How to Take a Social Media Break
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and who knows whatever else social media platform is out there that we’ll end up getting hooked on. As a blogger and podcaster I spend a lot of time sharing the projects that I’m working on and geeking out about the stuff that my friends are working on too. But, if I’m going to be really honest-I don’t really need an excuse to be on social media. There always seem to be something good, bad, or crazy happening that I felt like I needed to know about…until I didn’t. At the end of 2017 I started to notice that I was feeling depressed. Not just a little depressed, but, really depressed. I decided that one of the things I would do to deal with the depression was to take a social media break. I’m so glad that I did. It was GLORIOUS!
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How To Take a Social Media Break
I thought that it would be hard to do. That I would miss out on everything that was going on (forgetting that everything that was going on was what was bringing down my mood). I didn’t miss out on anything and I ended up feeling refreshed, re-energized and had my productivity shot through the rough.
Before you get started you need to be clear why you’re taking the break. In reality, social media is not a necessity for anyone’s life. It’s just a tool to get people to connect online. As a person who helps people connect so that they can make more money-I see the value (and sometimes the fun) in using social media until things get out of hand.
I decided to take most of the month of December off of the following platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Facebook in particular had become a place of seeing constant posts about the President, anger, people fighting and being polarized. I was over it.
I decided to ease people into the fact that I would off of social media. For a number of people this is the only way that they are in touch with me. Especially, friends/acquaintances who live out of town. I did a simple countdown that caught people’s attention and then I shared several posts detailing that I would be off of social media for 3 or 4 weeks.
I didn’t schedule any posts to be released during my social media break, but because I’m running a digital business, I will schedule posts the next time I take a social media break (because there will be a next time!).
For those of you who are worried about people being able to reach you…think about it this way…if you truly want them to get in touch with you-they would have your telephone number or email address LOL!
If you’re worried about missing out on the news. In a year that was filled with:
- Angry Politics
- Crazy weather
And more, it’s ok to be out of the loop for awhile. In fact, I found it to be a relief to know nothing and avoid having to comment or engage on any topic that had worn me out emotionally. I loved knowing nothing for awhile. And, let’s be honest, if something big had happened during my social media break someone would have mentioned whatever it was.
The Practical Stuff
- The Apps-I removed the apps off my phone
- Additional Media-I also decided not watch the national news during the morning. This was especially difficult for me because I grew up with the habit of watching the news first thing in the morning.
- Decide on the length of time for your break
- Leave a post on your pages sharing that you’re on a break and when you’ll be returning. This is important so that people don’t feel like you’re being rude if you don’t respond to a comment or interaction on your site.
Then, enjoy your break. During your break pay attention to the following:
- How you feel-in my case, I felt FANTASTIC. It actually shocked me how fast my mood picked up by removing social media from my life.
- Not needing to document a moment-I love taking pictures, but, I enjoyed not documenting every moment I was in and just being in the moment.
- Habits-I initially noticed that I would keep looking at my phone to see if I had notifications.
- Clarity of thought-I noticed that the white that was constantly in the background that my brain was preoccupied with-was completely gone. I was able to focus more.
- Calm-I felt much calmer as each day went on.
Now, 2017 was a crazy year and I do think that social media amplified the crazy and the anxiety that I was feeling as a result of all of the stuff going on. Basically, if there were no social media and all of the same stuff had happened I would still have been stressed out, but, social media just made it 10x worse because I just couldn’t escape the crazy.
Back on Social
As a blogger and podcaster I’m on social all the time. I’m going to be honest and say that at the end of my break…I didn’t want to rejoin social media. I wanted to walk away and never use it again. But, social media factors very heavily in my business model right now. So, I can’t stop using social media right. What this meant was that I would have to make some changes so that I could avoid being driven crazy by social.
How I Handle Social Media NOW
Here is a list of some of the things that I’m now doing to manage my interactions with these platforms better.
- Set a timer-I know that I need to check my social media feeds throughout the day. But, instead of hoping on a platform and getting sucked in for 20, 30, 45-minutes, I time it for about 10 minute increments.
- Changed my perception-Social media is necessary for my business NOT my life. It’s a business tool, not a life tool.
- Know my values-I value in person interactions. If I’m interacting with the same people constantly online and they live in town, I move our interactions to a coffee shop, walk in the park, or happy hour. If they live out of town, I get on a FaceTime or Zoom meeting and have a real talk with them.
- Turn my phone off-If my phone is turned off and resting on its screen, I don’t constantly look for notifications.
- No News in the Morning-I’m talking the National News. I woke up at least a minimum of 10 times last year where I woke up and saw the crazy that happened overnight. And, I just thought WTAF?! It’s a horrible, horrible way to wake up. So, I avoid the news like the plague in the morning.
- 1st Thing in the Morning-I’m trying to alsoavoid looking at my phone first thing in the morning. I realized that this is difficult to do if my alarm is set on my phone. I’m switching to my travel alarm so that I can avoid using my phone first thing in the morning.
I should mention that Instagram is my absolute FAVORITE platform! Who can beat: hot guys with beards, cute babies, stunning travel pictures, recipes, and personal finance posts? Follow me HERE on Instagram. I find Instagram to be the most enjoyable social media platform. And, I have had a lot of fun doing daily live streams for my 365 Days of Live Streaming Challenge.
I’ve also scheduled shorter week long breaks throughout the year. I won’t have to announce those breaks and they will be very healthy and helpful for me. I plan on doing a 4 week break for the month of December and I plan on sharing pre-recorded content for my video/live streaming challenge.
Have You Ever Taken a Social Media Break?
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