If you want to start taking a break from social media, you are not alone. Many people are looking for ways to distance themselves from social media and all of its adverse side effects. The average person will spend about 2 hours and 15 minutes daily scrolling through various online accounts.
But, taking a break from social media isn’t just about the time you want to get back. We take a look at the mental, physical and productivity side effects here.
Positive Effects on Mental Health
Have you noticed that your time spent on social media isn’t enjoyable? Or, maybe you started to realize that you felt more anxiety when your phone chimed after a social media post than before. Social media has a direct effect on our mental health. Taking a break from social media can help you restore peace of mind.
1. Prevent the Likelihood of Depression or Anxiety
The connection between websites that try to keep you connected and depression is more present than ever before. Research has shown us that people who use multiple forms of social media have increased risks of depression and anxiety.
But, heavy users who have 7 or more social media accounts are more than 3 times as likely to develop depression when compared to the people who used only 1 or 2 forums for social media. You might see this and think that there's no way you have 7 or more social media accounts. But, here is a list of popular social media mediums:
You probably noticed these social media forums all have a different appeal that draws in users. While snapchat is great for sending funny videos to friends, it comes with the same depression risks as LinkedIn which can direct your career.
2. Learn to Say “No” to the Unimportant
Maybe 10 or 15 years ago it would be incredibly rude to look up from a phone and ask “what?” to the person in front of you, but now it’s so common we don’t usually notice. Social media use can make you believe that the people behind their screens in faraway places are more relevant, needy, or important than the person right in front of you.
Some people who use social media as a tool for the job don't know when to put their mobile device down and have a real conversation. But, this life skill can come in handy.
When you take a break from social media, you can identify and choose which conversations are meaningful and which are not. Take advantage of this power and put it to good use. Encourage other people to have more face-to-face conversations with you as you take your social media break.
3. Stop the Fear of Missing Out
The fear of missing out is so real that we gave it an acronym: FOMO. This feeling is almost wholly unique to social media. As you read through the best version of everyone else online you start to question if what you’re doing with your time is really, worth your time.
Without social media this feeling is rare. But, when you sign on to social media and see the people traveling, eating at world-class restaurants and skydiving, your night-in starts to look pretty dull. But you weren't unhappy about staying in until you logged on to your social media account.
Taking a break from social media kills the FOMO cycle. You don’t have to fear that you’re missing out on anything.
Physical Health Benefits of Taking a Break from Social Media
The physical effects of social media are more concerning than many people would like to realize. There are 2 significant factors that come into play when we look at what is possible when you put social media down for a while.
4. Get Quality Sleep
Phones emit blue light, and this blue light can directly affect your body’s ability to make melatonin. Melatonin is the brain chemical that tells your body to get sleepy. So, if you’re lying in bed watching YouTube videos or reading something on Tumblr, you’re damaging your bodies preparation for sleep.
But, when you put social media down you are less likely to be on your phone before bed. That means that you can regain your natural melatonin manufacturing cycle and get some quality sleep for once.
5. Stop Risky Behavior
The worst part of social media is that it lets people only show the best parts of their lives. For some people, they log in and see wild parties with drinking and possibly drug use. Other people log in and see travel bloggers who appear to be traveling alone into foreign countries unprepared.
This image isn't a realistic representation of either side of a single person. Many travel bloggers know how to prepare themselves to enter a foreign country with different laws and customs. Many people don't party to excess nightly. But, seeing this on a social media account that you follow makes both of these high-risk behaviors seem entirely reasonable.
Stopping risky behavior is a positive physical health benefit of giving social media a break because you don’t feel the pressure to outperform yourself. Take the pressure off yourself and do activities that you enjoy.
It's ironic because social media should make your life more productive because you're not spending time getting lunch with friends. Instead, you're spending lunch posting on multiple social media forums, so your friends know that you are still there. So, what can you do with the time you’ll get back?
6. Increase Productivity Later with a Walk Now
When you are taking your break from your workday, you should get out of the building and take a purposeful stroll. This is different from aimlessly wandering around the building for 10 minutes with your favorite social media feed in front of you.
Walking with purpose and taking note of your surroundings will increase your focus later because you gave your mind a break and your eyes a bit of exercise. When you are working your eyes, remain focused on the task in front of you. But, as you take a walk outside, they wander, and this is a type of eye exercise.
But, because you chose to give your brain a break, you'll see a spike in your attention span. Another possible productivity benefit from taking a walk without social media is an increase in creative thinking.
7. Schedule the Important First
That 2 hours and 15 minutes a day the average person spends on social media is ripe for the taking when you are giving social media a break. But, what’s even better is that the time that you will gain back isn’t a giant chunk that you can use collectively somewhere else.
You will be getting the 135 minutes of social media time back in small but meaningful chunks of a few minutes, and then you get a bonus. You can schedule the aspects of your day that are important and know that you are giving these tasks your full attention. Which means that you will have much more time to work with than the 135 minutes you cashed in from social media.
As you learn to schedule the important tasks first and put social media aside, you will shorten the time it takes you to accomplish repetitive tasks such as getting ready in the morning.
8. Feel Your Accomplishments
When you are in the social media cycle and can't get out, you feel as if you must start the next task right away because you don't have time to acknowledge what you just accomplished. But, with the time that you're getting back from not being on social media, and the time you have from developing speed in your schedule, you will have time.
Take advantage of the moments between tasks to appreciate what you accomplished. You can choose to treat yourself or own your success but either way, this boost will carry over throughout your day.
Celebrating small accomplishments can help you take on more significant or meaningful work with a new determination. If you were staring at the report on the edge of your desk for days, try to accomplish something small first.
Feeling accomplishments between tasks is a productivity snowball. Eventually, you will be working with the force of a positivity avalanche behind you as you accomplish one task after another.
Take a Break
These positive benefits can come from avoiding social media for a few hours, a few days or even longer than that. There isn’t anyone telling you that you need to go your entire life without technology. But, a short break specifically from social media can help you hone in on the positive aspects of life and weed out a few bad habits.
This list of positive benefits that come with taking a break from social media will hopefully inspire you to schedule a social media detox. Maybe you will delete a few apps or set up a tech-free day. Whatever method you choose, a break from social media will result in mental, and physical health benefits and boost your productivity too.