Social media brings us closer to others, but it can also bed addictive and isolating. Here are 3 signs you need a break from it.
The existence of social media has resulted in a double life for many of us. While it provides us with connections to people from all over the world and keeps us informed on important events, it also makes it difficult to stay present. Some people are skilled at disconnecting from their phones and laptops, but the vast majority of us have some form of strained relationship with social media.
This year has been a particularly grueling one. A limited amount of options for going out, the forced separation between loved ones, and the constant toxic news cycle make it very difficult for us to take a break from our devices. Still, going on a social media break is a big ask, particularly when spending large chunks of time at home.
“Seeing others’ curated, polished images of only happy moments or attractive photos can set up an unrealistic expectation of ourselves and the destructive experience of constantly comparing oneself with others,” psychiatrist Christine Moutier tells Self . The constant use of social media can increase symptoms of isolation, anxiety, depression and people’s self-esteem. While it may feel like social media is making you feel connected when you need it most, the opposite is what might be going on.
Fortunately, you can control your social media breaks . There’s no wrong way to do them. While you can choose to eliminate all social media profiles and apps from your phone, setting up some basic boundaries is enough. Try this change for a week or two, and see how you feel. Adapt as you go along.
Here are 3 signs you need a social media break:
You have trouble getting things done
When something is consuming your attention, it’s very difficult for you to focus on your work and relationships. If you’re finding it difficult to do the things you have or want to do because you’d rather scroll mindlessly through your feed, it might be time to ask yourself what’s going on. Social media is a great distraction, but it’s one that leaves you feeling empty, like you wasted your time on stuff you already knew.
Your downtime is consumed by social media
Most of us spend our downtime on our phones, so it’s difficult to know if you’re going overboard with your social media habit. But some alarm bells should be ringing if you find yourself constantly drawn to your phone, even when you’ve just checked your timeline or you’re trying to do something else. Set some parameters for your social media usage, either by using your Screen Time settings or by controlling your impulses.
You have no time for your hobbies
The pandemic has robbed a lot of us of the inspiration and pleasure we gain from our hobbies. Now that we’re some months (or is it years?) into the pandemic knowing that it’s not going away anytime soon, it’s important to prioritize the stuff that makes us feel happy and fulfilled. Start off slow, challenging yourself to small chunks of time focused on doing something you enjoy without having any phone time, whether it’s a sport, reading a book or indulging in a hobby. Or, hey, turning your mind off completely and meditating is also a great option!