How to Take a Break from Social Media

I had a moment during quarantine.

But didn't we all?

It wasn't necessarily because I was getting cabin fever or that the people/animals in my house were driving me crazy. It was just my brain, moving, nonstop.

I needed to change things up.

I thought… maybe I should take some time off work? That might be good. I didn't have a vacation planned anyway and here we are in this crazy weird pandemic situation. This could be a good time to take a breath and absorb what is happening.

But for me, social media is not just a fun way to connect with people. It is my work. So to take a vacation means taking a break from social media. Otherwise… it's a slippery slope.

I realize this isn't the case for many people, but what is the case is that we can all use a break from the incessant scroll.

You know what I mean. The thing we do when we wake up, when we go to the bathroom, when we're waiting in line, when we're trying to find something better than water boiling, and then in the hour before we go to bed.

Yeah, that social media scroll.

Has anyone else found it absolutely fascinating that even after scrolling social media all. day. long. we never seem to run out of a feed to scroll?!

Yeah, I was ready for a break.

Since this is even harder for me to do with loving my work so much, I thought I would share some of my tips for you if you think a social media break is in your future.

My Tips For a Social Media Hiatus

Schedule It

HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE you know you saw that coming.

This is something I learned while on the break. It felt so refreshing just after one or two days that I realized it needed to be a regular thing. Kinda like vacation time. It can get away from us.

Being sure to put some future plans on your calendar to disconnect from social media is great self-awareness and mental clarity for the fact that you're making yourself a priority. Go ahead and do it now. Whether you need a hiatus soon and you're going to schedule it next week or you feel like you're going to need it a very specific point in time so you're refreshed for an important moment. Book that digital vacay, baby.

I've decided this is going to be a 3-4x annual occurrence for me. You might decide you need more or less. Scheduling one break is a really great start.

Announce Your Time Away

I think this one will depend on the person. Let's use the Four Tendencies accountability personality quiz as our guide. I'm an “upholder” according to Gretchen Rubin's famous test, and that means I am held accountable both internally and externally. So I don't necessarily need to announce the break to be held accountable to do it, but I might announce it so that my wonderful community knows that I'm okay and nothing bad has happened to me. (Bless you for caring!)

Now, if you took the quiz and you're an “obliger,” then you need external accountability. So making a grand social media hiatus announcement to your networks is a great way to make sure you stick to your break.

If you do decide to talk publicly about your hiatus, good for you. You're helping others see how committed you are to your mental health and helping others to consider their options as well.

A happy medium? Just throw your OOO message in your bio. Kinda like the “closed” sign when people pop by your shop.

Delete the Apps From Your Phone

No one said anything about not using your phone! I still love to use my phone for the things that are useful. I followed so many baking recipes on my phone on my hiatus!

So to make sure that I don't subconsciously drop into Twitter or Instagram out of complete habit, I delete the apps from my phone.

Don't worry! Your accounts will still be there. No one is going to delete your tweets. Just redownload and relogin and you're good to go when you're back online.

But it's unreal how we just automatically open some apps on our phones without even thinking. Keep yourself from doing that by just getting rid of them.

Block Social Media Pages with Browser Extensions

There are so many options available on the Internet to keep you focused and off the websites you don't need to be one. Use these to your advantage by activating them for your hiatus so you also don't accidentally head to Facebook when you accidentally type the most popular URL of your life for the last 15 years.

Some great extensions to keep you focused are StayFocusd, Work Mode, and Cold Turkey. Check out this list for more!

Plan Your Other Plans!

If you don't have any other things to do when you're on a social media hiatus, you're going to quickly fall into the trap of breaking your break. Make a list of the things that you've been wanting to do but haven't been able to make time for.

Did you want to have 10 books read in 2020 by this point and only made your way through 1.5? Make a stack of books and grab your bookmark.

Have you been wanting to reorganize your home office to be a dream sanctuary to write morning pages? Throw on your Fabletics and pump up the jams. It's time to freshen up, donate your unneccessaries and move some furniture! Sounds like a blast to me.

Regardless of the projects you've been hoping to dive into, if you don't plan them in advance, you greatly increase your chances of falling back into your scroll. Don't let that happen.

Have an End Date

Just like all good things, there must be an end. When you start with an end in mind, it feels much less like an impossible task. Choose the last day of your hiatus so you can embrace how sweet your victory is that evening. When it's time to get back to “normal” the next day, you will be able to do it with a fresh mindset and new things to talk about!

QOTD: Have you ever taken a social media break? Tell me how it went in the comments!

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