Why I’m Taking A Break From Social Media

Hint... I'm going on vacation!

I love social media! In fact, it’s part of my livelihood (you may or may not know that I’ve recently started a consulting business to supplement my income. One thing I do is Facebook Ad management). Social media is great for staying in touch, connecting with friends and keeping current with family. It’s great for news, networking, and resources. It can also be a huge waste of time. Or worse!

Break From Social Media

Last year I decided to take a break from social media while on vacation. One of the best vacation decisions I’ve ever made! I had every intention of writing about my experience but just never did. Tomorrow I’m heading to Myrtle Beach with my family for a week and I’m going to take another break from social media.

My #1 Reason To Take A Break From Social Media

Social media can be such a time waster! What I realized last year after my vacation social media break was that I didn’t really miss anything. I enjoyed time with my family that was uninterrupted by social media updates.

The most significant take away was reflecting on the fact that I wasted a lot of time checking updates that really don’t matter that much to me. As important as pictures of food, other people’s kids I’ve never met, and things that frustrate people are, they really don’t impact my life.

Lots Of Reasons To Take A Break From Social Media

Here are my top 5 reasons for taking a break from social media…

(1) Wastes Time. As stated above spending time on social media can take us away from the priorities of any day… quickly!

(2) Feel Like A Loser. The more we see the “perfect life” others post the more we can feel like a loser. However, it’s important to remember that people usually just post the good stuff. Don’t make too much of the “perfect life” you see in others. We can’t get the whole story on social media.

(3) Superficial Relationships. How many of those “Friends/Followers” do you really know? Probably only a handful. Social media can foster a facade. It can also be a catalyst for making great connections and friends, just beware of what’s real and what’s not.

(4) Distract From Important Relationships. While we’re busy connecting with all our “Friends/Followers” online it’s easy to neglect the important people around us. Fight the challenge of being gathered in one room with faces in screens rather than connecting with each other.

(5) Unnecessary Drama. It’s easy to write or comment in ways that are unnecessary and get misunderstood. This is especially true when we’re commenting or writing to people we don’t know well and don’t know us. Keep unnecessary drama away. I’ve had to learn this the hard way!

Scientific Reasons To Take A Break From Social Media

There are many reasons to take a break from social media, as stated above. But I found this helpful article put out by Bustle.com in June 2016, “4 Science-Backed Reasons To Take A Break From Social Media,” that puts science to it.

They state in the intro…

… recent research out of the University of Pittsburgh that found a correlation between time spent on social media and risk for depression: As the former increases, so does the latter. Although of course correlation is not causation, the increase is substantial and linear, implying a direct relationship between the two.

Wow, that’s scary and I find it increasingly true.

Here are the “4 Science-Backed Reasons To Take A Break From Social Media” from Bustle.com, with quotes taken right from their article:

(1) Social Media Can Isolate You From The Real World.

Both being alone and feeling lonely (two different things) are on the rise, with an even sharper increase in recent years. We interact face-to-face less; we gather less; we have fewer meaningful connections. Loneliness isn’t just a mental state, either; it has physiological effects, too, such as weakening our immune systems.

(2) It Encourages Your Competitive Side To Come Out, But Not In A Healthy Way

Competition is in almost everyone’s blood, but many of us will fall prey to that drive to get as many likes, followers, etc. as possible — at least more than your friends. The real danger here is that we let it define our worth as human beings, which is obviously a bad thing. No social media post validates who you are as a person; so why do we stress about how many people “like” us?

God and the truth of His word should be our source of true identity, not social media.

(3) It Feels Like It’s Constantly Comparing Your Life To Everyone Else’s

While you might assume this effect of social comparison only occurs when you browse the pages of people you perceive to be more attractive, successful, etc., the same study found that the more time you spend on social media, the more depressed you can feel while browsing anyone’s page, regardless of whether you perceive them to be better or worse than you.

(4) You Can Become Addicted To Social Media

… yes, you can absolutely become addicted to social media, and it largely stems from something called FOMO: fear of missing out. People are posting some of the tiniest details of their personal lives online, and we have to see it. The inability to quit social media has even been labeled “social media reversion,” and in a study where people were challenged to stop using Facebook for 99 days, many couldn’t make it past just a few.

Helpful Tips

I’m not suggesting we cut social media out. But vacation gives me a great opportunity to take a healthy break from it. I’ll take some time to process and pray about in the next week and adjust accordingly.

Helpful tips from the last year include:

  1. Don’t check social media first thing in the morning or last thing at night. The things we feed our minds with first thing in the morning stay with us throughout the day. Choose to feed your mind wisely. Similarly, at night our minds need time to wind down in order to power down for healthy rest.
  2. Set appropriate times throughout the day to check social media. Get the first and most important work done BEFORE checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIN (or whatever social media you use). Take work breaks that reward productivity to check social media.
  3. Put your phone down or away when you’re home. Set guidelines for yourself and your family, if you have one. For us, we put phones on the counter before dinner and leave them there with little exception.

QUESTION: what have you done that helps keep a healthy balance with social media?