We often call the next generation and children today as “digital natives”. They’ll grow up being more familiar with social media and the digital landscape instead of interacting with other kids. Some of them may even be considered addicted to internet.
We often show disdain at such an idea but we ourselves don’t necessarily give up our dependence on social media, especially given how it affects our daily life.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean we should remain dependent on social media forever.
In fact, there are actually ways in which we can start to “de-stress” and take a break from our social media habits. A lot of this can seem overwhelming at first, but this is actually a very plausible idea that has its merits.
So, how exactly do you start taking a social media break?
Genuinely think about the benefits you’ll reap.
Reflect and think about the benefits you’ll be receiving once you start taking a social media break. Try listing down the things you’re missing out on or things you’re not enjoying because you’re too engrossed with social media.
Then, try checking if there’s something you can do to remedy the situation. That way, you can justify yourself — in a way you understand and accept — that taking a social media break is possible and necessary.
Remind yourself of the goals you want to achieve.
Once you’ve started to feel like social media has been occupying your head, you might need to take a step back. Look at how social media affects your goals, personal or otherwise.
How is social media affecting your goal to get that dream job? How is social media affecting your goal to spend more time with family and friends?
Start reconnecting with your personal values and see how you can change your social media behavior to reflect it.
Once you feel like social media is becoming overwhelming, try to assess and realign your personal values.
Why are you using social media? Do you think you’re becoming a better person because of it? How can you use social media to help support your goals and help you become a better friend or family member?
The above two tips might not be directly related to a social media break, but they can definitely help convince you to take one.
Disguise it as another non-digital activity.
If you can’t deal with the idea of taking a social media break, you can always think of it as “something else” entirely. It can be in the form of a hobby, exercise or even just spending time with pets or your friends. This only works if it’s an activity that doesn’t involve using your digital devices.
Sometimes, if you’re having a hard time stomaching the idea of a social media break, you need to disguise it as something else so it feels “justified”. And while it might seem like “cheating” the idea, it does make a lot of sense. This is important if you’re also using said activity for a particular benefit other than just “having a break.”
Try to set no-phone zones inside the house.
If you feel like your social media activity is becoming too intense, try to establish places at home where you can’t use gadgets. These can be in the bathroom, the dining area, your bedroom or even in the backyard. This allows you to slowly realize, even in small time frames, that you can “live without social media”.
Try to pursue other activities
Consider working out, jogging, playing board games or even talking with your friends and family (personally!) instead of doing things related to social media.
You can even go out and do journaling in a quiet park. The point of this is to establish that you can do far more productive things even when not using your phone.
Integrate your breaks into your routine.
One of the reasons why we can’t get a break from social media is because we’ve relied on it as part of our routine so much. So why not do the same with a social media break?
Think of resting from social media in the same way you take a break when you eat or when you need to sleep. It has to become a seamless part of your routine so it doesn’t seem like it’s “intruding” in your day-to-day affairs. And interestingly enough, forcing yourself to adopt such a mindset may be able to help you see the relevance of taking a social media break.
Start thinking of your breaks as a necessary part of your daily life.
In the same way that you “automatically” go down to eat during mealtimes and when you “automatically” go to the bathroom for breaks, you can start forcing yourself to actually take your social media break as though it’s a normal part of your life. The key here is not to think “you’re transitioning to a break” but rather “just think you’re already doing it for the past years”. You’d be surprised at how quick your body adapts to such a mindset.
Create opportunities for your body to automatically go to a social media break.
For instance, you can have your charger placed in a location you have to walk to. That way, you’d feel lazy to pick it up whenever you’re downstairs talking with family. The same thing should work if you’re eating dinner and want to stay away from your phone. Put it somewhere far and you’d be surprised that you’d rather finish the meal and talk with family than check notifications.
Start playing game or watch videos.
You’d be surprised to realize that you can do a lot more things with your social media time than pursuing ‘likes’ and checking notifications.
Actually include it in your schedule.
If you think you can’t get a social media break because there’s “no time in your schedule”, then now might be the time to actually make time for it.
In today’s society, everything is important for as long as it’s on a schedule. And we often forget that our mental well-being is also just as important as our work and being able to pay the bills.
If you find it hard to get a social media break, you might need to convince yourself that taking a break is advantageous to help you perform your obligations correctly.
Try creating a “schedule” for social media breaks that coincide with other things you’re already doing.
Do it when you eat with family and friends, while you drive or during the commute. These short breaks can give you time to think about things you want to pursue or thoughts you might have been “hiding” or repressing.
Enforce your schedule to yourself.
In the same way you’d force yourself to stay focused when attending meetings or when you need to pay attention to your work tasks, you need to treat your social media breaks from the perspective of necessity.
Remember to tell yourself it’s necessary to take breaks so you can feel energized and more focused. Applying this mindset will constantly remind you of how these breaks can affect other important things in your life, so you may get motivated to take these breaks more often.
Social Media Break: Destress From the Pressures of Digitalization
With the above tips in mind, you’ll hopefully be more acquainted with yourself and your capacity to enjoy life to the fullest without having to rely on social media. Given the sheer complexity of the dynamics that social media has with our life, it’s understandable how getting a social media “detox” can be scary. However, it’s also extremely manageable and possible with the right planning, research, motivation, and execution.
If you have tips in mind you want to share with others and fellow social media users, feel free to comment them below!