Shut Down Your Screen: Take a Break From Social Media
Feeling overwhelmed by your constant social media feeds? You’re not alone. More and more people are looking for a break from the distractions of being continuously connected. Whether it’s Cute Kittens on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram, or updates on LinkedIn or Twitter, sometimes you just want to get away.
Why Take a Break from Social Media
According to Mediakix, many of us are now spending up to 5 years of our lives on social media. That includes daily doses of Facebook (35 mins), Instagram (15 mins), Snapchat (25 mins), YouTube (40 mins) and Twitter (1 minute -which seems quite low to me!). Despite the advantages of easy communication, people benefit from electronic downtime. Constant connectivity is not the same as productivity. Sharing posts with ‘friends’ is not the same as sharing experiences with people. Misunderstandings are common.
In his book, The Distraction Addiction, Alex Pang describes several ways to disconnect and calm the newsfeed in your brain.
Most people hold their breath when checking their inbox., It’s as if we’re waiting for a saber-toothed tiger to jump out of the screen and eat us! Remembering to breathe while waiting for your messages in any platform to load is important, but not always easy. If you struggle with it, try taking a few deep breaths just before looking at your screen. A couple of breaths can help. Try using Insight Timer’s guided meditations (I love this app!), or visit Do Nothing for 2 Minutes, then just look at the ocean on the screen and breathe.
What’s a digital sabbath? It’s not religious, or even necessarily spiritual. It’s just a way of saying ‘during this time, I will rest my connected self.’ The phrase originated with Anne Dilenschneider, a psychologist and pastor, and Andrea Bauer, an executive coach. They developed it working with Silicon Valley types. Everyone’s digital sabbath is different: you decide how long it will last, and how extensive it will be. Will you switch off everything with a power button for a full 24 hours, or just leave on 1 phone (on vibrate) so family can reach you in emergencies? Either way, just reduce your connectivity for a while and get back in touch with the real world. If you find this particularly stressful, that’s a sign that you really need to do it! Read the real-life experience of another Ms. Career Girl’s digital break here
Get into Nature
Fortunately, there are still places without power outlets every 10 feet. Get into nature: visit a local park, a forest, a field. Forget your camera – just look at the scenery. Count the different types of trees. Listen to the birds. Walk. Smell the flowers, feel the ground under your feet. Just rest your eyes, and your mind, from the digital.
Find Your Right Social Media Level
As much as connectivity has improved our lives, it can still be stressful. Our feeds are so integrated into our lives now that even these practices can be challenging at first. Keep trying, and notice your mind calming, the background chatter of ‘see-respond-react’ slowing down. Try it!