Social media occupies a big place in our lives, but when does it become too much? Use this decision tree to assess if you might benefit from a social media break.
For many of us, social media is an important part of our life, and blocking these apps completely might not be realistic nor something we want to do (13). Fortunately, there are multiple ways we can step back and take a break from social media. It does not have to be all or nothing. Here are some examples of what a social media break can look like (5,7,13,14):
- Gradually reduce your average time online.
- Limit your social media use to a specific time period each day (e.g., during lunch time) or week (e.g., only on the weekend).
- Have one social media-free day per week.
- Unplug completely from all or some social media platforms for a specific period of time (e.g., one week or one month).
- Limit the purposes you use apps for (e.g., only looking at content posted by friends).
How you choose to step away and take a break really depends on what your goals are (5,7). Here are some tips that can help you with your goals (5,7,13,15):
- Turn off your notifications to prevent unsolicited distraction.
- Delete one or all social media apps from your phone and/or computer
- Leave your phone in a different room.
- Track your social media usage and set time limits.
- Curate your feed – Unfollow accounts that trigger negative emotions.
- Turn off personalized recommendations for posts and ads that would otherwise keep you scrolling.
- Focus on in-person rather than online connections.
- Share your goals with others to improve accountability and allow them to respect your boundaries (e.g., asking friends not to share TikTok videos with you).
Social media can trigger negative emotions and damage our mental health, making us more anxious and depressed (5,10,16). Reflecting on how you use social media and how it makes you feel is one way to take care of your mental health (7). Sometimes a little break is all we need… ❤️