Twice a year I take a one month break from social media. No Facebook, no Instagram, none of it. Usually it's February and July. This year it was February and it'll be October instead of July due to family travels happening this summer that I really wanted to share on social media. Ahhh, I am SO ready -- I've got "that feeling" again.
That feeling of I need a break. That feeling of irritability when you've spent too much time with anyone or anything, and you just. Need. A. Break.
I'm not here to share profound discoveries about why I think everyone who uses social media would be wise to take significant breaks from it. I'm just here to share that I do it, how it's helpful, and that it improves my overall sense of confidence and fulfillment in life. More mindfulness, less habituation. That's the world I'm for. You can choose if it makes sense for you.
Why do I do it?
Taking a break gives me space to consider how I want to be in relationship with my computer-phone device. Without social media eating up an hour or two (three?) every day, my brain has more space for other priorities.
The dazzle of instant gratification through photos and updates from my friends, gives way to the more subtle, deeper shine of whatever is presenting itself to me here and now, in my home, in my body, or with my child. Maybe I would be happier with a 20-minute walk in a new neighborhood than I would with a 20-minute Instagram session.
When I take a break from social media for one month out of every six, it's enough to make me not feel so "owned" by my phone the rest of the year. I feel more at-choice, more internally motivated rather than tethered to my phone for inspiration, relationship meaning, news stories, or even quick-fix text exchanges.
It's important to be mindful about things we're married to. Yup. We've basically married our devices, nonverbally committing to tend to them intimately every hour every day, and we still have so much room to grow in the area of creating agreements. We haven't written our vows. When do I use it? What do I use it for? How do I communicate with others when I'm using it around other people? When do I not use it?
In time, I sense more and more people will choose to take regular breaks from social media, or from their computer-phones altogether. We need space from our marital partners, our children, our best friends, so why wouldn't we need space from our devices too?
Jessica Rios, Founder of Leaning into Light, is a lifelong letter writer, a mother, freelance consultant and eternal fan of Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street. This deeply personal blog and our recorded talks and workshops are devoted to one of her great passions: illuminating the beauty of the human spirit.