The advent of social media introduced humanity to an entirely different definition of socialising. As interactions with people scattered in various nooks of the World Wide Web flowed freely, we began to withdraw inch by inch from our screen-less lives. Now, I'd like to clarify right off the bat, that I don't say any of this with condescension, disapproval or even snobbery. Social media has helped us build relationships across latitudes, talk about things we are passionate about, discover things we will eventually be passionate about, educate ourselves with both information and opinions, and stay connected around the clock.
But today afternoon, when the discovery of a mean remark in my Instagram message requests, almost brought me to tears, I couldn't help but question my fondness for social media. Especially, when I factored in the countless number of times I've responded to a request with "I'm busy", and then proceeded to occupy my hours mindlessly scrolling through Insta, instead.
The bottom line is, social media is a powerful entity, and also, a lot to deal with. Knowing exactly what our friends and acquaintances along with several random strangers are up to during all hours of the day, can be as draining as it can be fun. Yes, carefully curating your Insta feed with the highlight moments of your life is an enjoyable way to seek validation, but comparing the same by others, especially those we perceive to be richer, skinnier or happier, can chip away at our self-esteem, and make us unwilling participants of an inconclusive race.
Simply put, if lately, you find yourself feeling alarmingly over-whelmed every time you're scrolling through your feed, or a notification from your favourite social media app often causes unexpected pangs of anxiety, maybe it's your brain saying "it's time to take a break from social media". You don't need to delete all your profiles, but the benefits of taking a break from social media are being increasingly discussed by both the masses, and scientific experts.
So as tempting as posting on social media after a breakup can be, there are a number of more fulfilling things you can do with your time. And with that thought, here's a round-up of 10 stimulating things you can do, if you decide to take a break from social media.
Image Courtesy - Pexels
1. Finish A Book
No, really. When was the last time you got so engrossed in a story, that you skipped through meals just to finish it in one sitting? It's been a couple of years, right? One of the reasons a periodic social media break is so important, is linked to how significantly it has impacted our attention spans. We are so used to going through an assortment of stimulating media within a mere few seconds, that we no longer have the patience to sit through a riveting novel. So yeah, if you are taking a break from social media, use it to feed your brain a few insightful words, instead of 5 mirror selfies per minute.
2. Call An Old Friend
If you want to use your social media break to reconnect with people in IRL, a conversation with an old friend from high school could help you retrace your roots. One way to make the most of the benefits of a social media break, is to use the time to strengthen your analogue relationships instead of the digital ones. So try to get in touch with all the people you've been putting off calling for so long during your social media break.
3. Channel Your Creativity
And by that, we mean in ways other than editing your social media post to perfection. Revive your natural creative inclination by taking a gander at an artsy activity you've always enjoyed. Whip out our paintbrush, pen down your thoughts, or create a scrapbook of memories for your best friend, there are several things you can do while taking a break from social media, for some much-needed creative release.
4. Create A 3-Month Plan
With incessant pings from social media no longer distracting you, use your precious social media break time to sort out some of your life. A social media break is a great time period, to reevaluate what progress you've made over the past few months and how far you currently are from achieving the things you want. Ponder over how much you've developed your skills thus far, set realistic and quantifiable goals for the next 3 months, and streamline the strategy for achieving your targets.
5. Cultivate A Meditation Habit
A new habit that will perfectly complement a mental health break from social media, is one of mindful meditation. Being mindful is all about being present in your current moment while fighting the urge to dwell on the past or plan the future, and isn't that one of the most highlighted benefits of taking a break from social media? There are plenty of functional and free apps you can download to cultivate a new meditation habit during your social media break, such as Headspace, Calm, Aura and Insight.
6. Declutter Your Space
A social media break is a great way of decluttering your mind, and the benefits of taking a break from social media will be further accentuated if you also de-clutter your surroundings at the same time. Just like your mind needs to be cleansed of junk every now and then, so does your space. The impact of our immediate environment on our current state of mind, is widely acknowledged, so while you help your brain get rid of clutter, give it a junk-free space to also work optimally in.
7. Move Your Body
When I say that, I say it in the most literal sense of the sentence. After spending significant periods of time scrolling through social media sites, your body gets too comfortable with plopping down on the couch and staying stationary for hours on end. But now that you're taking a break from social media, use this time to re-introduce your body to physical movement. You don't need to start lifting heavy weights or even doing a 100 crunches every day. A 15-minute dance session, 20 minutes of morning yoga, or even briskly jogging while walking your dog can help sneak in some much-needed exercise during your social media break.
8. Bake A Cake
I remember the last cake I baked being packed with salt instead of sugar, so no, this isn't about testing your baking skills. This is about how much I remember enjoying the process, and how much lighter I felt after spending an hour creating something from scratch. To make it even more fun, invite your mum as your consultant, and spend an afternoon covered in flour and nostalgia during this social media break.
9. Complete A Chore For Your Parents
Very few of us can deny the accusation of taking our parents for granted, especially if it came down to choosing between them and completing an Instagram challenge. Social media does connect us with our loved ones around the world, but in the process, we sometimes grow distant from the ones we are physically around the most. If you are taking a break from social media, use some of your time to help out your parents, even if they didn't ask you to. Ask them to sit on the couch and relax, as you take the responsibility of completing some of the chores they usually attend to.
10. Replace The App With A Nap
Just sleep. Seriously, one of the primary benefits of taking a break from social media, is that you now have the time to catch up on your sleep. If you're used to taking a break from Work From Home in the afternoon, by lying on your bed and scrolling through social media, take a nap during that hour instead. Both your mind and your body will thank you for catching up on rest during your social media break.
Log out of social media, tune into life.