Signs You Need a Break from Social Media

Culture

Aimlessly scrolling on social media is not as innocuous as it may seem. While some posts and content will put a smile on your face, social media will, at other times, do just the opposite. If dozens and dozens of negative thoughts frequently flood your mind until your mood completely changes, taking a break from social media is exactly what you need. Taking a break from social media does not mean never looking through platforms such as Instagram and TikTok again. Rather, it simply means reflecting on how you are feeling and ensuring that social media is not the root cause of negative emotions. If you are still unsure about whether or not taking a break from social media is right for you, look out for these signs.

You Find Yourself Scrolling More Often Than You Should

According to Cisco Connected World Technology Report, 90% of teens use their smartphones first thing in the morning, even before they get out of bed. When most teens go on their phones first thing in the morning, they undoubtedly visit social media apps. If you have a constant urge to visit social media, you may need to take a step back and think more deeply about social media's impact on your mental well-being. In other words, you must ensure that you have a healthy relationship with social media, and more often than not, frequent scrolling throughout the day is an indicator that your relationship with social media needs to change for the better.

This, however, is much easier said than done. How do I know if I have a toxic relationship with social media? How do I know where to draw the line? When do social media begin hurting my mental health? How do I find a balance? These thoughts may be rushing through your mind, and if they are, you are not alone. Though finding the answers to these questions seems impossible, there is a question you can ask yourself when in doubt.

Ask yourself "How will I feel if I put my phone down for a few moments?" After putting your phone down, if you recognize that you are instantly in a better mood or feel relieved, the content you were just exposed to may have been the trigger for negative feelings.

Social Media Is No longer Fun

Your reason for being present on social media apps should be to have fun and to connect with others who brighten your day. If social media feels like an obligation rather than something that you truly want to do, it is most likely time to say goodbye, at least for a while. It is important to remember that social media does not need to have power over your life.

Even if you started social media because it was fun, if it no longer serves the same purpose to you, consider taking a break.

You're Constantly Comparing Yourself

It is vital to check in with yourself frequently while scrolling on social media. If you notice that the majority of the content you are viewing results in you comparing yourself to others, social media may be the cause of negative feelings. Though it is important to remind yourself that social media is merely a highlight reel with influencers only posting the good and not the bad, a simple reminder is not always enough. Taking a step away from social media is the solution when nothing else seems to stop the negative thoughts prompted by social media.

Things Are Getting Worse

The biggest indicator, by far, that you need a break from social media is when you recognize that social media's impact on your mental health has gotten worse and worse over a short period of time. Remember, if social media is to blame for your negative thoughts, you must admit to yourself that it will not get better. Instead, your negative thoughts may worsen over time. Taking the steps to find a healthy balance with social media early on is key.

So, What Can You Do?

Though everyone's process of establishing a healthy relationship with social media will look different, prioritizing your mental health over your number of likes and followers is more important than anything else. Remember, you are worth more than your presence on social media. Checking in with yourself and reflecting are essential steps to ensuring that social media is doing more good than harm.

Establishing a balance with social media may mean minimizing your time on its platforms. For others, it may mean completely erasing social media from their lives. It may take some time, but finding what works best for you is vital.

Sophene Avedissian
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Sophene Avedissian is a sophomore in high school. She writes for her school newspaper, Spyglass, the Los Angeles Times High School Insider, and the Youth Civics Initiative. During her free time, Sophene enjoys reading, playing soccer, and spending time with family and friends.