Your alarm rings at 8 a.m. You make a cup of coffee and decide to scroll your Twitter feed while waiting for your drink to cool.
The next thing you know, your coffee has gone cold.
It’s very easy to get sucked into the black hole that is our news feed. Social media is not just a platform for connecting people around the world anymore but for literally EVERYTHING: be it news updates, gossip, trends, donation drives, or escaping our day-to-day libves. Today, even Twitter can help solve mysteries or get the answers to any of your questions.
That’s how powerful social media is.
However, despite its wide reach, the toxicity found on these platforms is staggering as well. Thirty minutes of scrolling become three hours and in those extra 2 and a half hours, you’ve lost the chance to do something productive, something worthwhile.
People are starting to take a break from social media for a variety of reasons. Some of the most prominent reasons include:
- Stress and anxiety
- Information Overload
- Lack of Sleep
For a lot of people, social media isn’t just a form of communication. It’s become an avenue for mental and emotional restlessness, anxiety, and self-doubt.
So why is social media break necessary?
Refocusing your mind
Social media can be very toxic. All of these platforms are free and there’s almost no filter to the kind of posts you’ll see or the comments you’ll come across. Some content might be triggering for some people. Exposure to too much information, confusion, and conflict on a platform can cause anxiety.
If you feel like being on social media is taking a toll on your mental health, it’s OKAY to step away. Close that app, get some air, and breathe. It’s okay to not be on top of everything that’s happening around you.
Longer and Better Sleep
In an article by BBC, a UK research study suggests that teens using social media for more than three hours a day are more prone to sleep after 11:00 PM and wake during the night. That said, it’s also no lie that we spend most of our time on social media before going to sleep. It’s almost like ‘sleep’ and ‘social media’ are in constant competition with each other every night to see who wins out.
Putting away the phone at least an hour before bed helps induce sleep. If you think scrolling your newsfeed before bed helps you snooze, no, it doesn’t. Instead, your brain is made to process all the fresh content you’re seeing on your timeline and you’re not doing yourself any favors by keeping your mind awake when you should be getting rest.
Opportunities to Interact with Real People
Social media is a form of communication, but there is no better interaction than actually talking to people face-to-face. Be present with them. You don’t always have to speak to your friends and family through Facebook.
Have you closed your Instagram and called that friend you haven’t talked to in months? Humans constantly need real social interaction and, although meeting face to face may not be very ideal right now, there are so many forms of social interaction you could participate in rather than just looking through your friends’ Instagram profiles.
Why not take this chance to talk and catch up?
Pick Up That Hobby
Being so fixated on social media denies us of other things we’ve been planning on doing for so long. That one hour you spent on your Facebook wall could have been an opportunity to start learning to play guitar. Those two hours you spent scrolling on your Twitter feed could have been a chance to walk your dog and get some exercise.
These hours may feel like just an insignificant portion of our whole week, but if we let them become a habit, the accumulated time from our constant perusing will only continue to grow.
So, take that social media break, or at least free up a portion of the time you spend these platforms already. Grab a paintbrush, cook, go for a drive, or pick up a book — you will not regret it.
So, do social media’s risks outweigh its benefits? Definitely not. But this doesn’t mean its benefits outweigh the risks either. The use of social media is a matter of self-control. It’s totally okay to be checking in on other peoples’ pages. What you should remember, however, is that anything that’s too much is never good and that it’s okay to take a break. Your body and mind will thank you for it.