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Simplify Life with a Break from Social Media

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One of the easiest ways to restore balance and simplify life is with a break from social media.

A collage of stacked photos with a smart phone and tablet on top, a photo of candles on a table on the bottom, text overlay between the two.

We have so much right at our fingertips these days. It seems that all the information and technology should make life more simple. But it rarely does. All this connection to information and people has an incredible way of robbing us of joy and time.

As a woman who runs an online business, who indeed uses social media as part of that business let me be clear – social media is sometimes a necessity but it does not need to be a part of daily life. I am by no means suggesting we completely shun the internet as a whole, rather I’m suggesting we use social media with much more intention. 

Why take a break from social media? 

Social media is a staple of modern culture for many of us. It’s how we read news, stay connected with friends, learn new things, and more. Good can be found but there are many ways in which it complicates life.

Distracting & Time Consuming

Social media is a gigantic, manipulative distraction, it is designed to keep you scrolling. The interaction no matter how connected feeds the very basic human need to feel like we belong.

All those likes and friends they give us a sense of validation that we all need. Sadly, that means many of us are checking our phones and liking photos and responding to comments that only serve to distract not bring us closer to our goals.

A smart phone sitting on top of a tablet with earbuds on a wooden table.

All that checking and interacting on social media is time consuming. Want more time to knit, garden, relax, actually hang out with loved ones? Make time by getting rid of social media distraction. 

Negative & Comparison Thinking

Social media can be full of negativity and comparison thinking. There’s this weird tendency to only put the very best out there. We see the beautiful photos with all the clutter or mess hidden, baskets full of beautiful homegrown tomatoes but not the strawberry patch full of aggravating quack grass. 

All of those little thoughts stick with us. The negative and combative comments invade our brains causing us to toss and turn over ideas that again distract us from our true priorities. We start to feel like we can’t make instagram worthy meals and stop trying. 

A Break to Restore Healthy Balance

We’ve established that social media can be a distraction and not many would disagree. Still, it can be a good place and something we may not want to completely shun.

A candle in a driftwood holder on a yellow table runner.

Social media can have a place in our simple, seasonal lives but like all things it needs to be in balance. Taking a break from social media for a little while and setting up some ground rules can help us find that healthy balance. 

How to Take a Break from Social Media

There is no right or way wrong way to take a break. Everyone has different needs and requirements for social media and life in general, but there are a few ways to make that break happen:

Go Cold Turkey

Take a period of time completely off from social media. Choose a week or two, just to get some space. This is difficult and sometimes impossible especially if your job or business requires social media interaction. If you can make this happen the reward will likely be great. Most everyone can figure out a way (businesses can schedule out things for example) to be away from social media for a long-weekend. 

Remove Social Media Apps from Your Phone

Choose to only use social media when you’re sitting in front of your computer, not when standing in line or sitting in a waiting room. Remove the temptation to constantly check your phone.

If removing completely feels impossible, turn off notifications. 

Set a Timer

There are apps that will block social media sites after a certain time limit. Consider using something like this and limit social media usage to just 15 minutes a day. Use those 15 minutes wisely. If you don’t want to use some kind of program, a regular egg timer will work just fine. 

Declutter Your Feeds

Okay, this is very hard for some folks but it can provide some big rewards. Remove groups, pages, and even friends that don’t provide joy and or support your goals from your feeds.

Those beautiful photos of someone’s food on Instagram might be gorgeous but if they fill you with comparison thinking or jealousy remove it.

The gal from high school that you haven’t talked to in 20 years and only posts political threads on Facebook – do you really need that (even if you agree with her politically)?

Get rid of things that don’t bring you joy or serve a very real purpose to your long term goals.

Use the Break Wisely

Use the time to decide exactly what it is that you want from your simple life. How is social media furthering that goal? Make a list of groups, pages, sites that fuel your long term dreams. Keep those, cut the ones that don’t make the list. 

Find more joy, time to accomplish long-term goals, and simplify life for the long-term by taking a break from social media. Use these tips and suggestions to restore a healthy balance to social media usage and simple living.

Work on those simple living, handmade goals during this break. Revel in the extra time and focus to work on your dreams or to simply relax and read or craft. Take note of the ‘extra’ time that the break is providing to your life.

After the Break: Continuing to Use Social Media

Be sure to cut the groups, people, and sites that don’t fuel your long-term goals and needs. Use this as a measuring stick before liking any new page, following any new feed, or adding new friends on social media going forward.

Find more joy, time to accomplish long-term goals, and simplify life for the long-term by taking a break from social media. Use these tips and suggestions to restore a healthy balance to social media usage and simple living.

Keep or install a timer. It’s easy to get lost on social media even with the best of intentions. The timer helps prevent mindless clicking and scrolling rather than doing the dishes or finishing that book. 

Social media can provide us with so many amazing opportunities and it has a place in our modern lives. The key to using it, however; is finding a balance between helpful and mindless distraction. Use these ideas to take a break from social media so that you can simplify your life in the long-term. 

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Gwen

Wednesday 3rd of January 2018

You've got some great ideas!

While my holidays weren't filled with family, dinners, or hot dates on New Year's Eve, I actively made the decision not to check into any of my social media channels because I didn't want to allow it to make me feel down or less than by seeing tons of family pics, or trees, or really any of that. I also hide my birthday because I never know what to say when I get flooded with good wishes other than thank you, yet feel the pressure that I should say more.

I do occasionally weed out people and groups, which is really challenging for me because I want to know and make and do all of the stuff! Still, I'm better for it. I also picked one major news source and stuck with it. For a while, I was getting a bunch and they were really affecting my mood in a negative way. (When I weed out people, I don't drop them, just stop following them, so they'll never know.)

Also, I take advantage of the option to see some pages/people first in my feed rather than the default. That way I can see who or what I care about quickly without getting mired in everything.

Most of this is relates to Facebook, of course. I've also set up similar things if available on the other Social Media channels though.

I noticed years ago that not only was Social Media a challenge for me, the hermit, but it could really alter my mental attitude without me even noticing at first, so I've been watchful. On the downside of that, is that my book blog and other blogs that I've tried to start to suffer so I tend to use handy printouts planning my posts to them relating for the blogs, hang out for a bit and then get out.

Strangely, I run a friend's business SM and that doesn't bother me much at all. I think it's the distance in that this isn't about me, so my confidence or lack thereof doesn't come into play and most of those posts and interactions are business specific and not fraught with major disagreements on other subjects or a past with this person or that.

I'm in a relationship with someone that has two teen boys and one tween girl, so being a book blogger, I always grab books on the effects of SM on them and then pass the important nuggets onto their dad. (We're long distance, so I can't do it in person.) It's such a different world than we grew up in even on this one issue alone and I have to be honest, he sort of sucks with relating to his daughter's and women's issues, like self-esteem, confidence, posting too much, depending on that for your self-worth, etc. It's been eye-opening and I hope that even my little tangential actions can help her especially, but them all as well.

Sorry for writing a book, I'm really passionate about having the kids starting out on the right foot so developing a plan of sorts for them is important to me.

Margot

Wednesday 3rd of January 2018

Thanks for the tips...this is something I've been trying to do more (or less) of, depending on how you look at it :) It devours too much time. I'm looking forward to doing more things that I enjoy in 2018 and less social media.

Paula Brobst

Wednesday 3rd of January 2018

Good points, Kathie! I have cleaned out the negativity from my Facebook page, so that it is a happy place to visit. If a "friend" goes on a negative rant, I click the see less of button. My groups either make me laugh or provide me with information in one of my interest areas. I keep in touch with several close friends and cousins via the instant chat button -- which is good because I am not a phone person (hearing difficulties). I don't use twitter or other social media. And, I only use my phone as a phone! In fact, I keep my phone on silent all the time and check it only once or twice a day for messages. If it is important, the person will leave me a message ;-).

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