Photo by Erik Madigan Heck for

Photo by Erik Madigan Heck for

First it was my 19-year-old goddaughter. Then my 30-year-old niece. Now it’s my 45-year-old male client. What do these people have in common? They have each decided it’s time for a vacation from social media (or vacay, as my goddaughter calls it). Last week, I went to a student performance at SDSU and the young woman sitting next to me told her friend, “I used to use Facebook for updates on my friends, Instagram to let me know what they ate and Snapchat to know what everyone’s weekend was like. I’m so over that. I want a social media vacay.”

Have you ever thought about taking a break from social media? There are millions of people who habitually update their Facebook status, check-in with friends on Twitter or post photos on Instagram. Social media can be fun, I admit, but if you find that your social media habits are impinging on your time at work, school or with family, it might be time for a break.

Have you noticed how we’re so into Facebook and Twitter, but often we come away from it feeling annoyed. How many times can you read about your followers’ workouts, meals or relationship drama?

Quite a few research studies have concluded that social media is bad for your self-esteem. You probably have friends with annoying status updates and others who can’t stop bragging about themselves. If you’re constantly reading about the fabulous lives of your friends, it can make you feel inadequate. Remember that people only put the best version of themselves online. I call this “the Fake Facebook Life”.

It’s easy to over-share online because “everyone’s doing it”. But, the more you share with others online, the more you’re putting yourself at risk. Once something is online, it can be stuck there forever. Don’t let a Twitter rant or silly Facebook photo mess up your personal or professional life.

Do you personally know all of your Facebook friends? Does the constant stream of status updates and photos from friends make you feel closer to them than you really are? Why not connect with friends through a phone call or time spent in person instead of relying on 140 character updates and statements?

How many times have you made plans with friends or family, only to spend the majority of your time looking at your phone? I encourage you to cultivate and take time out for the real – not virtual – people in your life. Remember: when the shit hits the fan, who do you call for help? Your REAL friends and family.

As a psychotherapist, I have seen many relationships get messed up because of social media statements that were misunderstood. It’s awfully easy for Twitter wars and Facebook drama to unfold when people say things online that they would never say or do in real life.

Ready for a vacay? Consider these first steps:

Stay off social media during meals and when you’re in bed.

Before you post a status update or a photo, question your motivation: are you trying to prove that you’re having a good time?

Disable all alerts and delete addicting apps.

You might try it for a day or a weekend and see how it goes. Don’t panic folks! We’re talking vacation here, not forever.

I interviewed a few clients, friends and colleagues about how they feel about social media. Here’s a sample of what I got:

“Social media has changed me for the worse. I keep saying I will restrict my time online but before I can even finish, I find myself obsessing over Instagram and retweeting endlessly.“

“So much of my time is devoted to social media, my phone’s in my hand almost all the time.“

“It’s hard it is to resist the temptation to go online. “‘Five more minutes”, I tell myself. But, an hour later, I’m tweeting song lyrics.”

“There are so many things I could be doing instead: like reading books I’ve bought but haven’t started and developing my friendships with real people.”

And this is the most inspiring quote I’ve seen about taking a vacation from social media:

“I tried it: it feels like rest.”