Every July I take a break from blogging and newsletter writing, but this year I’ve decided to take things one step further by staying off of social media for 30 days. If you’ve been circling around a similar idea, consider this post your invitation to join me.
A writer I follow on Instagram recently had the same idea, and before signing off for a time (she didn’t say how long she’d be gone), she posted The Tale of Two Wolves, reprinted at left.
The last line, “the one that you feed,” has been sticking with me since then, and it’s really the perfect sentiment to head into a good long break. During these 30 days I hope to feed my own creative spirit, not the social media wolves.
I should be clear: I’m not planning to give up social media. (Our private Facebook group isn’t going anywhere!)
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have impacted my life in many positive ways, however, I’m also wary of their downsides. (Reading this book [affiliate link] has been enlightening to say the least.)
Over the summer, I’ll be actively looking to deepen my understanding of why I use social media (both for personal and professional reasons), get to know my stumbling blocks, and erect new boundaries that allow me to still participate and reap the good without succumbing to the bad (like endless scrolling and feeling like I’m two steps behind where I should be).
I’m hoping to create a detailed post about all the lessons learned for after my return, but to kick things off, here’s how I’m starting and organizing my social media break.
3 Tips for Taking a Social Media Break
There are no official rules here. You can make a social media cleanse/detox/what have you exactly what you like, but here are a few of the guidelines I’m adopting:
01 | Delete apps
I’m planning to delete Facebook and Instagram from my phone to keep temptation at bay. After the break, I’m leaning towards making this a permanent decision, and only using the apps on my desktop in the future. More on that later!
02 | Replace screen time with offline time
With a few more hours at my disposal each day, reading will be one of the main activities I’ll embrace more of, but I’ll also have more time for writing and preparing for my book launch. Beyond my writing life, I’m hoping to tackle some kitchen projects like making homemade English Muffins, for instance, and tinkering in my vegetable garden.
03 | Keep a journal
I’m certain they’ll be moments I reach for my phone and instinctively want to swipe and scroll. When complicated feelings bubble up, I’ll pull out my journal (or let’s be honest, a note on my phone) to explore my inner world a bit. After a few weeks of this I’m hoping to have enough reflective material to really get to the bottom of my attachment and what I’d like to get out of using the platforms moving forward.
10 Questions to Ask Before Taking a Social Media Break
When I started planning for this break, I jotted some questions in my journal—feel free to do the same! This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the things you could ask yourself, but it’s a place to begin. I find simply by writing them out and having them handy, it helps the experiment feel more purposeful.
What makes me excited about taking a break from social media?
What makes me nervous about disengaging from social media?
Why do I use [social media platform]?
What do I receive from others?
What do I offer followers/my community?
What don’t I like about using these platforms?
Which elements do I like?
What would happen if I stopped using it?
What boundaries do I need?
What are my goals and intentions for social media, and how can I use various platforms to serve these?