How To Properly Take A Much Needed Social Media Break

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“Hey guys! I’m deleting Instagram for the next few weeks to focus on myself! If you need me, just text!”

I’ve seen this exact caption on about 100 Instagram stories in the past year. People are starting to realize how toxic social media has become and the only way they know how to fix it is by completely deleting the app. Ironically, this caption will be making an appearance on my social media soon. 

We are a society that’s addicted to social media and that addiction causes more sadness, comparison, and jealousy. So how do we stop that from happening?


The Problem

If I were to ask anyone what was the most addictive substance, most people would say alcohol or drugs. But social media is competing for that title

According to the Addiction Center, “5-10% of Americans meet the criteria for social media addiction today”. A social media addiction means exactly what you think — a connection to social media that, if broken, will lead people to go into withdrawals akin to drug or alcohol addictions. When people who are addicted to social media don’t have access to it, their symptoms are similar if not mirroring those that are withdrawing from actual drugs. The Addiction Center cites Harvard University’s findings that the dopamine hit one gets when they post on social media lights up the same part of the brain that ignites when the person takes an addictive substance. 

As if that wasn’t problematic enough, people still aren’t treating social media with the same precaution as recreational drugs. All social media platforms are more available than ever before with our phones, laptops, iPads, even TVs and watches. Jobs, relationships, and reputations also revolve around social media.

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When It’s Time to Take a Break

The social media addiction becomes clear when you pick up your phone and instinctively open up social media and scroll. Whenever I’m stressed, I feel a muscular urge to unlock my phone and open Instagram or TikTok. The worst part about this is that I will go on these platforms for a significant amount of time, then come back to ‘the real world’ and feel more exhausted and numb than when I started.  

You also want to look out for how you interact with what you’re seeing. If you’re constantly on social media and the content on the platforms is causing you to think less of yourself or start judging others, that’s a rabbit hole you don’t want to go down. Gauge how you feel before and after you open your apps. If they genuinely make you feel better and add something to your life, then you’re okay.

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Let’s Take a Break

So, how do you take a proper social media break?


1. Delete Your Apps

This is probably the most obvious answer. If your apps aren’t bringing you joy, Marie Kondo them and delete them! You can also delete them during certain times of day if you’re not ready to totally give them up. Some people delete social media when they’re at work or an hour before they go to bed so they don’t have that distraction anymore.

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2. Remove Apps From Your Home Screen

A less extreme approach for sure, but still effective. One of the reasons I go on my apps so much is because they’re there. I open my phone and I see all of them are just a click away. If we remove the apps from our home screens, we won’t be tempted to open them every time we open our phones. Think, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. The iPhone has an app library that lets you take the apps off your home screen, but not delete them.

3. Remove Your Phone Completely

I’m not suggesting we throw our beloved iPhones out the window (though that often is a tempting idea), but maybe start gathering your tech and moving it to a different room. Arianna Huffington takes her electronics and puts them in a different room every night before she gets ready for bed. This way, she won’t be tempted to do that extra nightly scroll.

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4. Set Time Limits

You can set a time limit for all of your apps. IPhone users can go to settings, screentime, and select either ‘downtime’ or ‘app limits’. With downtime you can choose certain apps to go on between certain hours (for example, you can set your time on Facebook to be between 12pm-5pm) and the others are off-limits. With app limits, you can allot a certain time limit for each app and the app will be inaccessible after you’ve reached that limit.

5. Turn Off Notifications

Turn those dopamine hits off! If notifications aren’t showing up, you’ll be less likely to go on these platforms. Not to mention that most notifications I get from social media apps are not relevant to me and are solely designed to get me to open the app.

6. Ground Yourself

We ground our kids when they do something wrong or they pay too much attention to their phones, but we don’t do the same with ourselves. Take your phone away for a week or a few days. Maybe have your hubby hold onto it during dinner so you won’t be tempted to look at it. Taking our electronics away from ourselves will produce discipline and ground us to our thoughts and feelings and those of the people around us.

Not All Social Media Is Bad


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I don’t want to sit here and tell you never to get on social media. I love social media. I personally use social media to decompress, check up on people, get inspiration, and more. I genuinely enjoy when I go on my social media because I have curated platforms that inspire and empower me. 

We use the term ‘consuming media’, so let’s treat media like food. If we’re gluttons about it and shovel it all in at all hours, we’re going to get unhealthy. But, if we transform it to something good and healthy for us, then it can actually feed us and help us grow.

LINEAre you ready to plan a social media break? What app is the most addictive for you? Comment below!


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