The title of this blog seems scary doesn’t it? Taking a break from social media? Could there possibly be such a thing? The answer is yes. People can actually take a break from the never ending world of cat memes and politically charged videos. The truth is that social media itself has engrained itself in our day-to-day lives much like eating, sleeping, exercising, and watching television. Facebook alone consumes 22% of the total time Americans spend on the internet, and the average American spends 20 minutes per day on Facebook. With facts like these it is plausible to see why most people would be fearful of just dropping social media for a period of time. Here are four reasons why we all should consider taking a break from social media:
You’ll Get More Sleep
With most Americans already experiencing an extreme lack of sleep (6.8 hours per night on average) it is almost like adding insult to injury when it comes to using social media before bed. Think about it. When you lay down in bed your body is meant to start slowing down and de-stressing from the events of the day. However, most people bring their smartphones to bed with them and typically check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. for the last few notifications of the evening. Unfortunately, checking one notification commonly turns into scrolling through newsfeeds for hours on end, looking at family members’ photos, and reading the latest political argument comment stream. Before you know it three more hours have passed and your 10:00PM bedtime has turned into 1:00AM sleep deprivation. The light from smartphones also interrupt the brain’s production of Melatonin which is necessary to to ensuring a restful night’s sleep. Taking a break from social media will better allow you to get to bed on-time, thus gaining the required amount of sleep to be fully productive the next day.
You’ll Feel Less Stressed
Having access to social media 24/7 allows for an increased amount of stress without you realizing it. Because we can access social media at-will at any point of every day we feel compelled to always be in the loop about what’s happening in our newsfeeds. The stress is that if we don’t constantly keep checking social media we will miss the next big viral video, breaking news story, political argument, or trending hashtag. This heightened stress can lead to unanticipated effects on the brain such as reduced memory and the increased likelihood of depression. Taking a break from social media will lead to reduced levels of cortisol which allow you to stay more calm and focused.
You’ll Like Yourself and Your Life A Lot More
Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook newsfeed and saw pictures of that old friend from way back when on vacation with his new wife, or your second cousin’s video of their new sports car, or your best friend’s sister’s new promotion at work? All of us have seen these posts, and all of us have thought, “Why can’t my life be like that?” Even if our lives are perfectly fine it is human nature to be jealous of others who are able to do things in the moment that we can’t. Social media itself has almost turned into a game of who can post the best pictures to make the most people jealous, or earn the most number of ‘likes’ from people you don’t even talk to. Taking a break from social media will allow you to focus more on your life and the important things that are happening right now. This ultimately will allow you to feel happier and more fulfilled knowing that you are content with who you are and the cool things that you are doing.
You’ll Strengthen Your Face-To-Face Relationships
Have you ever seen that group of friends at your favorite restaurants who are glued to their phones and social media? Do you then ask yourself, “Why are they even here?” Before the rise of social media social interaction was all about face-to-face contact and personal relationship building. Although social media can sometimes feel like we are building relationships with other people, the truth is nothing can compare to physical face-to-face interaction with another human being. Face-to-Face interpersonal relationships are much stronger than those that are conducted primarily online. Taking a break from social media will allow you to focus more on these types of relationships and real-world interactions that mean a lot more in the long-run.
Although the thought of taking a break from social media seems impossible it can be done easily with a hefty dose of determination and self-control. In this expanding age of digital technology it is hard to keep sight of the social interactions that truly matter. Are you up for taking a break from social media? Give it a try and let us know how it went in the comments below.