For the last few years, each summer I do the same thing.
Social media break for the ENTIRE month.
To be honest, every time I reconnect after the break, I feel reluctant to start again because it feels so good to switch off!
Not that useful for online business owners, though the good thing is, each time I return my boundaries are firmer, my priorities in life are clearer and moving forward I use social media more and more for work only.
With much of the world online nowadays it can be challenging for businesses, social life and more if we're not connected online.
Especially this year.
Social media has been an easy way to remain connected with loved ones during times of physical distance. It's great for keeping in contact, learning new things and spreading the word.
Social media is also designed to attract our attention and fulfil many needs. In fact, it touches upon all 6 of the 6 Basic Human Needs which is why it can be so addictive…
- Love and Connection – Connecting and sharing with loved ones
- Significance – Receiving likes, comments and emojis
- (Perceived) Certainty – Logging in each time knowing where certain things are, the same icons appear, familiar colours and logos
- Uncertainty (Variety) – Scrolling with new news updates, new emojis and backgrounds to use
- Growth – Learning new things about people and the world
- Contribution – Offering support to others, helping non-profits, providing a service
Notice how many social media apps fulfil each of these needs… albeit sometimes in a rather superficial, distant way compared to in person heartfelt connection.
Despite the companies best efforts to capture our attention we can create a healthy balance being mindful of how we use it and how they entice us.
Ever wondered why they choose the colour RED for notifications and not another colour? Red is often considered the colour of urgency, enhancing that desire to click quick to find out who has commented or liked or messaged.
Though by being aware of the ‘shadow’ of social media we can place healthy boundaries and decide what usage works for our health and well-being.
Personally, total breaks work really well for me, especially during holiday season. This year reflecting on what I’ve learnt I thought to share some of these insights in case anyone else feels inspired to take a break or wants some tips on how to do it.
- I felt more present, observing the beauty around me.
- I had more time for other things… way more time.
- I opened up space to learn from within and from nature.
- I was creating conscious connection... mindfully choosing who and what to enter my energetic field.
- Any residual anxiety from this year’s events reduced significantly.
- Greater stillness, calmness and relief.
- Deeper connection to self, few trusted loved ones, nature and LIFE itself.
- Expanded awareness of past actions and choices.
- Moments of boredom, which were the birthplace for creativity to arise.
- Flexibility, finding other ways to connect with loved ones, find news and spend my time.
- Non attachment.
- My health improved significantly being away from phones and screens.
- Increased satisfaction with the little (BIG) things in life, the gifts that surround us in every moment.
- I felt lighter.
- My attention span increased for other activities or when I simply wanted to BE.
And much more…
It was interesting, initially I noticed the unconscious habit with my hands automatically searching for app without thinking. A clear sign how ingrained the habit of checking social media had become. This was made easier to break by deleting the relevant apps and reorganising the main screen on my phone.
This is what we talk about in NLP – finding ways to interrupt the strategies we have for unwanted habits. Always pressing on the snooze button each morning? I wonder what happens when the alarm is placed in a different location so the unconscious mind doesn’t have it so easy to repeat the same habit?
I also noticed that I can survive perfectly fine, have a social life and continue to learn and grow without my mobile and certain apps on a regular basis. Going mobile free for periods of time is highly beneficial.
Mobiles and apps are useful… and there is still REAL LIFE around us too.
Life is beyond the screens.
Want to take a break though not sure how to start to make it last?
- Decide which apps you want a break from. Are you prone to scrolling? Or constantly checking messages? A social media break doesn’t mean everything at once – find what works for you.
- Decide on a time frame. You may want a big break like I did or simply for a few days. If you use social media for work pick the best times for you to take a break without affecting your work significantly.
- Social accountability can work wonders for goal setting and support. Each break I take I announce it online for a few reasons…
- My clients, meetup members and students follow me online so I want them to be aware that during a certain time frame I’ll be responding to emails only.
- I want to encourage others to take the break if they feel the need.
- By announcing it online I have created social accountability, therefore if ever I desire to quickly check messages (which rarely happens as it feels so good to switch off) I remind myself that people expect me to be offline during that time so that acts as motivation to stay offline.
- Delete the relevant apps off your phone, reorganise the main screen to interrupt any old habits.
- Find ways to remain connected with loved ones. Social media break doesn’t need to mean being disconnected completely. Arrange that skype call, call a friend, post a letter and keep connected with loved ones you trust and value.
- Start a new hobby, book, puzzle or practice.
- Be mindful of the 6 Basic Human Needs. If social media fulfils many of the 6 basic human needs, being aware of this can be useful in mindfully fulfilling these needs elsewhere in a constructive, healthy way.
Have you had a social media break?
What did you learn? I'd love to know.
I’ll be announcing some classes and training's very soon to transform our relationship with emotions and negative self-talk, make sure you’re signed up to my newsletter to receive the updates if you’re taking a social media break!