Take a social media break and improve your mood. Here’s how!
When social media was created, it definitely changed everybody’s lives. We now have a way to connect with relatives and friends even when they are situated at the other side of the planet. We can make friends from different countries. And we can get updates on not only the people that we care about but also celebrities and VIPs that we love.
Although the online connection has a lot of upsides, the flurry of information from family, friends, celebrities, brands, and ads can be overwhelming. Worse, it can get quite toxic to your mental health.
Just think about it. One minute you’re happy and then you start to check your social media account and start scrolling.
You see a friend posting that she has given birth to her 2nd baby, and you think of how you have been with your husband for over five years now still struggling to conceive.
Then you see a relative posting pictures of her trip abroad and you start thinking about how you can’t afford to even take a domestic flight.
You browse again and read a political rant that makes you realize how ugly the world is becoming.
Before you know it, you are second-guessing everything you have from your life choice, your looks, your government, and many others. Reading all these posts has brought you to an emotional roller coaster of opinions, comparison, and jealousy. The good mood is gone and suddenly, you feel less.
In moments like these, what you need is a social media break.
What is a social media break?
A social media break (also called a social media detox) is simply what the name implies – taking a break from social media.
There are no rules on how long it would take or what limitations you should follow. You do not even have to announce it – you can simply just take a step away.
Why take a social media break?
Numerous surveys conducted across the globe have concluded one thing – those who use social media not only for connection but also for entertainment and relaxation have poorer mental health.
In fact, there is now a condition called “social media addiction” and this is defined as “an uncontrollable urge to log on to and use social media, devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs other areas of life.”
A study even shows that increased usage of social media may contribute to depression.
If social media is the first thing you check when you wake up and the last thing you check before you sleep, this may be unnoticeable. But when you find that you do not start enjoying things before posting them to social media first and are affected by the number of likes or comments you get, the problem becomes more obvious.
Some people do not have social media addiction but they do get triggered by the social media posts of other people. Even a post by a total stranger can easily affect your mood.
Hence, stepping away from social media, even for a short time has its benefits. Studies have found positive connections between a social media break and improved mental health.
Signs that you need to take a social media break
If you are experiencing a lot of the scenarios on this list, you definitely need to take a social media break:
- Comparing your life to other people’s lives and always feeling that you are lacking.
- Frequent frustration over trending posts and topics.
- Spending most of the day scrolling on social media newsfeeds.
- Feeling bad or drained after using social media.
- Feeling disappointed when you are not getting any likes or comments on your posts.
- Neglecting chores, assignments, and work because you get distracted easily by social media.
- Feeling like you are missing out when you have not checked your social media account for some time.
How to take a social media break
Turn off notifications.
Many people keep checking their social media because they get notifications. So go to your app settings and turn off notifications.
Making this small tweak to your phone settings can prevent you from checking your social media account all the time. Now, you will just see the notifications once you open the app.
Delete the social media apps.
If you want to go on a full social media detox, it helps to delete the social media apps from your phone.
This will not delete your social media accounts of course but it will limit your access to them. When you are ready to return, all you have to do is just download the apps again.
Deactivate accounts temporarily.
You also have the option to deactivate your account. This way, nobody will have access to your posts and they have no way to send you private messages.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow users to deactivate their accounts temporarily without having to delete any data on their profiles.
Limit the time you spend on social media.
Completely cutting off social media may be unrealistic these days as it has turned into a major form of communication between family and friends. But you can always cut back the time you spend on it.
According to experts, 30 minutes a day is a healthy amount to use social media.
Monitor social media engagement.
Most phones allow you to monitor how much time, data, and memory you spent on the apps you have.
You can use that to monitor how much time you actually spend using social media. From there, use that to help you determine whether you are meeting your goals or if you still need more discipline.
Schedule your social media activity.
It helps to set aside a specific time to check on your social media. For instance, you can make a rule to check them on your lunch break and before you go to sleep at night.
This way, you do not have to miss out on anything work-related that was sent via social media.
Increase face-to-face interactions.
Spending less time on screen and more time with the people around you can have a beneficial impact on your mental health.
Instead of communicating through social media, why not give someone a call or arrange a coffee date where you can chat and enjoy each other’s company?
Do more offline activities.
Being on the phone tempts you to check out your social media apps. Disengage from the virtual world and find joy in offline activities like joining a community group or club, taking up a new hobby, going on a trip, and many more.
Basically, do things that keep you from checking your phone all the time.
Use social media wisely.
You have to think about the accounts you follow on social media. If they keep posting negative and toxic things, you should unfollow them. Alternatively, you may hide their posts on your feed so there won’t be any drama.
If someone keeps leaving toxic and negative comments in your posts, block them. Follow accounts that give positive content like those that promote healthy attitudes, mindsets, and habits.
You should also assess what you post. Refrain from posting personal life problems that other people will only feast on and gossip about. If a picture does not make you feel confident about yourself, do not post it.
Stop sharing content that encourages negativity. Sometimes, we too are the ones who contribute to the negativity of social media. Let’s not do that anymore.
Setting boundaries for healthy social media use
So, what happens after you take a social media break? It helps to set some boundaries to make it a little healthier for you.
Here are some things that you can do to have a healthier social media experience.
- Limit social media use to 30 minutes or an hour a day.
- Unfollow people and accounts that make you feel negative.
- Remove photos from your own profile that usually triggers a lot of self-judgment.
- Delete any spam, trolling, or negative DMs.
- Unsave those posts that you have saved out of envy or trigger you to compare yourself to others.
- Stop placing filters on your photos and free yourself from the pressure of having an aesthetic feed.
- Leave happy and encouraging comments on the post of others.
- If you find yourself in need of taking a social media break again, post about it and tell them you will be out for a couple of days or weeks. This can remind others that even they can do the same.
Social media doesn’t have to be toxic.
Social media is a part of our lives. Today, it can be hard to imagine what it would be like without these platforms. As we have pointed out earlier, it has its upsides.
Social media does not have to be toxic. All you need to do is use it consciously and balance it out with other activities. Of course, you also need the occasional social media break.
In the end, your social media will stop becoming a black hole that sucks you in and gets you lost in a myriad of information, rants, opinions, and photos. You will find that you can use your social media accounts as a healthy tool for business, connection and self-expression!
Need more tips and ideas for a better and simpler lifestyle? Check these out!
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- Choose to Be Happy: How to Choose Happiness
- Living in the Moment: How to Enjoy the Present!