By Jennifer Woolwine

Do You Need A Break From Social Media?

Health + Wellness

baghdad to barnyard

June 15, 2022

The more that Instagram forces people to adapt to the newer “wanna-be Tik Tok” version, the more I  debate not only taking a break from social media but deleting it entirely. Don’t get me wrong, I have met some fantastic people and made lifelong friendships on Instagram, primarily through the farm/homestead community; but lately, I realized I’m spending so much time scrolling. I spent that time reading posts, leaving authentic comments, making real connections, and fostering community.

It’s easy to get caught up in the highlights of people’s lives and forget that’s not the whole picture. Most people only promote what they are proud of, the beautifully curated images, and do not share the nitty-gritty of life behind the scenes. While it’s perfectly okay to share the fun times and pretty pictures, it’s important to remember that the snippets you see online are NOT real life.

When you wake up in the morning, what’s the first thing that you do? Do you hit that snooze button or grab your phone to see what you missed? Do you find you spend more time scrolling and less time being present?

I know I have personally missed out on essential memories because I was too busy trying to get that perfect “postable” moment for social media.  Sometimes you get so wrapped up in documenting the moment that you completely miss the experience.

The comparison trap

I’ve also been swept in the comparison game. Wondering why so and so’s reels are getting more views or likes and feeling that I’m not doing enough to stay relevant. You can get caught up in adding too much to your plate because you think you need to be doing more. I recently fell into this category. I was on every social media platform, taking online classes, and reading blog after blog; it was exhausting. Authenticity became a distant thought, and approval quickly became my focus. It wasn’t until I realized I was burned out and had to make significant changes, including closing my small business, to get back on track. I learned to start scheduling breaks from social media.

Social media positives

Social media has a lot of positives. It’s a powerful tool for connection. It allows us to stay in the loop with friends and family. It also brings people together with similar interests and hobbies. If you’re introverted like me, it’s easier to make friendships with people behind a keyboard versus out in public in social settings. I have the courage to share personal stories that I wouldn’t otherwise talk about with a stranger, especially face to face. Social media is also an excellent source of inspiration; you can see glimpses of places or events you may never encounter in your lifetime and witness or share life’s celebratory moments with just a click of a button.

Negative side of social media

Unfortunately, social media also has its fair share of negativity. You need to take a break from social media if it’s affecting your self-esteem and mood.  It can also negatively affect your relationships with friends and family and your physical health and distract you from the essential things in life.


photo collage

Ten clear signs you might need a social media break:

  • First thing you do in the morning is to check your social media.

  • You’ll take down a post or reel if it hasn’t reached a certain amount of likes or views.

  • You feel angry or upset if no one comments on your posts.

  • You find yourself constantly refreshing your feed every few minutes.

  • Your quality of sleep has declined.

  • You’re experiencing anxiety, sadness, or depression after spending time on social media.

  • You get lost and frustrated when you can’t get on social media.

  • You have FOMO (fear of missing out).

  • You unconsciously click on social media every free chance you get.

  • You feel lonely when using social media.

What are the benefits of a social media detox?

  • You stop comparing yourself to others.

  • Your anxiety reduces

  • You’ll sleep better

  • Experience more meaningful conversations with family and friends

  • Your productivity will improve.

  • Have time for new hobbies

  • Have time to focus on yourself

If you’re not ready for a social media detox but want to cut back, here are 12 easy ways to spend less time on social media:

  • Unfollow/block negative people and influencers

  • Set a timer

  • Put your phone away at dinner.

  • Schedule social media breaks.

  • Put your phone away when you’re with friends and family.

  • Put your phone away an hour before bed.

  • Turn on airplane mode.

  • Schedule content creation days.

  • Don’t edit and post in real time.

  • Turn off your notifications.

  • Temporarily disable your accounts.

  • Turn on the “take a break” feature on Instagram.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Remember, social media is simply a tool; it’s not real life. It was designed to keep us returning for more and more, and it can be addicting. You are the only one who can decide how much you want it to affect your life. The important thing is to learn how to use social media with purpose and healthily by implementing the suggestions in this article.  Do you take breaks from social media often? Let me know in the comments, and let’s encourage one another to scroll less and spend more time living!

xo, jen


learn the signs you need to take a break from social media

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  1. Granggie....Debbie says:

    Great advice! Social media is not the first thing I turn to in the mornings. I have quiet time first….journal, Bible, coffee on the porch.
    Then I check IG. Only have this. Dropped Facebook and everything else over 3 years ago.
    I check throughout the day and there are days it’s too much and I, at times, succumb to the comparison game.
    I follow mostly farms, animals, Primitive posts and inspirational posts.
    I do take breaks every few days. So many I enjoy and feel a connection but even that can demand too much time.
    Thanks you for the "triggers" to look for!
    Appreciate you and all your amazing animals!❤

    • Jennifer says:

      I love that you take time to journal and read your Bible first thing in the morning. I will limit my screen time to an hour in the mornings and an hour in the evenings and see how that goes. I was putting too much pressure on myself to provide content constantly. I’m so glad you found the article helpful, and it is important to take time away from social media. Thank you for supporting my Instagram and blog; I appreciate it so much! I hope you have a wonderful evening, Debbie!
      xo,
      Jen

  2. Laurel says:

    Thank you Jennifer!!! I hit snooze about 3x usually cause 5:15 ain’t my time o’day Then I get up make my coffee and have a few minutes in the Bible and prayer.
    I am glad I "met" you online!
    I never had tiktok. I do have FB but am rarely on it anymore. Don’t miss it either. I do need to work on putting down IG. I made myself a to-do list this week that will hopefully keep the house running a bit more smoothly.

    • Jennifer says:

      I’m guilty of hitting that snooze button 2 to 3x as well (but at 7am). I love your morning routine of Bible and prayer. I can’t think of a better way to begin your day, and it’s something I need to be doing more of myself. I hope you are able to accomplish everything on your to-do list, and if you don’t- that’s okay too.

      xo,
      Jen

  3. Stacey says:

    I wish there was a way to go back to IG in 2020 when people actually talked and shared.
    I wish I could find that same joy and connection.

    I put do not disturb on my phone at 10pm so I don’t get any notifications until 7am.

    • Jennifer says:

      I have to agree with you there. 2020 was when I first started my Instagram account, and I have to say, everyone was spending more time making connections and less time scrolling. I like the idea of putting your phone on do not disturb and turning off notifications at night; that is a brilliant idea!

      xo, Jen

Jen Woolwine       Author

Jen is a veteran, wife, farm mama, homesteader, blogger,  and mental health advocate. You can follow her and daily homestead life on Instagram, FB, Pinterest & TikTok @baghdadtobarnyard

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