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Did you know that the global daily average time spent on social media for 2017 was 2 hours and 15 minutes? That is DAILY! I am a big fan of social media but that stat alone makes me pause and think about taking a social media break.
Social media can be great for so many things. I still know what high school friends are up to even though they moved states away. My kid’s great-grandparents can see videos of them almost in real-time when I share them on Instagram.
But I also can see a downside to too much time spent scrolling feeds and have recently started taking a scheduled social media break once a week.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU NEED TO TAKE A SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK?
There are several signs that you might be due for a social media break. You might relate to all of these, or just one – but these are all important signs that may let you know that social media is currently too big a part of your daily life.
STUCK IN THE COMPARISON TRAP
After seeing pictures of your friend’s kitchen remodel on Instagram do you think: “Wow, her kitchen looks so good. They must have really worked hard to make that happen. I hope she loves getting to cook more with those double ovens!”
OR do you think: “Wow, her kitchen looks amazing. I wish my kitchen looked like that. But my kitchen cabinets are all dinged up and we don’t have room for double ovens. Ugh, my kitchen sucks.”
If you have thought anything along the lines of version 2, it may be time for a social media break. And maybe even a gratitude check.
LACK OF PRODUCTIVITY
As recently as – literally just now when I was writing this post – I was distracted by my Instagram for 20 minutes.
Social media kills my productivity and, studies show that I am not the only one. If you are not getting as much done as you would like to each day, try taking a social media break for a day or two and see how much your productivity increases.
I have found that when I do social media free day, I end up getting a lot more things done because I don’t lose the minutes because I don’t get sucked into a black hole of endless Facebook scrolling.
There are a lot of things you can do to boost your productivity, but spending less time on social media is going to get you big results fast.
FEELINGS OF ANXIETY OR DEPRESSION
There can certainly be some serious side effects of too much social media usage. During political seasons, I almost have to stay off social sites completely because things get really vile and I end up panicking to my husband about how it seems like the world is going to end.
But after a few days away from Twitter, I remember that there still are delightful people in the world and that the sky is not actually falling.
Social media on its own is not going to give you feelings of anxiety or depression, but other people who use it are not using it with the intention of building you up and encouraging you.
As you look through your social channels this week, be conscious of what type of thoughts you have while you interact with social media and during the hours that follow. Are they mostly positive? Or are they leaning heavily to the negative side and leading you to worry about other things?
If you start to notice yourself feeling more dreary after looking at your feeds and reading comments from people you follow, it is time to unfollow those people and take a social media break.
ADDICTED TO THE VALIDATION OF OTHERS
Did you know that our brains actually release a chemical into our bodies when we see that people have liked our posts? It can give us a rush of dopamine when we know that others have interacted positively with us and that chemical actually reacts the same way as cocaine might.
It is easy to get addicted to that chemical which is really tied to validation from our followers, some of whom we don’t even know in real life.
That addiction is very dangerous because it is much less noticeable that you are coming down from a high like you would notice from an actual drug. Instead, you just start craving the next dose of double taps from your followers.
And if that cute photo of you and your dog doesn’t get a certain amount of likes (obviously people would be crazy not to like it), you are left disappointed and longing for more.
If that sounds familiar to you, like you are seeking after likes from people on social channels, it is likely time for a social media break.
Are you in need of a social media break?
It may be time for you to step back from social and schedule a social media-free day once or twice a week.
I promise you that while you are away from social media, there will still be someone to like that pic of the new baby will “all the rolls”.
There will be someone to comment on your friend’s photo of her new kitchen.
And you will be much happier letting those responsibilities go for a while.
So when are you scheduling your social media break?
Let me know in the comments below!
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