It's the Social Media Breaks for me

What are your social media boundaries? If you can clearly answer this question, I’m impressed. But if you haven’t yet defined what those boundaries are or what it might even look like for you, you’re not alone. Social Media apps are enticing – they’re an outlet to keep up with your friends or the latest trends, follow your favorite celebrities or brands, or to scroll through hilarious memes and reels. It’s also the quickest way to highlight and update your circle (or audience) on your life – especially when “you’re living your best life.” What’s not to love, right?

If you were able to answer the last question quicker than the first, now we’re talking. Let’s get REAL. First, I want to clarify that I’m not opposed to social media apps, I’m a fan of Instagram and might even jump on the Tik Tok bandwagon eventually to see what all the hype is about. However, like in every healthy relationship, setting boundaries is essential. Specifically, setting boundaries with your social media usage can improve your social media habits, but most importantly it can lead to a better relationship with yourself.

While the apps give you incredible access to simple pleasures, insights, and information there is a downside. You might find yourself numbingly scrolling through stories before you realize you’ve spent several minutes being unproductive, you might notice you mechanically open the apps when you’re feeling bored or anxious, you might even start your morning peeking through stories. I get it – I’ve been there. Until I was challenged by one of my best friends Steven (who doesn’t engage with social media whatsoever) to take a break and live a day in his shoes.

I unplugged from social media for about five months for the first time back in 2018. Some of my friends and family find my “will power” fascinating. Although my first break did take some cojones, the outcome shifted my attention and perspective in such a special way that I’ve routinely embraced social media breaks every year since then. I do it to take better care of mySELF. So, I invite you to be curious about what a social media detox might mean for you. Here’s what unplugging has meant for me:

  • It means OWNING my time to be more productive whether it’s reading, working out, committing to my task at hand, taking undistracted hikes, organizing my home, etc.
  • It means REALIGNING with my mind, body, and soul by being more present with my feelings and thoughts. We sometimes jump on the apps to avoid ourselves and our feelings which can be invalidating and disempowering if it becomes a habit. Feelings are meant to be felt and worked through – not to be feared and avoided.
  • It means DEALING with my anxiety. During the first break, I realized the number of times I reached for my phone was during uncomfortable moments. Your phone is such a good tool to escape from your anxiety and from others. Overtime, my anxiety subsided because I broke the habit and learned to lean in on myself fully.
  • It means VALIDATING myself. I was still socializing with my friends, going out, doing all the fun things – but the lingering thought of taking a picture of my moments to share with others went out the window. I enjoyed the moments silently within, and nobody else needed to know about it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting exterior validation, it’s natural, but make sure you appreciate and validate yourself first and foremost.

I admit, five months is extreme, but I'm an extreme gal. When I go in, I go all in! Again, you get to decide your journey and define your boundaries. It’s grave to remember WHY you’re doing it. If you want a simpler approach, here are additional social media detox ideas and suggestions:

  • Take baby steps: Unplug for a couple of days or a week. Consider a week when you have an important task or project to handle.
  • Prioritize your day: Unplug during specific hours of the week. Consider dinner time or date nights when you want to be fully present. 
  • Break the habit of checking social media first thing in the morning: Consider altering your morning routine to ground yourself, detached from other influences.
  • Unfollow accounts or people: Consider unfollowing those that bother you in the spirit of feeling good. 

So, are you up for the challenge? If so, please let us know your experience!

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