7 ways to make the most out of a social media break
Whether it’s politics or your most recent break up, social media can make everything that much harder to deal with. Why is that? Social media is supposed to be a way to connect with your friends and have fun, but it can often just exacerbate your hella bad mood. When it starts to actually make things worse, it might be time for a break. We’ve all seen the announcements before: People declare that they’re deleting Facebook for good this time or backing away from Twitter for a few days to take a breather from the news cycle. So what do you do with all that newfound free time? How do you really make the most out of your social media break?
When you think about it, you likely spend a lot of time scrolling through newsfeeds and timelines, so you’re definitely going to need to replace social media with something else.
There are science based reasons to take a social media break.
According to a few studies, there is actually a correlation between social media use and depression. We all joke about FOMO, but researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that social media causes us to be more socially anxious or feel isolated from our peer groups — even though we’re supposed to be connecting with them.
That same study found that on average, adults spend 61 minutes on at least one social platform. To digital natives like us, that number seems low, right? So what are you going now that your scrolling finger is taking a break? Tons of good stuff.
1Create a new bedtime routine.
Your sleep hygiene is so important, and one of the first steps to falling asleep better is cutting down screen time before some shut eye. If you’re not endlessly tagging your bestie in memes on Instagram for an hour before bed, you finally have time to take that nighttime bath to chill out. Or meditate for a few minutes or engage in some other kind of self care you used to think you had no time for. Those fancy masks you bought at Sephora last month and forgot you had? Time to break them out.
2Read those books finally.
How many of us book worms buy too many books at once and then never really get through them? If your commute to work involves public transportation, now you can actually read the book you stuffed in your bag instead of keeping up on whatever your Twitter bubble is angry about before coffee. If you don’t have reading time in the morning, actually reading in a waiting room or on your lunch break or before bed is a much better way to spend your solo time. Imagine having 61 minutes of reading time every day — now you do!
3Get back in touch.
We all have those long distance that we actually only see on Facebook. Some of them you probably still even like! Buy some cool stationary, and send a few catch up notes to your long distance bestie. If penmanship isn’t your thing, emails are totally allowed on a social media break. Write one of those super long ones you promised your friend last time she texted you and you said you’d “catch up soon!”
4Finally do *those things* on your list.
You can waste a lot of time scrolling through Facebook on your couch and then wonder why you’re not productive. Before you go on your social media break, make a list of things you’ve been meaning to do at home but never get around to. Clean and organize your closet. Finally go through your bills and make a proper budget. Go through your junk drawer and make it less stressful. By the end of your social media break, you’ll have your act together and it will feel so good.
5Remember why you’re doing it.
Depending on how long you stay away from social media, your break will be varying levels of difficult. There will be moments when you wonder why you can’t just take a little peek at your friends on Snapchat or check Twitter so you can stay up on current events. There are other ways to do all of that. But to help you stick to it, keep a tiny journal throughout the social media break and write about all the ways your day was different without it. Write about the moments you caved and how you got through them. It may sound a little ridiculous, but breaking habits (and addictions) is not easy. Keeping a journal will help keep you mindful.
6Impress your boss.
How much time do you spend at work on social media? It’s OK — us, too. If you’re blocking social media sites properly and aren’t checking Instagram notifications on your phone all day, you’re going to get through your work to-do list earlier in the day. When you can, actually use that extra time to get ahead on something else so you’re not stressing over tomorrow’s project at dinner. If you’re lucky enough to be able to skip out once things are in order — get the hell out of there! Make the earlier yoga class, hit the grocery store before it gets crowded. Enjoy that extra twenty minutes you just gifted yourself.
7Make it all about self-care.
Everyone has different self-care goals that get pushed aside for lack of time. Instead of using your phone on-the-go for social media, download a language app and pick up French finally. At home, you can journal or try out a DIY craft you’ve had your eye on. Even just giving yourself a mani-pedi will feel more luxurious if you’re not rushed.
It’s not easy to take a social media break, but once you’ve deleted those apps and blocked the web pages, you will feel better. Just like with kicking any other habit, you’re going to need replacement activities. Who knows, maybe you’ll have so much fun, you’ll never go back to social media. A girl can dream.