Signs you need a social media break
Life was entirely different before Facebook’s launch in 2004, even though you might be too young to remember. Previously, we didn’t need to take photos of everything and everyone, and communication often involved face-to-face interactions. Nowadays, the Internet connects everybody worldwide, but it ironically makes us feel more isolated than ever.
This new way of life has given rise to unprecedented mental health conditions. Social media brings us limitless potential, but we cannot deny its destructive effects on our minds. That is why we must recognize when we must disengage from the constant cacophony of likes and tweets. It isn’t easy to do so without a guide, so hopefully this article can help.
I will elaborate on the feelings and behaviors that indicate a person needs a social media break. Ask yourself if you exhibit these traits while reading to see if you must unplug immediately.
5 signs you need a social media break
- Your day starts and ends with social media.
- You can’t enjoy anything without posting about it first.
- You spend too much time on social media.
- You can’t stop comparing yourself to others.
- You’re neglecting priorities.
1. Your day starts and ends with social media.
Cleveland Clinic says 80% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. Experts say it increases stress and anxiety because we often worry about what we see on social media.
This anxiety may extend to the evening, causing us to stay up late and check for further updates. Digital wellness expert Mark Ostach calls this behavior “doom scrolling.”
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He also defines it in the Chicago Sun-Times as a “horrible habit that often leads to night terrors or an unrestful night’s sleep.” Moreover, All Points North Lodge chief medical officer Dr. Shahla Modir recommends cutting back on soc-med if it’s interrupting your sleep schedule.
2. You can’t enjoy anything without posting about it first.
You might be familiar with the feeling of taking a photo of an event and then posting it online immediately. Next, you monitor the post to see what people thought about it.
This behavior has become so prevalent that many don’t see the value of daily activities without social media engagement. It is as if we need online validation for every action we take.
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It is why you often see people outside perpetually glued to their phones. Unfortunately, some are oblivious to their surroundings because those are only important when they earn likes. Consequently, Cleveland Clinic says it is another red flag showing the need for a social media break.
3. You spend too much time on social media.
Some will admit they spend too much time online; others will explain they only use social media moderately. So, what is the excessive amount of online time?
Cleveland Clinic says people interact with their smartphones 2,617 times daily! Of course, some may argue they only do so for work purposes.
That is why the best way to check your social media usage is to ask your friend or significant other. If they say you’re on the screen too much, it might be time for a break.
4. You can’t stop comparing yourself to others.
Perhaps one of social media’s most destructive mental effects is the never-ending comparison. Scrolling through your feed will show endless posts about how everyone’s having fun and you’re not.
You will likely see someone enjoying an overseas trip, winning an award, or eating somewhere fancy. Now that it’s the month of hearts, you’ll see lots of people with their significant others.
Eventually, these posts will cause you to reflect on your daily life and see so many things you’d rather have. Later, you would likely feel discontent and frustrated with yourself.
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This effect is especially harmful to teens, according to Newport Academy. Don Grant, PhD., Newport’s National Advisor of Healthy Device Management describes this phenomenon as “compare and despair.”
However, people must remember that most people don’t live such eventful lives. Despite what your feed may show, people don’t always have fun or get everything they want.
They have bad days and setbacks like you and I; they just don’t show those parts in their News Feeds. If these posts are ruining your self-image, it might be time to disconnect.
5. You’re neglecting priorities.
Arguably, one of the most telltale signs of an addiction or negative habit is its interference with your priorities. For example, a student may neglect their studies to keep up with social media.
A worker may miss out on deadlines or put off tasks to check online feeds. Also, you might keep on looking at your phone while you’re on a date with your significant other!
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A few sneak peeks won’t hurt, but checking your screen too often may harm other parts of your life. If you notice that happening, you might need a social media break.
You might need a social media break if it is keeping you from enjoying life. Life is more than your screens; it is around you, waiting to be discovered and experienced.
Taking control of your online habits can be difficult, so you can start by spending 15 minutes daily without any gadgets. Then, bump that to 30 minutes the next week and an hour by the second week.
Having an hour away from the Internet can help you reestablish your connection with real life. More importantly, get positive online content by reading cool sources like Inquirer Tech.
Frequently asked questions on social media breaks
Why should I take a social media break?
As an Inquirer Tech writer, I admit that the Internet and social media have become an integral part of life. However, we must take breaks to remind ourselves of our more important real-world lives. More importantly, pauses prevent us from developing social media risks, such as distorted self-worth and depression.
How do you take a social media detox?
You can take a digital or social media detox by staying away from the Internet for an hour daily. However, you may want to start with 15 minutes and then increase the breaks as you become more accustomed to them. Jermaine Graves, a licensed clinical professional counselor, told the Chicago Sun-Times that you may also limit your online time to two hours daily.
Can social media cause depression?
Social media can cause depression because it can distort the way we look at ourselves and the world. We may prevent such symptoms with a social media break. However, consult your doctor if the negative feelings persist. There could be other factors contributing to your mental health condition.