step eight: Commit to focus on new things during your social media break
You’re going to need others things to focus your energy on now that you have all that free time on your hands. You’ll also need a new creative outlet for self expression. Prepare for this and commit to the journey!
Final thoughts taking a social media break
It’s important now more than ever that people take time away from their social media platforms. The online world has changed and it can easily ruin your mental health if your not careful. If you’re thinking about taking a social media hiatus, we highly encourage you to do it! Go out into the world and start exploring and learning about yourself. Now is the time to be mindful and experience every moment as present as you can. No more head in the phone, no more missing out on precious moments. Take that break girl, you won’t regret it!