Social media breaks as an influencer saved my mental health, increased my views, and helped me be more present in my life.

Why I Take Weekend Long Social Media Breaks

In 2020 I accidentally fell into the wide world of becoming an online influencer. Whoops. Trust me, being a minimalist lifestyle influencer is a tough thing when the majority of social media is filled with beautiful people trying to get you to buy stuff you don’t need. Not only is difficult trying to be a de-influencer, it’s tough trying to keep your mental health in check when you spend so much time on social media. The majority of these apps are designed to keep us addicted and scrolling. That’s why I have been incredibly intentional about actively limiting my screen time with an extra emphasis on social media. This is where my desire for social media free weekends comes into play. I know, I know, you might be thinking that it’s impossible for an influencer to take a break and also keep their audience and views. The crazy part is? I actually found my audience and views increasing! Here’s what I did to start social media free weekends and how it actually improved my content creation.

Accidentally becoming an influencer

I started my blog back in 2017 as a way to document our minimalist journey as well as to make an income from home while homeschooling my kids. In 2020, during the pandemic, I was really feeling the lack of social interaction I was accustomed to, which is why I took to TikTok.

In a relatively short period of time, I was able to scale my TikTok following to 500K followers simply by sharing my minimalist lifestyle and decluttering tips. Basically, I took all of my blog content and started sharing it to TikTok as short form video content. Read: How I Turned My Minimalist Blog Into a Global Brand.

Truth be told, I spent most of my youth creating videos with my friends and snapping pictures during any adventure, big or small, so sharing bits of my life on social media has always come naturally to me. However, what didn’t come naturally was constant troll comments, and becoming addicted to a phone. Just like some people feel the urge to pick up their phone as soon as they hear a text message, being an influencer can draw you to your social media apps multiple times a day just to check in on your comments and likes. I know, I know, it’s all so superficial. That’s why I knew I had to start setting limits for myself.

The Gentle Art of Letting Shit Go - Minimalist Lifestyle - Decluttering Guide

The desire for social media breaks

On a recent podcast interview I did with the author of The Cure for Burnout, Emily Ballestros, she was talking about the importance of social media breaks in order to help our mental health. I mentioned that the best way I had found to take a break from social media was through deleting the apps for a temporary period of time. However, more recently, apps like TikTok and Instagram have made it nearly impossible for content creators/influencers to delete their apps without losing all of their content in the process!

That’s right, if you dare to attempt deleting the app, you will lose any current videos saved in your draft folders. Basically, deleting the app would feel like not hitting save after you’d spent an hour or more typing up an essay for school. Not cool.

Sure, one could attempt simply not opening up the apps rather than taking the drastic measure of deleting them from their phone, but let’s face it, going on these apps becomes a compulsion. Thankfully, I found a new way to beat the habit of scrolling by replacing it with something new on the weekends. Here’s how I started planning my social media free weekends.

Social media breaks as an influencer saved my mental health, increased my views, and helped me be more present in my life.

Planning my social media free weekends

My main goal for having social media free weekends as an influencer was so that I could be more intentional and present during time with my family. Plus, becoming obsessed with likes and follows is no way to live your life. Not to mention that taking a break from screens has been shown to have so many mental health benefits!

Instead of expecting myself to avoid constant screen temptation, I set rule for myself that made the transition from content creator to social media free weekends seem a lot more normal.

The rules for social media free weekends

  • Keep my phone away from me as often as possible
  • Take Live Photos during cool or memorable moments
  • Reach for a good book instead of my phone (Get my list of 50 Books That Changed My Life)
  • Log on to social media once a day at 8pm and post pre-recorded content

I know, I know that last part seems like a cheat and you’re right, it kind of is. However, whenever I logged on to share content from my drafts folder, I avoid doing any scrolling. I wait for my video to upload and then immediately leave the app. I’ll break this down more a little later.

The reason I still log on to share content is partially due to the fact that it helps the algorithm still like me come Monday morning, and I have a lot of content that I truly want to share. (Like I said, it comes naturally and I truly enjoy it.)

Over the last few years, I have put in the work to make sure the videos that I share on social media apps are uplifting, encouraging, or fun. This way, if there are other people scrolling the apps at 8pm Saturday night, (Let’s face it, there are.) I want to make sure to send something into the world of social media that just might make someone smile…or even encourage them to take a break from the apps like I do! (Wink, wink.)

Live Photos vs. social media scrolling

One of the main things I wanted to focus on during my social media breaks was taking Live Photos. Here’s why.

  • I used to do photography and I miss it
  • Live Photos prevents me from taking video
  • This is a form of habit swapping

Let’s break each of these things down.

Getting back to photography

When my kids were little, I started my own photography business as a side hustle to being a full time stay at home mom. In fact, finding side hustles as a stay at home mom was something I continually stayed in the habit of. However, after 7 years of doing photography, I started burning out. Basically, I turned my creativity and enjoyment for photography into, well, a business, and the enjoyment behind it kind of fizzled.

This means I went from taking intentional, beautiful photos of my kids to snapping quick pictures without putting in much thought or effort. Now that I’m a few years out of running my photography business, I have been craving the joy of capturing beautiful photos. I miss being able to slow down a single moment into a snapshot. That’s why I opted to get back into taking better photos, especially after upgrading my phone (and subsequently my camera).

Social media breaks as an influencer saved my mental health, increased my views, and helped me be more present in my life.

Long videos > Live Photos

The reason I chose to take Live Photos was because I realized that it if I were simply getting lost on my phone taking videos, I was still lost on my phone. I wanted to commit to taking photos because they are quicker and force you to get right to the point. I also aimed to get as many natural photos as I could (instead of smile-at-the-camera selfies).

In the future, I may opt for more portrait mode photos. Up until this point, I have chosen Live Photos as a way to still get short video clips of our weekend so that I could have picture or video. This also came in handy when I wanted to share clips of our social media free weekends as video content.

Pictures instead of social media = habit swapping

If you have never read a book on habits, you can click here to check out My Top 50 Book Recommendations. I have read several books on habits and one thing that they all consistently share is that habit swapping is the key to sustaining a healthy habit and kicking a bad one to the curb.

For example, if you are currently in the habit of biting your nails, you need to find a new healthier habit that is still centered around your nails, like drumming them on your leg while chewing gum. This is probably why people who quit smoking tend to start snacking more or sipping soda more frequently.

In order to switch my social media habit, I decided instead of filming or scrolling, I would snap pictures. This was helpful because I wasn’t forced to completely stop picking up my phone, I was simply switching the habit.

Book grab instead of phone grab

Another habit swap I have found is incredibly successful is swapping a book grab for a phone grab first thing in the morning. Despite my best efforts, I am still someone who tends to check her phone first thing in the morning. It helps wake me up more than anything and I don’t get lost scrolling. However, I still have worked to find good ways to swap this habit.

Now I fall asleep with a good book on my nightstand and work to turn on my bedside lamp and start reading instead of scrolling. The light from the lamp helps my eyes adjust and reading a page is a much healthier habit than scrolling videos.

When I aim to have a social media free weekend I always opt for a good thriller book, because I know I will get hooked. Scanning the page always proves to be a better, more productive way to spend a weekend than scrolling social media.

Social media breaks as an influencer saved my mental health, increased my views, and helped me be more present in my life.
Click here to get my top 50 Book Recommendations

Prepping content for a social media free weekend

In order to get my content prepped and ready for a social media free weekend, I am sure to do the following ahead of time.

  • Film, edit, and VoiceOver all content
  • Write SEO friendly captions in advance
  • Save enough content for the weekend in my drafts

Having content that is completely prepped and ready to go helps me cut back on the amount of time I have to spend posting that content later in the day. All I have to do is pop onto the app, tap “Post,” wait for the upload, and the log out.

How social media breaks improved my content

Just like any area of life, we can easily become obsessed with it. Whether it’s working out, cooking meals, or fantasy sports, we all run the risk of becoming a little too involved with our hobbies or work. This was how creating content for social media started to feel for me. It was so easy to get lost spending my days spinning my wheels trying to think of the next perfect thing to say, strategizing the next viral video…

By stepping away from social media, I allowed myself to get back to real life, and give my mind and ego a break. It reminds me of a book I read once about an author who would take herself to the movies whenever she was faced with writers block. The best way to come up with an idea is not to sit and stare at a blank screen, trying to will your creativity into existence. Creativity comes when we’re in motion, when we’re out an about. I like to think of it like I’m generating ideas.

After only a few social media free weekends, I was able to enjoy content creation more and I found that my views, interaction and audience were all growing with ease!

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Social media breaks as an influencer saved my mental health, increased my views, and helped me be more present in my life.

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