How to Take a Social Media Hiatus
Although social media allows you to stay connected to people in a unique way, it can also have toxic effects on you. Whether you’re absorbed with Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter, the barrage of information you take in each day could mean you’re due for a social media hiatus.
A hiatus — an interval of time where you pause — can allow you to take a step back from interacting with followers, maintaining your aesthetic and getting caught up in the world of the internet. Signing off from various platforms can feel like you’re separating yourself from the world, but a social media hiatus can offer a much-needed chance to be present.
What’s the best way to take a rest from social media, and what are some signs you need to detox for a while? Let’s look at common reasons to take a social media hiatus and the best strategies for remaining off these platforms during your break.
Signs You May Need to Step Back
Evaluating your social media usage is challenging, but it can help you determine where you can improve. If the following signs resonate with you, you can benefit from a social media hiatus:
- You’re overwhelmed by the noise of social media.
- You react to comments in an unconstructive way.
- You rely on validation from likes, favorites and comments.
- You waste excessive amounts of time.
- You’re disconnected from your relationships with friends and family.
- Your self-esteem is low due to unrealistic expectations.
- You get separation anxiety when you’re not on your favorite platform.
Strategically Discipline Yourself
When you decide to log off from social media accounts, the first step is setting up ground rules for yourself. How long do you want your break to last? Maybe your hiatus will last a few hours or a month. Decide on a minimum amount of time, and if you’re enjoying the break, you can always extend it.
Next, let people know you’ll be gone. This gives close friends a heads-up on how to contact you and gives you a chance to spend face-to-face time with them.
Finally, you need a plan to keep you from impulsively returning. Almost 80 percent of social media time is spent on mobile devices, so your smartphone is one of the main temptations for logging on. Here are some methods you can use to stick to your hiatus.
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1. Temporarily Block Apps
Time-tracking apps are useful for measuring how much time you currently spend on social media. To avoid certain apps for a set period, use a block to curb your habit. Help Me Focus is one option that allows you to automate specific days and hours to restrict you from your chosen apps.
An IOS feature, Downtime, cuts off access to apps during the hours you set, which is ideal for a shorter hiatus. Maximize these tools to prompt an intentional approach to phone use.
2. Use a Support System
Your personal connections, like a significant other or a friend, are effective sources of accountability. Ask people you trust to hold you to your word and check on your social media usage. You can reinforce your commitment to the hiatus with their help.
3. Replace Your Screen Time
After you realize how much free time staying off social media provides, you might not know how to fill your schedule. Incorporate valuable activities for worthwhile engagement. Go for a hike or meet with a friend for coffee to bring authentic moments into your routine.
Tips to Take an Effective Break
Now that you’re equipped to avoid social media during your break, you can reflect on ways to fully capitalize on your time away from these platforms. Here are a few tips that can guide you through your hiatus experience.
1. Cut Comparison Out
When the highlight reel of others’ lives is always in front of you, it’s easy to compare yourself and lose confidence. You can also have a tendency to overthink how people see you and how your relationships measure up. Recover from overanalysis with a healthy mindset. A hiatus can reduce your urge to envy other lifestyles and situations.
2. Refocus on What Matters
Constant notifications and messages can distract you from what you find meaningful in life. You can detract from your relationships when you’re wrapped up in your online persona and digital connections. Spend quality time with those you care about to recenter your life.
3. Get in Touch With Reality
Appreciating the present is difficult when you’re interacting over the internet. It can feel like a breath of fresh air to give your attention to the people directly around you. Value genuine experiences when you shift your focus from the artificial world of social media to reality.
Take a Refreshing Break From Social Media
When social media holds too much control over you, it’s time to reorient yourself. Time off from these internet platforms can rejuvenate you and help you sort out your priorities. Enter into a social media hiatus to separate yourself from toxic influences.
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Also published on Medium.