Here are the benefits of taking a break from social media (and what you can do instead)

Here are the benefits of taking a break from social media (and what you can do instead)

Difficult to imagine life today without social networks? However, taking a break can be beneficial in many ways. Here’s what you’ll gain and some ideas to keep you busy.

Do you regret always having your nose on your smartphone or your screen scrolling through your various social networks? A break is probably necessary. But if it’s not easy to change your habits (and going online can have advantages), here are perhaps some arguments to help you take the plunge and reduce your screen consumption.

How does social media affect our mental health?

What is no longer in doubt is that the abuse of social networks is harmful to our mental health, as we compare ourselves to these seemingly perfect lives exposed. In a recent Healthline survey, the magazine asked readers what they thought of social media.

  • Of those surveyed, 25% said they felt it had a negative effect on their mental well-being;
  • 53% said they thought reducing their consumption could help them;
  • Additionally, 29 percent of respondents said they need at least a few days to truly break free from the grip of social media, while that figure rose to 46 percent among 15- to 24-year-olds.

Results which are consistent with various scientific studies on the subject.

For example, a 2015 study found that British children were twice as likely to report high or very high scores on poor mental health if they used social networking sites for 3 hours or more over the course of a school day.

A small 2018 study found a direct link between decreased social media use and improved depression and loneliness.

In a 2021 survey by ExpressVPN, 86% of a sample of 1,500 Americans said social media had a direct negative impact on their happiness and self-image.

A 2022 cross-national online survey in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Norway found that those who used social media for entertainment or to reduce loneliness during the pandemic had poorer mental health.

Ideas to replace social networks

Let it be said, mental health is more important than Instagram aesthetics. But what to do instead of scrolling? Lots of things, as the magazine reminds us. The options are endless, but here are some suggestions depending on how you embrace social media.

If you connect to relax : in this case look for another way to release the pressure. A walk, a drawing, play with your animal, read a book, try meditation, watch a good film.

If you use networks to stay in touch with others : call a friend, invite your neighbors for coffee, organize a brunch with your friends, volunteer for a cause that is close to your heart, join a club…

If you use social media for entertainment : go see a concert, participate in an escape game, learn to play an instrument, take a dance class, listen to a podcast, organize a board game evening…

How to set healthy boundaries on social media?

Walking away or taking a break does not mean banishing social media from your life but simply doing less of it. To avoid falling back into your mistakes, you can also take stock of your use and make some choices that will allow you to use it more healthily.

  • Unfollow accounts that have a negative effect on your mood or self-image;
  • Remove photos from your own profile that trigger self-judgment;
  • Remove all negative DMs;
  • Unsave posts that encourage you to compare yourself to others;
  • Ignore the filter and showcase your true self;
  • Post photos of the “messy” moments not just the perfect moments;
  • Post encouraging comments on other people’s posts.