The question of how to take a break from social has come up many times not only for me but for my friends who also work in social media. Social Media professionals know, perhaps better than anyone that taking any sort of hiatus is a risk. While I do not recommend this for brands, or companies, as an individual, sometimes it makes sense to scale back your activities on social.
I’m never going to advocate for stopping posts altogether. That strategy is best left for those looking to leave social permanently. Still, as someone who is busy making social work for others, I often fall into the trap many social media professionals fall into, which is posting very little on my own accounts. Also, as someone passionate about topics of diversity and inclusive spaces, sometimes I can find social media, Twitter particular, a bit exhausting. Here are some tips on how to take a break from social media, even if it’s your job.
Identify Your Pain Points
A good start in kicking off your break is finding out what is putting you off of social in the first place. Are you overwhelmed by your workload? Do you feel like you spend all your time at your computer? Do you find conversations, and posts off-putting? These are some common issues for social media professionals but hardly an exhaustive list.
Once you figure out your pain points, you can think more clearly about how to make your experience on social media, better.
As I already mentioned, you can’t really leave social all together. You can however, post a little less frequently. Personally, I cut my tweets in half during my break, and chose not tweet during the weekend. Weekends were the time when I prioritized different activities, which helped me through my break.
Cutting your tweets in half, depending on how engaged your audience is, might not be the best call, so figure out what works for you. It might be a case of taking your time to respond where you would normally respond immediately, or limiting how often you check your notifications.
Get Out in The Real World
Even people who love the internet such as myself need to get out and smell the proverbial roses. I spend a lot of time in front of a screen. I’m either at my desk in front of my laptop, or, Wi-Fi pending, staring at my phone. Spending a lot of time in front of a computer isn’t good for your eyes or your social life.
Make a lunch date with date with someone you haven’t seen in a while. Going out will of course get you some fresh air, but also will kickstart your creativity. I’ve always found my greatest inspiration, is talking to others, and usually about topics that aren’t related to my work. Another good solution, especially if you’re strapped for cash, is to talk a long walk. Walking is said to boost creativity in recent studies, so chances are once you return, you’ll be feeling more refreshed.
Read a Book
The thing I loved about summer break when I was in school was the chance to read books I wanted to read. If I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, reading a novel is always a good way for me to relax.
Use your self-imposed break as an opportunity to return to that to-read list. Goodreads is a great resource to help you with that process if you’re unsure where to start. Reading has been found to have long-lasting effects, even after you’ve finished a book, and delving into the lives of others is a classic and exciting means of escape.
Plan Your Epic Return
Just like the summer, all breaks must come to an end. Though I’m not going to tell you how long to take a break, you do need an end date in mind. Now that you know what’s caused you to take a break in the first place, it’s time to address those issues.
For myself, creating a more healthy social space unfortunately involved some un-follows. Sometimes it was too much self-promotion, or negativity from others that made me want to flee from my feed. As much as it is my right to take a time out from social, it is also my responsibility to take back the reigns and enjoy social again.
Build Your Own Online Community
I don’t need to tell anyone in social media the importance of community. Having people to turn to, virtually or in person is invaluable. Given you’re in social media already, building a community shouldn’t be too difficult. Chances are, there are some frustrated or overwhelmed folks feeling exactly what you are feeling and can help you through it.
They probably have been through something similar before and can offer invaluable insights. If taking a break isn’t an option, venting, and talking to people in the same circle is.
Ultimately, I’m not sad my break is over. Like any good period of reflection, I learned a lot about this industry and myself. I still love social, and it’s okay to take some time out.
Reclaiming my social space was empowering. It’s important to have boundaries and prioritize being social (IRL), escape through reading, and take walks that get you thinking. Whether your break is one day or three weeks long, if you’re anything like me, you’ll come back more impassioned than ever, and who wouldn’t want that from any social media guru?
Have you ever taken a break from social? I want to hear your stories, so share them in the comments!