Social media is beneficial when used constructively but has many negative impacts. When you become addicted to social media, you will be obliged to spend so much time that you are left with limited time for other activities. Some top social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, Reddit, YouTube, and LinkedIn, among others.
Some of the benefits of a social media break include reduced anxiety and depression, reduced stress, better sleep, and a boost in mental health and well-being. To break from social media, you need deliberate measures such as deleting social media accounts, blocking social media websites, setting goals, and replacing social media with other activities, among other ways.
When you break from social media, there are numerous benefits that you will get. In this article, I will discuss everything you need to know about the benefits and the more significant challenge of how to break.
The Life-Changing Magic Of A Social Media Break
Social media break is a life-changing course that is worth a try. But, most people would ask, “does taking a break from social media help?” Of course, numerous life-changing benefits come with taking a social media break.
Recent studies show that about 5 to 10% of the United States population are at risk of social media addiction. In addition, several studies have linked social media addiction with anxiety, stress, depression, FOMO, and loneliness, among other adverse effects.
Breaking from social media comes with great and valuable benefits for anyone addicted to it. That includes reduced anxiety, improved overall mood, a break from the bondage of social comparison and feeling of inadequacy, and better productivity, among other magical benefits.
What Is A Social Media Detox?
Social media detox refers to a period of time when you deliberately eliminate the use of social media, including deleting social media apps from your phone and even disabling social media accounts to avoid consuming or checking on them until a certain period when the detox period ends.
Typically, the social media detox period is 30 days. However, some people may do a one-week break, while others may even go for up to a year without consuming social media content. Social media detox is important for mental health conditions, enhancing self-esteem, and reducing anxiety, among other benefits.
How Much Social Media Time Is Healthy?
According to studies by clinical psychology experts, spending less time on social media can lead to positive impacts and better mental health. That enhances the overall well-being and comes with life-changing benefits. The recommended time to keep to social media, therefore, should be less than 30 minutes daily.
How Social Media Affects Mental Health
Social media can push you to be glued to your phone for many hours, especially when you are addicted to it. Going through posts and checking on your friends on social media, the comments, the likes, and shares, and seeing that they have excluded you, not commented or liked on your photos can have a negative impact on mental health.
Also, when you spend so much time on social media sites, you tend to feel that your friends or peers are doing better than you, and perhaps they are even faking it. That feeling of inadequacy can lead to stress and may even lead to depressive symptoms.
Another way that social media usage can lead to poor mental health is when you spend so much time on it that you become unproductive, develop poor sleeping patterns, and eventually fail to achieve your goals. That may come with depression as well; hence, you need to control your time on social media.
Signs You Definitely Need A Social Media Break
There are positive effects that come with using social media. However, social media addiction also makes it difficult for you to focus on other things. This reduces productivity and also has an impact on mental health. Psychological experts warn that excessive use of social media can even lead to depression. Therefore, you need to watch out for signs that would definitely mean you need to have a social media break.
These signs include:
Being Constantly Annoyed
When social media users browse through social platform posts, they may not miss some irritating remarks, comments, headlines, or negative critics that will make them feel annoyed. Sometimes they even feel the urge to respond rudely, and if they don’t have self-control, they will find themselves immersed in some arguments or destructive conversations that would even worsen their state of mental being.
According to Dr. Aron Balick, “the capacity for emotional contagion of anger has increased. So, certainly, you will see anger crossing to the populations more easily.”
This is even worse since social media has behaved more like a competitive field where everyone wants to top others. So every time you compare yourself with your peers on social media, you will always feel you aren’t doing enough to match their level, which sometimes is a faked life for publicity.
Therefore, if you find yourself comparing yourself all the time with your peers, and the urge to compete, it is time to stay away from social media.
Of course, social media, especially when you become addicted to it, can ruin your productivity. You will even find yourself arguing with your peers or discussing something that is not worth it until there is no time for work. For instance, if you spend about 4 hours daily on social media, that is a lot of time you could have spent on something else.
Therefore, the best thing to do at this point is to have a social media break.
What Are The Benefits Of A Break From Social Media?
Breaking from social media is a remedy for so many problems. But, as I noted, social media can cause addiction that would otherwise cause many problems, including mental health issues and depression. It also consumes so much time and productivity and can make you feel inadequate, especially when you compare yourself with your peers.
It is beneficial to have a social media break and social media detox if you are to continue living a healthy and productive life. However, even a 30-day break can yield some positive results.
Some of the many benefits of a break from social media include the following:
When you break away from social media, you even get time to connect with friends and family and develop healthy relationships. However, it is a fact that social media can ruin your relationship with friends and family since when you are addicted to it, you may not find time to interact with them.
Psychologists have pointed out that spending much time on social media leads to increased irritation, distraction, and reduced quality time. That means you don’t give quality time to your close family and friends, and when you break away from it, that quality time to spend with family and friends becomes available.
Spending a lot of time on social media is not a good thing since it leads to that feeling of inadequacy – that comes from comparing yourself with your friends or peers. That, if not controlled, can cause stress. Also, when you spend much time on social media, you feel isolated and irritated, and anxiety and stress can easily set in.
However, when you break away from it, the stress reduces since there is no trigger to it.
Boosts Mental Well-being
There are several negative impacts that social media can have on the overall health and well-being of an individual. For example, many studies surrounding social media and well-being indicate a close relationship between social media and characteristics of depression, decreased productivity in place of work or even poor performance in school, and delayed sleep, among other impacts.
Breaking from social media, therefore, helps to bring about balance, better productivity and performance, and better relationships with people. This helps to boost well-being and to eliminate the feeling of inadequacy.
Many people addicted to social media find themselves going to sleep too late at night and even waking up late. This pattern, when it continues, would affect your everyday life and productivity. Due to a changed sleep pattern, some people may even find it hard to fall or stay asleep, hence the cause of insomnia.
In addition to that, when you sleep late and perhaps you have to wake up to work early, that will affect you the next day since you may feel sleepy or unrefreshed to be productive in your work.
When you break the bad habit of social media, it will help restore your typical sleep pattern, and hence you get enough sleep, which will help you feel refreshed the following day.
FOMO refers to the Fear of Missing Out. It is a theory that was first used by Harbus academic article in 2004, and currently, it has been used in many instances to reflect how people feel when they don’t show up or are not active on social media.
If you have been active most of the time on social media, the time that you don’t log into your social media account is when you will feel like you have missed something important that others have gained. However, when you continually miss out on social media, that feeling disappears, and you get back to normalcy even without social media.
Anxiety is one of the negative impacts of spending a lot of time on social media. For instance, when you post something, you become anxious about who will comment on what and how many likes or hearts you can get, which may even affect your self-worth.
Getting away from social media for a certain period of time will help ease that anxiety since you are not eager to comment or watch who will comment, like, or even share your posts.
It Prevents Depression, Anxiety, And Psychological Distress
One of the biggest benefits of staying away from social media, you are yourself, you can be productive, you can eat well, have quality time for your family, and you can have healthy sleeping habits. All these are beneficial when it comes to boosting your mental health.
Of course, when you are off the social media hook, you can think straight and make rational decisions without comparing yourself with your friends on social media. This is important since it helps to prevent depression, anxiety, and psychological distress, among other negative effects.
As I have noted, it is easy to feel unworthy when you compare yourself with your friends on social media. But unfortunately, most people live fake lives for the sake of social media but are suffering to please others hence not living their lives to the fullest.
Breaking away from social media and limiting your screen time will help you develop yourself and avoid comparing yourself with others. As I also mentioned, when you compare yourself with others, you feel that you are not doing well, which can even damage your confidence or self-esteem.
While off social media, you can see and appreciate your worth and the small achievements you make.
Social media can make you waste a lot of time doing nothing. You may sit the whole day following other people’s stories, reading comments, or even getting engaged in conversations that are not helpful.
In addition, you may even end up sleeping late and waking up feeling tired or unrefreshed. When that is the case, you even become a procrastinator, which hugely affects your productivity in your work or performance in school. Without social media, a break from it would help give you more time to engage in productive activities.
How Long Should Your Social Media Break Be?
There is no specific time limit for social media breaks. It depends on your goals and what you want to achieve. The social media break can range from a few minutes per day, one week, 30-day social media detox, to even years. If you are affected or addicted too much, then you need more time than someone who is not addicted to it.
Will I Lose All My Social Media Followers?
When you break from social media for a specific period of time, you don’t lose your followers. For instance, if you are taking just 30-days off, your followers will remain, especially if you have given them a note that you are taking a break for a certain number of days.
However, if you are breaking completely or for good, automatically, you will never connect back with them. After a long time of inactivity, you are likely to lose your followers and your social media account.
How To Actually Make It Happen
If you have contemplated breaking away from all social media platforms, you need to put that into action because you will reap so many benefits from that. As I have noted, so many benefits come with breaking from social media or a social media detox, such as mental health benefits and building positive relationships.
You may want to start with a short break, say a 7-day break, to see the changes and whether you can manage. Then, of course, the social media habit or addiction forces may draw you back to it, but you need to have some good strategies to break up, which would even help you go for a long time without social media.
Some of the helpful tips for breaking include the following:
Create A Goal
What do you want to achieve by breaking away from social media? First, of course, there must be a goal. Maybe you want to enhance your productivity and performance, get rid of anxiety and stress, reduce symptoms of depression, have quality time with your family, or even improve your sleep pattern.
In addition, you need to set a goal on the number of days you want to break, whether a week, a month, or even a year, and that goal will guide your actions.
Inform Friends And Family About The Break
When you inform your friends and family that you are breaking from social media, that will help you commit yourself to that break since you will fear showing up when you have already shared with your friends that you are breaking away for some time.
It is also important to keep your friends abreast of the period of time when you will be away from social media. That will act as your accountability since you don’t want your friends to start feeling that you are not disciplined or principled.
Stop Posting Using Social Media Apps
Social media apps make it easier to access social media than the actual login using browsers. If you want to keep away from it, the best thing is to freeze those apps or uninstall them. It all depends on the type of social media app you usually use, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
If you leave those apps and want to break away, it would not be easy since you will still receive push notifications that would be tempting. As a result, you may find yourself checking on those notifications and returning to social media again.
Turn Off Notifications And Set Virtual Boundaries
Sometimes, notifications may come to your email, and if you follow them, you can still find yourself on social media. Therefore, it would be prudent to have those email notifications turned off for the period you want to stay away from them.
It is also essential to set boundaries on what not to do with your phone, tablet, or laptop. For instance, if you see some push notifications, you should be guided by your principles not to open, and also, if you have frozen your apps, you should stand by your principles not to unfreeze until your breaking period ends.
Logout Of All Your Social Accounts, Even On The Browser
Logging out of your social media accounts is also one of the best practices if you want to break away from it. Check all your social media apps, even the browsers, and ensure that you are logged out of all your social media accounts.
When you log out, you also stop receiving social media notifications, which would make it easy for you to stay away altogether. It would even be better when you log out, and you don’t remember the last password you used to log into your account.
I mentioned stopping using the social media apps or freezing them. Another way to do it, especially if you are a social media addict, is to delete those apps completely. When you delete them, it would be difficult to install them before the break period ends, especially if you are determined to complete the social media break that you have set.
Block The Websites
Another way to break entirely from social media for a certain period of time that you have set is to block the websites. That means your computer or phone IP address would not be able to access the social media websites.
You can learn how to block some websites you don’t want to access, and when you do so, you will know how to block all the social sites you are breaking away from. This will be helpful since whenever you feel like resuming, you will not be able to access the sites.
Have A Friend Change Your Passwords
When you don’t know the password to log into your social media account, it becomes difficult to check-in. For example, suppose you are addicted to social media and have difficulty keeping away or have a habit of resuming even when you have set boundaries and vowed to stay away. In that case, you can have a trusted friend change your password.
That could be your wife, a brother, or a trusted friend. Let them know the period you want to stay away from, and with that, you can easily manage.
Replace Social Media With New Activities
Instead of spending time on social media, you can use that time for other activities such as studying or pursuing a course that would be helpful. You can even use that time to exercise, watch a movie, or do something else that is constructive.
When you are engaged in other activities, you will not have idle time to check into social media. With a goal to stay away, you will find it helpful to pursue something other than wasting time on social media. Of course, social media can be beneficial when you use it constructively, but when you become addicted to it, that is when you start realizing some negative impacts.
Find Other Ways To Stay In The Loop
If you rely on social media for news, you can find other news alternatives so that you don’t get addicted or feel you are missing out. For example, you can read newspapers, watch TV news, or even subscribe to news feeds, among other ways. Also, interact with people, and you will always stay abreast of the current trends even without having to check social media.
In addition to that, if you have been using social media for business purposes and at the same time you are addicted to it that you even follow up on different stories, you can find alternative ways to do business without social media.
Spend Meaningful Time With People
Another way to break from social media is to spend meaningful time with others. Social media can make you feel disconnected from friends, and you will often feel lonely. Therefore, if you want a break, you should dedicate all that time to your friends and family, which is more of a principle than a restriction.
Look For Activities Or Tasks To Replace Social Media
What else do you love? Of course, apart from your daily work routine, you can engage in activities that you are passionate about, such as sporting activities or any other task that would engage your mind constructively. But, of course, that should come with a goal you want to achieve, especially to break for a certain period without checking on social media.
A social media break is not an easy course, especially if you are addicted to it. However, when you are determined to achieve that goal, you can definitely achieve it. As I have mentioned, it is also important to note that social media can have so many negative impacts on your life, and breaking away from it comes with so many benefits that I have also discussed.
Therefore, if you have been into it and have felt some negative impacts such as anxiety, stress and depression, feelings of inadequacy, and other effects, it is time to break! But don’t be hesitant to do it!