Can you remember what you did with your time before the internet gave birth to social media?
My husband refers to facebook as waste book.
It wasn’t until a few months ago, after suspecting that my sleepless nights, anxiety and mood swings were being made worse by the headache of ‘keeping up’ and that taking a break from social media was what I needed to do, did I realise that he was right.
Damn it. I hate it when that happens.
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Taking a Break From Social Media. Yay Or Nay?
There are some social media die-hards that will look at you gone out if you mention that you are considering taking a break from the world of fake news.
I think my son might be one of them.
You might as well say you are thinking of taking a rocket to Mars.
“How will you know what’s going on in the world?”, they ask.
You see, social media has managed to wangle its way into our lives nicely – under the disguise of being good for us and ironically enough, the most antisocial activity that was ever invented, poses under the description of being ‘social’.
Newsworthy or Nosey Parker?
I hate to say it, but I think we’re all just a bunch of nosey parkers with too much time on our hands.
Why else would we care that the chocolate dessert our cousin is eating in Vegas has got a strawberry candle whizzing from the top of it or that our neighbour’s cat licked her bum in time to their kid playing Titanic on the clarinet?
But before I try and convince you that a break from social media will be good for you; let’s look at both arguments for staying plugged in or taking a break.
The ‘So-Called’ positives of social media.
You feel connected
Whatever that means.
If you are someone who has no friends or family around them then yes, social media would alleviate that feeling of loneliness – I get that, and no, perhaps a life without social media is not something you would be happy with.
Ermmm. What else?
You Can Use It For Self Promotion
You can market your business. Or the fact that you lost two pounds over the weekend. Or both.
Yes. I agree that social media channels are an effective way to market your business.
Here’s how this works. You have an online business; a blog, a shop etc. You go ahead and make a Facebook business page (or Instagram or Twitter, or all if you are dedicated and serious and desperate) and then you try and spend as much time as you can on that channel connecting with prospective ‘clients’.
I won’t lie; for me, this is painful.
I have a blog and I work hard at promoting it in whichever way I can.
But it’s not easy.
Social media is not my strong point. I am a talker and one line captions don’t really fit with my big gob.
And I’m shit at Instagram.
Last year I posted a photo of myself in a ripped bra saying how disgruntled I was with Berlei for making a piece of underwear that only lasted me nine years – I think the hashtag was #pissedoffwithbra
It didn’t get many likes.
Just a comment from some random lurking weirdo who said “nice”.
You can offer support to people
If you want to support ‘your friends’ then pick up that thing that sits in the hallway and call them. Dial their number and say “hello. It’s me. Want to chat?”
That’s what real-life support looks like. As opposed to social media support which looks very much like this: “You ok hun?” ” (or even worse) “Love u, babe”.
No, you don’t love me.
You could only just about muster up enough energy and enthusiasm to write three words – and one of those was a letter; so no, I’m not entirely convinced that the good support network argument would stand up in court.
Pick up the phone and have a conversation. It will make you both feel 100% better.
Why You Should Take A Social Media Break. (The Most Obvious Reason)
It makes you feel like sh*t
Sorry, but it’s as simple as that.
When did Facebook and Instagram go from being happy and lovely and keeping in touch with your friends to leaving you feeling like a worthless shit mother, wife and friend? I mean, really?
Sadly, feeling inadequate is just one of the many emotions social media can bring to the surface.
6 (Harmful) Emotions You Experience When Spending Too Much Time on Social Media.
Guilty over the fact that you don’t look at your teenage kids the way that woman does.
Or that your laundry basket is made of crappy cracked plastic and hers is made of smooth recycled bamboo tree stumps – lined with organic free-from-cruelty-to-penguins cotton.
Anger at yourself for once again wasting an hour scrolling through utter crap that hasn’t benefited your life one way or another in any shape or form.
Of your precious time.
Here we are telling people we are far too busy to start that new yoga class or cook healthy meals, yet we will happily spend an hour or so a day scrolling through the feed of regurgitated spew.
What do we see when we turn to Instagram, Facebook or Youtube?
Women who have their sh*t together.
Women who are far more beautiful than us.
More successful than us, more productive, happier, taller, funnier, curlier, straighter, kinder, sexier. Than us.
Spend thirty minutes on social media and it can leave you feeling a little like a piddly brown tadpole in a swimming pool full of lord leaping emerald frogs.
‘It’s Rachels birthday!’ Screams Facebook amidst floating psychedelic balloons. “Congratulate Rob on the fact that he’s been at work for a year!” suggests Linkedin.
Who’d have thought it? You. Sticking your job for a whole twelve months and all. What a bloody legend.
And If we don’t wish these people well or send the obligatory ‘HB” message, then we spend the rest of the day feeling like we are bad, selfish people and worry about the sky falling in and crushing us.
We’ve all been there – me included.
There you are, having a mediocre night at the local pizza joint with your family and suddenly someone thinks it would be fab to take a photo and show the world that you chose the Margherita without basil.
“Smile,” you say as you hold the phone at arm’s length. (Hold that jaw up! Nobody needs to know that you have three chins – not when you are about to tuck into your cheesy thick crust pizza).
And, as if by magic, it is captured – the fake version of your life. Tah Dah!
The image that is going to make some poor soul feel like crap for the rest of the day because the last time she took her teenagers to the local pizzeria everyone had an almighty row and she ran out to the car, sobbing.
5 Emotions You’ll Experience When You Take a Break From Social Media
As well as sucking hours of your time, studies have shown that social media use is linked to loneliness and depression.
And life is too short to feel sad while lining Mark Zuckerberg’s pockets.
So. It’s time for a detox.
Are you ready to break free of the social media chains and start to enjoy a positive, healthy life?
Ok then. Tell your close friends and family of your plans and go ahead and delete the apps from your phone and favourites.
Don’t worry – you are only taking a break, you don’t need to live a life without social media forever. This is merely a break to see how you feel.
And know that by removing the apps, it won’t delete your account or your information. They will all still be waiting for you when you get back.
Take a break from checking, scrolling, liking and posting and after a few days, you will feel:
Sorry to start with a downer but this emotion is unavoidable.
You will imagine the hundreds (but in reality, it’s only four) comments that are waiting for your attention. A quick like.
A smiley face.
The polite follow backs, the birthday wishes, the congratulatory champagne emoji, the hashtags. We all like to feel special, to feel connected and wanted. Taking a break from social media is no mean feat, it is quite enormous.
Be gentle on yourself.
Be warned, you will feel guilty – it will only last a day or two at the most, but you will have those feelings.
After two days max you will feel as though a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders. I promise.
Some people only need to be off social media for a few hours and they start to feel better.
I’m being honest here, and I’m only telling you because this is one of the emotions that I felt.
Just as a reformed smoker suddenly starts telling everyone about how their breath smells, so the woman who is taking a break from social media will want to tell the world how wonderful it feels to be rid of the Insta addiction and the time-sucking facebook scrolling that drains you.
Feeling righteous is acceptable (after all, you have been strong enough to kick a habit into touch), but all the same, it’s not an attractive trait; keep your smugness to yourself until those around you are ready to take a social media break of their own accord.
If you are the kind of woman that has ever done anything out of the ordinary, then you will know what I am talking about.
There is something quite beautiful about losing sight of the crowd, stepping out of the box, going against the grain; it makes you feel unique and yes – special.
You will notice that every day you now have at least an hour free time (and I’m guessing probably two or three) to do with what you please.
Taking a detox from social media channels allows you the time to invest in yourself.
Indulge in some self-love exercises. Take that class you have promised yourself, read that book that has been sitting beside your bed covered in dust for the past few months – read it.
I know it’s not easy starting something new, but this is your chance! Plant those lettuce seeds you’ve had in the garage for three weeks – watch them grow into a healthy and nourishing sandwich filler that will feed you and the kids with lunch! Take up meditation, paint your nails.
For Pinterest ⇓
Taking a Break From Social Media. What it Looks Like In The Real World.
Listen. I’m a realistic woman.
I have two teenagers who are practically glued to most social media sites.
(I put that photo in to make you feel better!)
I know that this superficial world is not going away anytime soon.
I do know that as women we can choose to take control. We are not mindless puppets who have to scroll their fingers along our shiny screens just because the tinkly bell has told us to do so.
We didn’t get through the 1980s in shoulder pads, give birth to babies, teach them to walk and talk, all to be told that we must now compete with FaceTuned teeny boppers.
We are far stronger and more dignified than that.
So then. When you are finished with your detox and are ready to once again enter the world of the swinging bell and hashtags, know this.
You are in charge. Social media isn’t the boss of you. You call the shots. You’re the Mummy.
Allocate a set period of time within your day that suits you. Spend this time mindfully. Be utterly present. Enjoy social media, guilt-free.
That little button at the side of your phone? Press it. Go and grab yourself a cup of tea (or wine if you are a friend of mine) and breathe out. Let it go. Send it up to the cloud. Smile. You’re gorgeous. Just the way you are you are gorgeous.
And so is your laundry basket.
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And lastly, please! If you know of anyone else that could do with taking a break from social media then please feel free to share this post with them. On social media. In your allocated hour.
Or, even better, phone them up and say hey! This post is amazing!