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Social Media Break? A Sabbatical

I’m going on sabbatical from social media. I’m using the word “sabbatical” here for a reason. In the past, and to many people, they would call this a social media break or a social media hiatus.

Not for me! It’s a sabbatical. I need to rest. I need to work on some things.

sabbatical

noun

any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc.

A definition of the word “sabbatical” from Dictionary.com

I think it’s a very fitting word to describe my intentions this time around. I’m not cutting myself off, or denying myself something. I’m redirecting my energy and focus.

Reasons I need a sabbatical

There are times during the year where my social media usage and behaviour become inappropriate. Often, I notice too late that I’m in an unhealthy routine with social media. On the plus side, the problem is relatively easy to fix. A social media break usually eases the problem!

How have I gotten burnt out from social media this time around?

Feelings of…

  • irritability
  • hopelessness
  • anxiety

Lack of…

  • concentration
  • mindfulness
  • creativity

RescueTime is one of the tools I use to help manage my online behaviour. I used it for all of 2018 on the free plan, and at the end of the year, I bought the premium plan half-price for 2019. I am still incredibly happy with this purchase. As I’ll explain in a post about the tools I use to manage my focus as a home worker (someone who works from home), RescueTime has many qualities I like.

First, I’ll reflect on my social media sabbatical with some charts from June.

A graph for June showing the categories of the websites and software I use on my computer and smart phone.

In total, I have 88 hours logged for my computer and smart phone usage for the last 3 weeks. This averages to around 4 hours per day. Of the whole amount logged, 28 hours are social networking: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram.

A third of all my time this month has been spent on social networking. 😱🤯

A chart detailing the logged time, in hours and minutes, and the percentage per category of all the logged time.

I’ve spent 30% of June on social media. Most of that is Twitter.

Frankly, that makes me uncomfortable, particularly because… I don’t remember what I was doing. It was so mindless.

Over the years, I’ve come to rely on mindfulness as a technique to maintain my wellbeing. Mindless consumption of social media has been degrading my health all month.

I’m grateful for the ability to look at my logged time and make a choice on my behaviour. This option is not available to people who just outright block the websites or applications they don’t want to use. I feel good about weighing my options and having autonomy over my behaviour.

Where I’ll be online instead

Here: I’ll be blogging again! 🎉 However, there may be only a few posts for the rest of June 2019, but hopefully more as time goes on.

Discord: Leave a comment if you want to add me there! I’m in a few writing groups. They’re very chill.

Pinterest: Since I get inspired by Pinterest content, I’ll still be on, browsing recipes and art and more. It’s not such a bad place! (Although, they really need to crack down on spam there…)

Instagram: I’ll check in every once in a while, because I can catch up with so many people I care about! I’ll also be on my art Instagram.

Patreon: I’m still adding content there for my patrons, as well as the occasional free post. Follow along or pledge a few bucks each month to keep up on more detailed, creative updates.

How long will this last?

I’m leaving it open-ended, honestly. This isn’t a timeout for bad behaviour. This isn’t a vacation from “work” because I’m not paid or rewarded for being on social media. I receive a lot of irritations on the social media I’m stepping away from. Lots of spam, but lots of anxiety as well.

In a way, adding a time limit means that I just need to ride out the clock. Instead, I want this to be a mindful exercise for a successful social media break. 🍃

What I’ll do in the meantime

A sabbatical means I’ve got other things to work on! I’m adding more words to my sci-fi novel ZODIAC FIVE (which I’m posting about on Patreon), as well as revising THE PILGRIMAGE. Additionally, I have art ideas that I want to spend time working on.

There are also video games to be played and places in real life to explore.


Have you ever taken a social media break? What social media do you need to rest from most often?

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