Through the month of October, I took yet another social media break. This was my longest one yet this year and very intentional. I made sure to delete Instagram specifically because unlike Facebook or Twitter, it has been years since I deleted Instagram off of my phone. My wellbeing was suffering, so social media had to go!
A good digital sabbatical helps me to prioritize my time, increase my productivity, and clear any distractions. I can also hear God’s voice better and I’m a lot happier. How many times have you told yourself you’re in need of a social media break, but never get around to it?
It’s hard to separate from a virtual world that connects us all, unless we are intentional about it. The average person spends approximately two hours a day on social media, which amounts to 5 years and 4 months over a lifetime.
There were times when social media would make me really unhappy. I felt as though I could never measure up. I could never have enough money, friends, or fun. It’s no wonder that frequent social media use has been linked to depression and loneliness. These signs helped me heed to God’s voice, and hopefully may help you in giving yourself a break when you need it.
1. It’s hard to put your phone down when you’re alone or with friends
Do you check social media notifications when you’re out with friends? How often are you taking photos or videos when you’re at an event? It is hard to be 100% present in real life when you’re staying connected to or sharing on social media. It takes time to snap a photo or record a video, add a filter or caption, and then create a new story or post. That also robs us of the time we have to enjoy experiences with others. If we *really* want to share our moments, we can just take a few highlights and share them after they are over. Or we can enjoy these moments without always posting about them.
2. You hesitate or have anxiety around posting
Do you find yourself freezing up or overthinking about what to post or obsessing over the number of likes, views, or comments you’ll get? Other common scenarios include: spending a lot of time editing a photo, thinking about your caption, sharing your post with your friends for a second opinion, or just deciding not to post altogether.
As a content creator, I have felt the pressure. So much, that I took a two-week social media break this year because of it to figure myself out. Posting on social media should never stir anxiety. It should be liberating to share online. But, the proliferation of perfectly curated feeds can truly suck the fun out of showing up when and how we want to. If you find yourself hesitating or having anxiety around posting, you probably need a social media break.
3. You find it hard to share your true, authentic self
This is a big one for me. Does your online personality differ from who you are in person? Do you find yourself holding back for fear that you may be judged? Then you need a break. Social media is a highlight reel. So, it’s becoming increasingly important that people show themselves as being human. Because humans are not perfect. Humans feel real things and we go through some real sh*t. I truly believe in the value of showing up just as you are. The right people care about what you have to offer. And we serve a God who doesn’t ask for us to seek human approval.
4. You log onto social media without thinking about it
Do you check social media when you first wake up or before going to bed? How do you spend your downtime? Or when you’re eating? While in the bathroom? These are serious questions. It’s crazy to think that scrolling through endless posts and videos on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram become second-nature for many of us. There were countless times where before I even prayed or read my Bible and devotional, I’d log onto Instagram. And then a downward spiral inevitably followed.
Here’s an experiment for you: Spend one day documenting how many times you get on social media. I have done this before and was stunned. If you’re scared to find out how much time you spend online, that’s also a sign that you probably need a break anyway.
5. The content you see makes you feel crappy
How often do you get on social media and leave feeling sad, insecure, inadequate, or even angry? If you start feeling bad about yourself when you see something online, consider taking a step away. The comparison/FOMO trap will drain you of joy and stress you out. This trap will also have you going after things that you have no business investing your time, money, or energy in. Having discernment is key!
6. You struggle with productivity
How often do you find yourself procrastinating because you’re online? Do you find yourself focusing more on what others are doing rather than what you could be doing? Do you have trouble finishing your to-do list? One major secret to getting things done is to have really good time management. It gives you control over how you choose to use your day. If you struggle to check things off of your to-do list or find yourself distracted by online spaces, a social media break may be just what you need to get things done.
And that’s a wrap! Did any of these signs resonate with you? What are some other signs that you need to take a social media break? Share in the comments!