Social Media Holiday
Does that phrase spark anxiety, or a sense of relief? Many of us feel inundated by the politics in our feed, or maybe by the images of other people’s seemingly perfect lives.
How do you know when you need to take a break? And what should the boundaries be when you return?
You know you need a break if you:
- quickly feel demoralized and hopeless every time you log in
- slowly feel demoralized and hopeless every time you log in. (Sometimes a viewing session has an insidious effect that lasts long after you’ve turned away.)
- are losing large amounts of time and neglecting tasks that you value more. This is a sign that you’re losing track of your priorities and perspective.
- wind up feeling bad about yourself, and inadequate compared to others.
- feel more judgmental of yourself and others. Unfettered mean thoughts can easily go unchecked when you’re on social media.
- are writing nasty things to other people, joining in the dog pile in ways that are unkind and unproductive.
- you are jumping on social media more than once an hour, or just have it on all day long.
- if the thought of NOT being on social media sites for a day fills you with anxiety and fear. You might be giving yourself a case of chronic FOMO.
- you’re craving pings all the time, constantly overstimulated or in need of stimulation.
- you’re not connecting with people in person.
- you go to check one thing and the suddenly, it’s an hour later. But the time spent wasn’t really happy or fulfilling; it was just time. And it led you to crave more input, like you’re always seeking another hit.
If a lot of these sound like addiction–bingo! But, you wonder, will just a holiday help?
A holiday will give you clarity. It will let you know where you stand. How did it feel to step away? If you struggled mightily, it’s not a sign you need to go back and have more social media; it’s a sign that you need to have less. You need to regain control of your life.
Or if stepping away made you feel more connected to your own creativity and vitality and to the people in your life…well, you have another sort of answer. Being fully present and mindful is a gateway to contentment. It’s a daily practice, and one that is compromised by social media.
So take a holiday, and assess. You might be surprised by what you find.
***Holly Brown is a marriage and family therapist in the San Francisco Bay area. She has a private practice in Alameda (http://hollybrownmft.com/ ). She’s also the author of–what else?–psychological thrillers (http://hollybrownbooks.com/ ).
Brown, H. (2017). Social Media Holiday. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 28, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/bonding-time/2017/02/social-media-holiday/