Why I Went on a Social Media Break

So recently,  I have decided to go on a social media break. There wasn’t anything wrong with my life but I just felt a need to disconnect myself from the outside world. And even though at first I was super hesitant, I appreciated the peace it brought.

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Starting August 15, I logged off all my social media platforms (with the exception of my photo business) and went dark. For me, I relied heavily on social media. I was on it more than I should. It started to feel addicting at times because every second I wasn’t doing something else, my fingers were numbly scrolling and my eyes glued to my timeline.

I also noticed my mood was solemn and at times I felt restless, and I think part of it was being connected to everyone’s lives. Every day I would see my friends who were doing better off, or doing things that I am not doing but felt compelled to be. From seeing my high school friends have their first (or second) kid to seeing college friends getting engaged and married to living on their own, it felt like I was behind or not where I should be. It was hard to not compare my situation to theirs and hence why I felt I needed a break from it all.

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The first few days of the break was difficult. I did not know what to do with all my extra free time I had when I wasn’t on social media. Heck, I didn’t realize how much time I spent on it daily. But as life went on, I began not to miss it. I found other things to do, other ways to communicate and move forward with life. I tried to get on a better routine and focus more on my photo business and art skills. I couldn’t blog or create videos for my channel so I invested time in reading.

I also learned to enjoy the moment instead of feeling the need to post what I was doing to Snapchat or my Instagram story or to Twitter. It was nice to juts take photos and videos but to enjoy it without the whole world knowing. It was nice not being known.

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When the day finally came to go back on the web, it felt weird. For a few days, I would forget I had social media back on. Which felt great. Now the issue is keeping the time on it limited. And to not let other’s lives affect mine, since I am exactly where I need to be.

I recommend a social media break for anyone who just needs to focus on themselves for a bit. You’d be surprised how much peace comes with it. It can be for however long is needed, you can gauge it how you see fit. Some go a few days, others go 2 weeks or 30 days. I went 3 weeks. It is a mental detox that I think people need. Especially with all the current events going on, sometimes it is best to stay off social media. With it all constantly bombarding every social media outlet, it can be heavy on the mind and soul. It doesn’t mean you don’t care but it can be taxing and it is perfectly okay to give yourself time to heal your emotions.

If you have gone on a social media getaway or curious about doing it, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear them.

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Apps I Use to Limit Social Media Time

In my previous post, I discussed the affects the social media blues have on me and ways to overcome it. Today, I think it would be great to give off a list of helpful apps I use to limit my social media intake. These work for me so maybe they will work for you!

Social media is a great part of my life. Running my own photography business forces me to be on social media to attract new clients. Even being a YouTuber and blogger requires me to update my followers through, you guessed it, social media. But when I am not doing those, social media tends to ruin my productivity throughout the day and create sadness within me. So after doing some research and app searching, I found these the most helpful for me. Mind you, I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 5. Check to see if your phone provides this app for either Android or IOS.

Quality Time: I love using this app. I installed it a few weeks ago and am still learning to use it. It requires access to your usage tracking to track the apps you use. This app monitors which app you use throughout the day and every time you are on your phone. It tracks how long you used your phone and how many times you unlocked your screen. Going into the app, it shows you the breakdown of the times you were on your phone during the day, and then proceeds to showing you how long you were using that app in that time frame. I enjoy it because I see how much time is wasted being on social media. It also offers the ability to have set modes, which allows you to use certain apps and refrains from the usage of others.

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This is an example of how it tracks your app usage. Clicking the 3 dots gives you the complete breakdown.

Forest: This app is interesting. It keeps you “locked” out of your phone for a certain amount of time by growing trees! It gives you between 10 minutes to 2 hours to grow a bush or tree. The catch is, you cannot leave the app. Once you leave the app, the tree dies and you don’t have a tree. Once your time is completed, you will have a tree. Each day, you are given a forest to grow your trees. It starts fresh every day. Depending on the amount of time you use will dictate how large your forest is. It also shows how long you were productive. It works because you want to grow a tree and make your forest grow but do not want to kill the tree by being on your phone. As of right now, I am using it as I type.

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You can use the dial to change the time. It tells you how long you have stayed focus for and encourages to plant more.

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This is an example of a forest. Depending on the amount your on will show how big your forest is.

Calm: I use this app to mediate with. It helps me focus and relax. I preferably use it at night before I go to sleep but have used it in the middle of the day to unwind. To get the full use of the app, it requires you pay but it works just fine for me using the free version. It has story mode where it will tell a story in soft voice to unwind and drift you off into a good sleep. There are breathing exercises as well. It offers different nature scenes with great sound effects. Mine typically are around water.

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Well, there you have it! Those are the three apps I have been using to keep track of my social media intake. I do hope you enjoy using them.  Tell me what you think of them. Comment below!

Until next time! 😀

Social Media Blues

Social media. It is such a crucial part of our daily lives yet it can take over it. The advance technology we have allows us to connect with not only our friends and families, but with people from across the globe. No doubt social media and technology has advancements in our lives, it can have a few downsides. As with anything, am I right?

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I am guilty of spending too much time on social media. Something about it is addictive, constantly scrolling through the newsfeed and doing it 50 times a day becomes a nasty habit. We are all guilty of this in some way or form. It is a part of our daily lives and separating from it can seem rather scary.

We look at our friends living their lives, sometimes they appear better than our own measly lives we live. That at times can lead to depressing thoughts and the feeling that your life is boring. Social media makes it 10x easier to compare yourself to others, whether that be talents, lives, and physical looks. It is great to look at others lives but do not allow it to consume your mind on why your life isn’t seemingly perfect like your friends. And at times, it can be easy to get sucked into the social media blues, a term I have made up meaning the sad, depressing, horrible, unproductive feelings social media gives us.

I experience the social media blues, and a few weeks ago, I had it bad. I felt myself getting incredibly sad. I think seeing my recent friends getting engaged, planning weddings, buying houses, and having adorable kids was a reminder where I am in my sad love life and brought the horrible feeling of my failed relationship that ended 9 months ago. And that can be a terrible feeling, to feel incompetent in life when compared to your friends who seem ahead of you. I would get upset looking at the highly successful photographers running their own business and I can barely get mine off the ground. Or looking at young artists who seem way more talented than me, who have spent 5 years in college learning art. And I see people having these awesome, incredible, happy go lucky lives where it just seems carefree, compared to my boring, stay at home and binge watch Netflix life.

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Tough, right? It isn’t a nice feeling and unfortunately, a lot of people feel this way, whether they admit it (or even realize it) or not. The good thing is, you are not alone! As social media increases in our daily lives, we must take action in preventing the social media blues. I think it is good to limit time away from social media, for the sake of our mental health, and for some productivity, too! It is easy to get caught up in the social media storm. It starts off with looking at one status and quickly turns into two hours of Facebook stalking your ex best friend’s sister’s ex! Or you begin comparing your life to those on social media.

Luckily, I have a few suggestions to help with combating the dreaded social media blues!

  1.  Limit social media time! As easy as this seems, doing it is something that has to be learned. It is creating a new habit and old habits can be hard to break. In the morning, I set my alarm for 15 minutes. That is how much time I allow myself to be on social media before I get up and start my day. At bed time, I give myself 25 minutes to carelessly flick through social media to my heart’s content. Throughout the day, I give myself small breaks to look at social media but I try to resist being on it during the day.
  2. Find other things to do when you are bored! Social media is something we get on when we are bored. It is an instant activity we have easy access to to keep us entertained. But perhaps find something else to keep your brain busy than looking at Instagram or Facebook every second of the day. Find a book and work on reading it in between breaks. Pick up a hobby, such as painting or knitting. If you just love being on your phone, find mind game apps that will stimulate your mind. You can even buy and download books onto your phone and tablet to read on the go, wherever you are.
  3. Download apps to help keep track of your social media intake! I have a few apps I use to help keep me off social media and that tracks how often I am on my phone. Depending on the phone you have, there are various apps you can use to track the usage of your phone, no matter the app, and will help you keep track. There are also apps to help you stay off your phone and be productive.
  4. Spend time with actual people rather than talking to people on the phone! Yes, we are all guilty of doing this. Why leave the comfort of my house and my sweats and Netflix to talk to you when I can stay here and text you? As great as that sounds, it can do you some good to plan time with friends in living flesh than through the screen. You can create real memories and it does us good to have true human interaction. And when you do go out, stay off your phone, unless you are taking a selfie to document (but limit the selfies to a minimum of 5 :D)
  5. Create a daily plan and stick with it! Start with creating a routine that you will stick to. This falls into limiting social media time. Give yourself allocated time to be on social media freely and the rest of the time, find productive things to do. It will do you good to create a game plan on executing your day. Fill it with as much busy work as possible to limit social media time.
  6. Take a social media break! Yes, I said it! Stay away from social media, whether that be deactivating it or deleting the apps off your phone. Back in college, a group of art students went to Santa Rosa Island (one of the Channel Islands) for a project. It was for two nights and three days but the thing was, there was no signal on the island. As scary as it was to not be able to connect with my family and friends for a weekend, I found it so relaxing to disconnect and focus on nature. We miss so much being glued to our phones, it was  great to be away from it. I came back feeling recharged and actually missed not being on social media. If you can afford to do something like that, I encourage it for a couple of days.

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I hope this helps with the social media blues. You are not alone, for we all get them sometimes. It is okay to disconnect from social media. It is not going anywhere. Try not to compare yourself to others as everyone’s lives are different due to individual experiences. Spend more time actually living your life rather than creating your life on social media.

With that said, get out there and have some fun! Stay tuned for more!