There can be no disputing how social media has changed our world and even our daily lives. What was once snail mail and postcards is now tagged Instagram photos and Facebook messages. While social media has brought the world together in a lot of ways, it hasn’t always been the best thing for our minds and bodies. I have social media pinky, that little dip in my little finger from holding up my phone while I scroll. I get headaches from looking at the screen so long. Others experience more mental side effects from social media, including body issues from all those perfect Instagram models or low self-esteem or even FOMO. With social media constantly there, it can feel hard to disconnect, but I’m here to tell you it’s possible and if you do it, you’ll be grateful. Challenge yourself to take a social media hiatus, whether for a day or a week or a month, but make sure you follow the tips in this article to have the most effective social media hiatus you possibly can.

BEFORE

Completely delete the apps from your phone

It’s a lot harder to scroll through Facebook if the Facebook app isn’t there staring at you. Same goes for Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, whatever you choose to include in your hiatus. Personally, I don’t use Snapchat enough for it to really hurt me, but I understand people who get addicted to the snap life. Completely delete the apps from your phone. If you’re worried about people contacting you through Facebook, consider keeping the messenger app.

Replace social media apps with other things to occupy your time

I am guilty of using social media in times of boredom, especially when I’m out and about waiting at the post office or the grocery store, etc. That’s when I start scrolling. To keep my hiatus effective I keep other occupiers in my purse. For me, that’s a book and some yarn so I can crochet if I have free time. For others it might be apps that are better for you, like GRE flashcards or something. Think about what you do when you don’t have your phone at all and be prepared to pretend that’s you without social media. Instead of going through Twitter before bed, read a book. Instead of Facebooking your way through a boring class, consider actually taking notes or crocheting a scarf. The world is your oyster.

Let people know you’ll be offline and how to reach you 

I get it. In this social media age, we contact each other through Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat and all that jazz. But if you want to make your social media hiatus effective for you but not detrimental to your social life, warn people ahead of time. Give people your, gasp, cell phone number or schedule a time to actually hang out, in person. Consider posting something about your hiatus so that people know how to reach you and they can hold you accountable if they see you retweeting something late one night.

DURING

Exercise exercise exercise

You’ll be amazed at how much time you have without social media. You might also find yourself going a little crazy without it at first. Try exercising more frequently, something active to take your mind off what isn’t in your hands. The endorphins will also keep you happy, and happy people just don’t ruin their social media hiatuses.

Read a book and keep it close

Scrolling through Twitter is a great way to unwind before bed, but you know what’s even better? Reading a book! Our society doesn’t read enough anymore and I can promise you that no matter your interests you can find a book you’ll like. Keep it with you and turn to it when you otherwise might turn to Twitter or Instagram.

Make plans via text or phone with people you enjoy spending time with

Constant social media access creates a serious FOMO problem. You see people doing cool or awesome things and you get jealous you’re not doing cool awesome things. When you’re on your hiatus, those pressures will be gone, but they might still be on your mind. Occupy yourself by hanging out with people in real life. Get some friends together for a day on the lake or hiking or playing board games. If you’re having fun with people you actually know, you won’t get so down thinking about the cool lives of people you don’t know.

AFTER

Consider keeping the apps deleted from your phone

Once your social media hiatus is over, you may find yourself not even wanting to re-download the apps to your phone. Maybe you’ll keep some of them, but not others. Sure, Instagram is more of a phone app, but you can always log onto Facebook on a laptop computer. Take stock of what you do and do not need to download again after your hiatus. See what you actually miss and what you don’t.

Take what you learned during the hiatus and don’t forget it

A social media hiatus is most effective when you actually learn and grow from it. If you cheated several times, ask yourself why that was? Did you have nothing else to do? Did you suddenly realize you needed information that was only available on Facebook? Was no one holding you accountable? Remember what activites you enjoyed most when you were offline. Do more of that even when your hiatus is over. If you liked exercising first thing in the morning instead of scrolling, leave your phone far from your bed and do some push-ups before you access it each morning. Everyone will learn different thing about themselves throughout their social media hiatus, but I promise you you will learn about yourself and hopefully you’ll be able to take what you learned and make your non-hiatus life healthier and happier.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member
Aryssa is a student at Yale University, where she enjoys worshiping the patriarchy, making sandwiches, and finding a husband. She loves wearing her FFL gear and documenting the horrific expressions that ensue for her scrapbook. When she is not being "oppressed" by the patriarchy, she enjoys Lilly Pulitzer and classic novels.

Read more articles