When you find yourself needing to take breaks from social media, it’s worth questioning what it is you truly need a break from. Could be you're just not that into exposing yourself, and being exposed to others, all the time. But quite often, it could also be triggering something inside of you that happens offline as well as online. Obsessing over greener grass is a tendency that resides in almost every human being, and finds a very dangerous playground on the fields of social media - this is the nature of the beast. But in the end, our frustration is not Instagrams fault, neither is it the people on there. If we would stand solid, these externals wouldn't stand a chance. Let’s get to the root of the cause. Two ways:
Tun off push notifications. How badly do you really need to know what's happening out there every minute the day counts? When something's urgent, you can ask a person to call you, text you, or you can even briefly turn notifications back on. Other than that it will do nothing but take you out of the here and now wáy more often than necessary. Stressful.
Limit your timing. Be strict with yourself. Your brain is going to ask you for stimulation even if it’s not the best thing for you, so stick to the x minutes per hour, x times a day, not after x PM kind of rules that you set up for yourself. You can also get some help from the other side: Moments is an app where you can track how much time you spend on which apps. With laptops or computers, one of my personal favourites is the extension Self Control, where you can block websites for an x amount of time. If you try to go on it, it will show an orange screen saying 'STAY FOCUSED'. Guess you need to look your nieces friends dogs photo's some other time.
Keep your cool. I mean, just don’t lose it. Having an overall mindful state of mind will allow you to see these online things as small and unimportant as they generally are. Are you sleeping enough? Do you meditate? How is your work-life balance? When stressed, our minds can latch onto the first best thing to struggle with, when in fact there’s not really that big an issue. Or at least, the issue is not that. Find ways here to cope with stress productively.
Don't be thirsty. Nothing can love you more than you can love yourself. Surely the internet won't do it for you. It's hard to ever get enough. You could have 100k followers, but if one day you upload a picture that has less than usual likes, or not from the people you wanted, or you notice people are starting to unfollow you, there's always something that could bother you. The validation you're looking for doesn't come to you digitally and will remain empty until you fill it with your own.
Stay close to yourself. Knowing who you are and what you stand for will allow for you to be less apologetic about it, and it will make you compare yourself to others less. Filter through the filters and unfollow, unfollow, unfollow whoever is making you feel less than good about yourself. You don't have to have any other reason. Besides that, if you feel you could strengthen your sense of self, this is a good opportunity to work on that.
Keep it real. When things are out of line internally vs externally, it usually causes inner conflict. When we have to act some kind of way in real life when we're feeling another, it's just as draining. We all know how it feels when we need to put on a mask for work or family. When you consistently do this on social media, no wonder things are going to feel out of whack.
At the end of the day, social media should be an interchange of inspiration and connection. Just another form of expressing yourself. In this day and age, our society would be a lot less than it aspires to be, if we can't express ourselves freely. If you are truly honest with yourself, are you on there with enough authenticity and (self)love, without taking it too seriously? Then it won't do much harm. Affecting other peoples opinion about you is not the problem, neither is the time we spent on there. It only becomes problematic when it affects the opinion we have about ourselves, and takes away from the time we spend in our own lives. If you feel it is just not worth the hassle, be brave enough to stay away. No written rules that oblige you to, and when truth comes to matter, you're really not missing out that much. Rather the opposite. But that's another story.