Dear fellow social media addicts…
If you work in digital marketing, it might seem impossible to have a break from social media. It’s part of everything we do at home, at work and in between! If you’ve written a great blog post for your company website, you’ll probably share it on LinkedIn. Bought an extra screen for your website development project? Share a photo on Instagram. Attending an industry event? Live tweet while you’re there.
Every single time I go on holiday or finish work for the weekend I say: ‘I’m tOtAlLy LoGgInG OfF SoCiAL mEdIa’ and of course, I never do. So, I thought I’d put together some tips for taking a break from social media that work for people in the digital industry, without making you go cold turkey.
Amongst us digital marketers, it’s common knowledge that the engineering behind social media can be as addictive as crack cocaine. That’s not me exaggerating if you suddenly delete all your social media profiles you could find yourself experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
What makes it so addictive? For one, everyone is on social media. Much like you’re probably on it because everyone else is, and you don’t want to miss out on anything. The FOMO is real, right?
Along with FOMO, it’s been found that receiving ‘Likes’ or ‘Favourites’ make us feel good, it’s a form of social validation and can boost your self-esteem.
What’s the point?
‘Why would I ever want to come off Instagram’ I hear you cry! Well, I have tonnes of reasons, backed up by science (impressed?) the first being it’s dreadful for your mental health. According to HubSpot, excessive social media use can be linked to loneliness, anxiety, mood disorders, sleep deficiency, low self-esteem and depression.
By taking a break you’ll be able to reconnect with the real world and your real friends while boosting your overall mood. I promise!
Three ways to detox without deleting your accounts
If I deleted my social media profiles, I might have to look for a new job or spend every morning begging my colleagues to let me log in to their Facebook accounts to post to our business page. So instead of deleting your online world completely, here are three things you can do to reduce/take a break from social media in your personal life.
- Turn off notifications
By doing this, you won’t have anyone shouting ‘LOOK AT ME’ while you’re trying to make dinner, shave your legs or feed the dog.
- Utilise screen time counters
By setting boundaries you can keep an eye on how much time you’re wast- spending(!) scrolling through social media. There are apps and settings that will let you block specific sites after a chosen amount of time. Make your goals realistic though, for example, if you would usually spend four hours online, try to cut down to two. If you post on social media three times a day, try to make it just once. People will survive without seeing a photo of your afternoon coffee.
- Unfollow toxic accounts
By utilising the unfollow button on anyone that you don’t like or accounts that cause negative feelings you’ll instantly see a difference in your relationship with your social media feed. Trust me, the unfollow button is your best friend.
Looking for inspiration?
You can’t scroll through Instagram without coming across a celebrity announcing they’re taking a break from social media to focus on their family or new album/movie/make-up brand.
Reality TV and social media queen Kim Kardashian famously took a few months off after being robbed at gunpoint in Paris in 2016. She said, “Honestly, I think it’s so beneficial for everyone in life, no matter what you do, who you are, how old you are, you need a digital detox.”
Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran hasn’t been seen on Twitter since 2017 and even went as far as to ditch having a phone all together!
Other celebrities turning off social media include Arianna Grande, Millie Bobby Brown, Zayn Malik and Jim Carrey. If they can achieve a happy offline lifestyle, at least temporarily, so can you!
I’ve previously discussed social media detoxing during my Wellness & Work video series, if you’d like to offer your own top tips, or share your experiences of taking a break from social media, drop a comment below this video:
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