This may be my most Millennial post ever, so just thought I’d warn you. It’s about social media. Specifically why we should all be taking social media breaks, particularly when traveling.
Before I get into the reasons, I should acknowledge that it’s ironic I’m saying this since I post multiple times a week on social media and probably go about a few hours at most (when I’m sleeping?) without checking some form of social media. Oh and when I travel? I relish sharing pictures on social media. Isn’t that the point of traveling? Kidding! I’m kidding. That’s definitely not the point, and if you think that then shame on you.
Anyway, the gist is that it’s hypocritical for me to say we should be taking social media breaks when I don’t particularly do this very often myself, buuuut I wanted to put it out there as a shared goal. :)
Last year, I traveled to Cuba for my birthday, and as those who have been to Cuba know, WiFi can be very intermittent. You can access it but not as often as you can in many other places, so I knew when I went that I would be “disconnected.” And it forced me to be completely off of social media for four days, which, I’m not gonna lie, sometimes felt like 400 days. I technically could’ve jumped on Instagram while hanging in a hotel lobby in Havana, but I chose to abstain. And I overall loved it!
In fact, while in Napa celebrating my birthday this year, I deliberately deleted my Instagram (my biggest addiction) and steered clear of my Facebook and Twitter for a few days because I just wanted to enjoy myself and not think about posting or doing a story while I traveled. Of course, I took some pictures that I would later share, but at that moment in time, I stayed completely away from social media. And, again, I loved it.
So it got me thinking about the benefits of taking a social media break, particularly when traveling. Here are a few of those benefits that came to mind:
1. It forces you to focus on the present - Not being distracted by social media means you can live in the moment and not through your phone or laptop. It forces you - or rather it forces me - to just enjoy the present and the place I’m in and, most importantly, not take it for granted.
2. No time to compare - As the saying goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and man can social media make you compare, even when you don’t want to and even when you’re traveling. So don’t compare. Get off social media and just live your life and enjoy where you are.
3. You have more time to do things - I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gotten sucked into the social media black hole when I only went to quickly check something. But when I’m not on social media, I have more time to explore, read or just enjoy the people I’m with.
4. It helps break the habit of sharing everything - One of the things I often think about is the long-term effect of constantly sharing our lives. What is this doing to us and our brains? I say that somewhat jokingly but also in all seriousness - what is it doing to us??? By taking a break, I think it can help stem the habit of oversharing.
5. Improved mental health - Studies have shown that too much social media is not good for us. It’s stressful and anxiety-inducing and all-around not something we should dedicate a significant amount of time to, so if that’s not a reason to take an occasional break, I don’t know what is.
Okay, now that I’ve laid out some of the benefits, we should all be ready to take our social media break, right? Right!
What do you think about social media breaks?