As a social media manager, I spend a lot of time on social media. Being on social media for forty hours a week is literally my job, and that doesn’t even include my own personal use! While social media has a lot of great uses and benefits, it can still be overwhelming when used in excess. But how do you know when enough is enough and it might be time to take a breather? Here are some signs to look out for:
Prolonged Scrolling Periods
I call this “Zombie Scrolling,” but this can be hard to judge because we all have different timelines that vary depending on how much interesting content is on it. But if you’ve been scrolling for about an hour without clicking or watching anything of value, think really hard about whether or not there’s something else you can be doing right now and then go do that thing.
Falling for the Familiar Fake News Trap
I think a good sign of too much social media exposure is when you start to trust information from posts by a random aunt across the country rather than…actual information sources like news outlets. If you find yourself saying “Wow that article Aunt Karen shared about the elderly woman training her cats to steal from people is so fascinating” it might be time to back away from the computer screen. (This was an actual trending fake story on Facebook in 2017. I am not clever enough to make that up.) There was a time when everyone knew that most stuff on the internet was a lie or made up but that’s since fallen at the wayside for reasons past understanding.
It Starts to Affect Your Mood
This is, unfortunately, the symptom I am most guilty of. Too many times I’ve read something some ignorant idiot or possible bot has said on Twitter or Facebook and it’s put me in a bad mood. So what do I do when that happens? Or rather what do I recommend you do if you’re guilty of any of the three symptoms above? The answers probably won’t shock you.
I’ve recently taken up running as a good way to disconnect from the world being perpetually on fire, but you can do any kind of exercise that suits you best. From Cross Fit to a light stroll, anything works as long as you keep your phone in your pocket or at home and away from your face. Bonus points if you can go outside and smell the fresh air. (There’re also health benefits to exercise, not just social media avoidance benefits.)
Ah, books. There’s just something relaxing about cracking open a book (or turning on an eReader if you’re that person) and losing yourself in a nice story. On top of running I’m also trying to read more, and it’s nice to sit down at the end of a long day and entertain myself with something that isn’t a screen. If you need something to read, Roundpeg actually put together a list recently of some of our favorite (banned) books.
Other “Screen Breaks”
So there’s a pattern here if you hadn’t noticed: taking screen breaks. That’s not to say that TV or video games are bad ways to unwind and distract oneself– if that’s how you relax go for it! But for me, personally, after staring at a computer all day and scrolling through Twitter and Facebook, I need a screen break! So other methods I have enjoyed and you might too include: bullet journaling (wait isn’t there already a post about that?), watercolor painting, playing chess, talking to friends/family on the phone, and baking.
Do you have something you like to do when you need a little social media break? Let me know on Twitter @PageJones31 and you can read the rest of my blog posts here.