Earlier this year I took a glorious five days away from social media – which may not sound like much, but for someone who spends almost every day without fail on social media (for work and pleasure), it felt revolutionary.
I took a break from everything that week, including work, and it really helped to refuel me. It also sparked a change in my social media habits and I decided to make every Saturday a social media free day. And I’ve been keeping it up ever since.
Having this pause in the week helps me step off the content creation/consumption treadmill and gather myself.
It helps me look inwards for answers and be inspired offline. It helps me reign in my habit of distracting myself and lets me sit with boredom. It gives me just the right amount of white space.
At the start of this month I took another few days off and again, it was restorative. I can see a lovely pattern in my social media habits forming – every Saturday off and two (or more) longer breaks dotted throughout the year.
My rules are pretty loose (no Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, but Pinterest is OK) and if I’ve got an event on a Saturday that I want to document, I will go on social media. I don’t beat myself up for this, the whole idea of making boundaries like these is for it to make you feel good – so you do you.
I’ve never been one of those people who say social media is bad for you anyway, for me it’s always been a positive place for my mental health and somewhere I can connect with others. But that doesn’t mean a break now and then isn’t nice.
So, I thought today I would share a little more about my social media free Saturdays, in case it’s something you fancy trying. So here’s what I do on social media free Saturdays:
Read (a lot)
Saturdays tend to be when I get most of my reading done – it’s incredible how much time you get back when scrolling is off the agenda. Dan and I like to go to our favourite cafe in town to read, drink coffee and just be together. As well as reading whatever book I have on the go, I also use Saturdays to catch up on blog reading and newsletters that have piled up in my inbox.
Listen to music
As much as I love podcasts, sometimes it’s nice to fill the air with music, not voices. When I first started social media free Saturdays I would binge-listen to work-related podcasts to feel ‘productive’, but I found this just… didn’t make me feel great. So now I avoid work-y podcasts altogether and opt for either podcasts in other genres or just stick some tunes on and have a dance party in the flat.
Scrolling is usually my go-to when I’m out in public, on my own or waiting for something (like food at a cafe). On Saturdays I take these opportunities to people watch. I honestly think people watching is something creatives, especially writers, should do more. I can’t tell you how many ideas for characters come to me from people watching. It’s a lovely way to get out of your own head too.
I don’t count Pinterest as social media, it’s more of a visual search engine and I find it inspiring. It fills my creative cup rather than drains it, so I allow myself plenty of scrolling and pinning time. This usually ends up with me having an idea or two, so I write these down (and then leave them for another day!).
Recently I did a science of wellbeing course and loved it. I learnt so much and it felt really good to gain more knowledge on a subject I’m passionate about. Social media free Saturdays are a great time to get stuck into learning as you’ll be totally free from distraction! Next on my list is an NLP course (neuro linguistic programming).
In real life – can you imagine? And you know what, it’s really bloody lovely. I consider myself an introvert, but I can still feel totally nourished from spending time with friends and family. Saturdays are great for meeting my sister to look around charity shops, seeing friends for coffee or visiting mine and Dan’s families.
Connect with the moment
Without the temptation of a social media scroll, I find it so much easier to practice being mindful on Saturdays. Whether I’m noticing the pretty autumn light coming through the window or *really* relishing the slice of chocolate chip banana bread I’m eating, it’s lovely to slow down and be present.
So there we have it, a few ways I enjoy some scroll-free time every week. I think when it comes to social media usage, we’re all different and have different limits. What’s important is figuring out what works for you.
I recently filmed an IGTV video for Happiful magazine’s Instagram channel about setting your own boundaries around social media, so if you’re keen to do this I definitely recommend taking a look (it’s only three minutes long).
I also want to remind you that my next monthly musing newsletter will be going out next Sunday, the 27th of October! This month I’ve written about making progress and celebrating wins, you can subscribe here if you want to receive it,
I’ll be back here on Wednesday to share the next episode of Seedling (we’re talking all things self-awareness) and on Sunday to share this month’s flash fiction piece. Until then, I’d love to hear how you feel about social media boundaries – do you have any? Do you feel you need more? Let me know in the comments.
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