How to Recover From a Social Media Hangover

image of broken television

“Hello. My name is Cori and I’m a social media addict.

“Today is day 1 of my commitment to give myself a regular break from technology and the foggy, uncreative haze it can unwittingly lead to.”

I was reading a post the other day by blogger Michael Brenner at B2B Marketing Insider, talking about getting your social media game on.

Of course, being the skimmer that I am, the first thing that caught my attention and made me go back and read the whole thing was his mention of having a Social Media Hangover.

His hangover was induced by sometimes (as we all do) forgetting to take breaks and shut down periodically from the very technology that makes social media so fun … and addictive.

It was a warning, and a call to bring at least a tiny bit of moderation into our very social (media) lives.

Connecting with other people all across the globe, building a tribe of like-minded individuals that actually want to buy your stuff, and finding creative ways to make your voice stand out above many … that’s what makes being an online entrepreneur so attractive.

But unfortunately, too much of anything is rarely a good thing.

Tips for shrugging off your social media stupor

It’s so important if your business hinges on your ability to put your creative brain through some mental hoops, that you protect that brain as much as you possibly can.

That means taking periodic breaks from all the technology you surround yourself with and simply turning it all off. And if you’re at a loss as to how to do that … don’t worry, I’ve got ya covered.

Here are 3 tips on how to claw your way out of the mental fog, find your motivation again, and let your voice ring out …

1. Get back to basics

As the lovely James from Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words recently suggested I try, sit down with a pen and write out some “I Believe” statements on just why you started your journey online in the first place.

What was true then that still holds true now, that could possibly be a good motivator and reignite your creative spark?

For me, when I started my entrepreneurial journey, I believed I had a story to share that others might relate to.  Sharing my story might help someone else who may be struggling and make things a wee bit easier.

It must have helped, because suddenly I was inspired to write this post! Thanks James! ;)

2. Get out

Another idea you might try is to get out of your house and/or office. (In my case my house is my office.)

Take a drive, put the windows down, and enjoy the fresh air.

Don’t forget to take a good book along with you for an impromptu stop at a local coffee shop. Grab a cup of Joe, move on to a park bench somewhere, and commune quietly with nature for a bit.

I find that getting out and away from my usual routine often inspires and invigorates me. When I sit back down at my desk, I feel much clearer and much more focused.

In turn, you will find yourself much better able to tap into the creative drive that started you on this journey in the first place.

3. Get real

And finally, as a reminder, it is human nature to be social.

We were built to be social animals, created for relationships. So taking a break from technology and social media doesn’t mean you have to go off on your own and spend precious time buried in a book if you really don’t want to.

It does however mean that you need to get social with the real world and the people in your life that you actually see face to face. Spend time with your family, take a day trip with a good buddy somewhere, or hit a local shop and chit-chat with some of the cool people you often find, right in the community you actually live in.

It’s a good bet that once you’ve given yourself permission to unplug and recharge, and you dive back into the social media game, you’ll be ready to kick ass and take names later, cultivating your voice and brand until the cows come home. Or at least until you find yourself in the next foggy stupor.

In which case … see above, lather, rinse, and repeat.

How about you?

Ever suffer from a Social Media Hangover? What’s your favorite remedy? Let us know about it in the comments.

About the Author: Cori is a wildly hire-able freelance ‘ghost’ as well as the creative brains and dubious brawn behind her blog Big Girl Branding. If you’d like to harness her creative brains and dubious brawn to write for your blog, just stalk her on Twitter and ask her. I’m “almost” sure she doesn’t bite. Well… like 95% sure.

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  1. I fast from social media once a week, usually on Saturdays. I even turn the notifications on my phone off so that I’m not tempted. I try to do the same with email, but I still tend to check it sometimes. However, I keep it personal and not related to business.

  2. Oh, I used to suffer from social media hangover. My remedy was to take a good book and escape to the park or go window shopping at a nearby mall. Seemed to help a lot.

    Now however, with two children and the oldest not even 2 years old, what I have is mommy hangover:). I find that I have to schedule my social media time and when I’m getting carried away, there’s always one baby calling for my attention.

    But I still took something away from this post and that is to go back to the basics. I think what any online entrepreneur should do is write out those ‘I Believe’ statements and put them somewhere you can see them frequently; to help you stay in touch with the basics.

    Thanks Cori, for this post. It was a lovely read.

    • I love the good book strategy! I do that too sometimes, but my kiddies are in school so I can. lol We only have our littlest part time, so I try and make those days about him and the other two, and then the off days I can squeeze in more time for other stuff! And definitely, those I believe statements can be powerful. Who knew? :)

  3. Hi Cori,

    I learned this lesson the hard way, as do many online entrepreneurs.

    Burn out is no fun. You find yourself moving into ineffective acts, wheel-spinning type stuff, and you become quite unhappy, to boot, when you forget to take breaks. You force your way through the day, negating your efforts, instead of coming from a place of power and intelligent, effective action.

    Right now I work for 3 to 4 hours in the morning and 1 to 2 hours at night, if that. Why? I figured out acting intelligently by pulling back is the quickest way to reach my goals. Not spending countless hours on social media, or networking…nope, this is a recipe for failure and burnout.

    I write SEO’ed out articles and blog posts and only leave comments on top shelf blogs. So my content moves up search engines, I receive targeted traffic and I only need to spend a few minutes on social media each day.

    Few have the discipline to pull back. When I was new to the whole idea of pulling back to get more done, I took 10 minute breaks on every hour. Now I simply work for a bit in the morning and evening, and spend the rest of my day engaged in personal development and cool stuff like enjoying my travels. You must recharge and pull back to attract the truly effective, money ideas. It is quite difficult to generate effective ideas when engaged in work, but pulling back provides you with the Eureka moments you are looking for.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Cori.

    Ryan

    • Exactly Ryan you nailed it! Like a hamster wheel of busyness that gets nowhere. I typically try to cram all my productive hours into the school hours while my kids are out, and then leave evenings free for family time. I also try to take at least an hour of that school hour time in the morning, just for me for reading and enriching my brain and soul. Helps enormously when I make a point to do it!

  4. I segment the access to social networks to a less than an hour a day.
    That way, I make best use of my time.
    I always try and spend more time on content and my own site then on facebook and what not.

    • Definitely can’t go wrong focusing on your own content as well as long as you find time to balance the two. They really go hand in hand if you’re trying to grow a business!

  5. Hi Cori, thanks for bringing up this topic. Several times this week I’ve run into conversations on this topic. Every time, I express concern. In 50 years, will we all be sitting in front of computers, communicating only digitally? Perhaps I’m being melodramatic, but I do wonder. I maintain balance in a couple of ways: 1) I have time limits on certain sites in my browser. I try to limit time on the sites that are addictive to me to less than 30 minutes per day. 2) Every Sunday, I take a complete break from the computer. I go to church or take a bike ride. I read. I hang out at coffee shops. If you can’t tell yet – it’s my favorite day. Enjoy your coffee!

    • LOL! Me too! I love Sunday’s. We do church, family lunch, then I veg the rest of the day reading, catching up on some of my secret TV addictions, and enjoying the rest. One does have to wonder what the world will look like in 50 years though as everything becomes more and more digital.

  6. Social Media can give hangovers because most of it isn’t fun. I believe we don’t necessarily need to retreat from social media; we need to find more fun social media outlets. (Click on my name for an example of this. Cori, you’re due for another prompt btw. ;) )

    • LOL.. true dat Shane! I’m dealing with bit of personal stuff the next couple weeks, but shout at me once I’m through the mire and I’d love to throw some more word fodder in the mix. :)

  7. As a social media manager, I tend to “binge” on social media during the week. Part of my job is to be on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Google+/Pinterest all day long. I’ve been known to check my email in my sleep. It’s not always healthy.

    So when I’m not at work, I try to stay off social media sites. Ironic, isn’t it?

    On the weekends, I “dry” out.

    I take long drives in the country. I try to hang out with friends in the city. I go have adventures. Sometimes I tweet about them. One thing I’ve discovered is that the more I’m on social media, the more I long for human interaction. We weren’t created to interact with computers. We were created for humans.

    • Well said Caitlin! I think we forget that sometimes, that there are real people on the other end of this communication/relationship beast. People are built for real and human interaction.

  8. As an Online Marketing Consultant and an online entrepreneur I sometimes get feeling this way. I post to nearly 200,000 people daily, and I get bogged down with questions replies, and sometimes mad villagers. One of the things I make sure I do is set a routine on when I post and when I’m going to be on social media sites. Also, working out helps to get the mind flowing again.

    • Yes, I’ve found the same thing. Getting out and getting your blood pumping, even if only 10 minutes can really make a difference in clearing the haze and finding clarity again.

  9. Work from home and found getting a dog is great all around; you get tactical connection and love, he wants to play periodically and that gets me up and moving around, 2 walks a day around the neighborhood and one 1 hour exercise walk a day keeps us both fit and me destressed.

    • Ha ha.. I actually have two dogs. They do give me some breaks when I take them outside and have a sit down with a cup of coffee for a few. Although walking them… yeesh, haven’t done that in years! I just let them run!

  10. 5 Tips for Recovering from Social Media OCD

    * Stop and ask yourself many times until this becomes a habit: Is this activity productive toward a goal or am I robbing myself, my family, and/or my employer of precious resources?
    * Determine the true cost of being ‘Twitter-pated’ [Emotional, recreational, spiritual, relational, financial,
    opportunity-cost]
    * Turn off your gadgets…email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blackeberries, Iphones, cell-phones; shut them
    down, put them in ‘time-out’.
    * Obtain a ruthless, highly-focused, A-type personality accountability partner.
    * Back down your salary to the minute. For every minute wasted on Social Media OCD, put the dollar
    equivalent into a clear jar. Use cash.

  11. Damn right!

    I always feel better doing outdoor activities than sitting pointlessly at my computer – which I tend to do…when I’m not actually writing – constantly checking email, Facebook Twitter.

  12. Hi Cori,
    I can totally relate to the fog. I am battling an especially Londonesque opaqueness of thought this week due to the very beautiful but highly distracting Pinterest fascination. When it gets like this I try to employ the following tactic: no SM before noon. I learned this in a Time Management talk that Marisa Brassfield gave at an IFBC Food Bloggers meeting last year. Giving time to focused concentration on a single subject in the morning could be rewarded with the shattered, flicky, swipey, disconnected mental equivalent to the lindy-hop that is social media. I find I get a lot more writing done this way, and believe it or not, more sm sharing done too. It works for me.

    • Hey Suzie.. great tip! I think implementing a no SM rule before noon would be totally doable. In fact I might even try that one myself. Ha. And THEN I’ll work on email. :-/

  13. Years ago, my coach told me that I had to take a day off….that meant no phone or no computer for the entire day. On that day off, I get in my car and travel wherever I want…..turning down roads and just learning about my community and everything within a day’s drive. It has done wonders for my life and creativity just like you said in your article.

    • That’s awesome! I love doing that. I often get out and take my grandma for lunch (she’s disabled) and spend the day “jookin” as my Daddy used to say. I always come back feeling more energized.

  14. Terrific post! This really resonated with me. Coincidentally, I just returned from a WIR (writing inspiration retreat) that I carved out just for myself. I rode the train to Seattle from Portland, checked into a downtown hotel for 2 nights, then just wandered. I did connect with a friend and a cousin but other than those 2 interactions, I assumed the role of a solo traveler…observing, slowing down, and just “being.” Man, did the writing flow! And now I feel revitalized and ready to tackle my new projects.

    • That sounds awesome Jennifer! I’ve had kids for so long, I forget sometimes what it’s like to be able to just get up, go somewhere and spend a weekend alone just observing the world. I did that pre-parenting, when I was young, and I was always drawn to the beach.

  15. I LOVE this post and wrote a similar one myself last year. People need time away from technology in order to do their best work (otherwise the words they write will become dull and flat.) I take at least one day off from technology each month to go to the beach, the spa, the local arcade, anywhere that completely takes me away from work. I find that when I come back to it, I’m filled with new ideas on what and how to write. :)

    • Right on MaLinda! :) Have to admit, I haven’t been to an arcade in YEARS. I’ll have to try that one. I keep saying I want to go check out this trampoline place down the street from me too. Sometimes just doing fun KID things away from the digital age can be refreshing!

  16. ITA w/ getting out of the house and spending time w/ people. One of the reasons I am keeping my dumbphone for now is that I don’t want the constant temptation of connection always at my fingertips; my iPad is enough for that.

    I keep reading about studies, the addictive nature of social media. If it weren’t for work, I’d still be social – but that ‘pressure’ wouldn’t be there, the ‘publish or perish’ feeling we get when we don’t hit up multiple networks with regular updates. We don’t have to go cold-turkey but if we can just schedule a few hours each day when we are offline – and let ourselves be ok w/ ‘missing’ those tweets, updates that’ll be there when we get back anyway – if think we can take off some of the pressure. FWIW.

    • I feel ya… when it comes to using social media as a business building tool, pressure to make sure you’re on top of it can feel heavy. As they say, out of sight out of mind, and that’s never good for businesses, especially fledgling ones that are trying to get off the ground. But scheduling it can definitely help combat that.

  17. How delightful to read this post. Once again, this only goes to show what a fab blog this has turned out to be. I am glad to have stumbled across it ages ago. I want you to know how much I appreciate the links provided by your writers, because those links help people like me to discover new blogs and bloggers. There are so many blogs and bloggers out there…sometimes, it is difficult to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. Your blog, time and again, has enabled me to find what I am looking for. Usually, I must say, you are bang on target. Thanks for your contribution.

    As for this post, I am afraid I am also a victim of social media overdose. I feel sometimes that I spend too much time on the computer. Even so, I like to unplug and focus on meditation. Whenever I get a chance, I sit down and meditate on a focus word or mantra. That helps me to escape from technology and it is a welcome change. These days, we are surrounded by too much technology. Virtual reality has replaced the reality of our natural world, but I still believe nothing beats a lungful of pure oxygen on your daily constitutional in the wee hours of the morning; nor the thrilling experience of going swimming near a beach; or just hanging out with a bunch of friends. Sipping a hot cup of coffee or tea when it is pouring cats and dogs outside…well, by now, you catch my drift, right? Ah, the simpler pleasures of life and love!

    Cheers.

    • It’s definitely often the simplest things that bring us the most joy and peace we crave eh? I’ve been incorporating a bit of meditation during my morning reading hour. I’m not a pro but I’m finally getting to the point where I can go 10 minutes without constantly peeking and seeing how long I’ve been sitting there meditating. LOL

  18. This was an incredibly timely post for me. I’ve been so focus on my recent endeavors that I have completely been in a fog. I think that it’s easier for the “Adult ADD types” to hyper-focus on details, which causes you to lose sight of the big picture stuff.

  19. Hi Cori,

    Oh gosh, I can so relate. While social media is really a great way to connect with (like-minded) people around the world, it can also overwhelm you at time. Keeping up with everything does sometimes get too much for me too.

    When that happens, I drop everything immediately, shut of my computer and get out of the house if it’s a nice day. Just taking a hot shower clears my mind at times as well. Or just playing with the dog and remembering, “hey, there are other things that are more important in life.”

    What did we ever do before the internet cluttered up our lives? Sometimes I think we were happier then than we are now.

    All the best!

    Ilka

    • You know IIka one does have to wonder if people were happier back in simpler times. While social media can open up amazing new experiences, it can also open the door to some pretty scary ones. So every good thing has a double edged sword, as it were.

  20. Sorry all I’m so late to the party! Been dealing with some personal stuff today but I’ll try to go through and respond to everyone’s comments now. :)

  21. I avoid social media (for the most part) on weekends. Doing so much social media-type stuff during the week, I definitely feel like I need (and deserve) a break! I know a lot of people are more active on social during the weekends, but I’m usually so busy working on my business or just relaxing with my family that I forget things like Facebook even exist!

    • Can’t fault you for that lady! Forgetting FB exists can sometimes be the answer to a prayer on those days especially you just need to “get shite done” already. :)

  22. The number of times I’ve started an idea only to get burnt out makes me sad. I do make a lot of efforts not to overburden myself, as is easy with anything related to online entrepreneurship. You don’t realize you’re working half the time, but before you know it, the moon is out. Posts like these are always a good reminder. Thanks!

    • Glad you got some value from it Jonathan! :) Tip- open those windows and let the light in. A good dose of sunshine might tempt you away from the addiction for at least a brisk walk.

  23. Getting out into the fresh air and sun always so refreshing for me. And almost always do I return to my office with some sort of new insight into approaching whatever challenge I had before me. For me, it’s more of an SEO hangover that I have.

    Best,
    Eve

  24. I work from home and live right by the beach. So, getting out to get some fresh air always works wonders to get the creative ideas flowing!

    • Aw so jealous! Nearest beach to me is about a 45 minute drive. BUT I might just make that drive one day soon, I SO need a break from life at large, lol not just SM at the moment! :)

  25. Great read Cori, I did this just about a week ago. Unplugged from everything and went back to the basics, I got a lot more done in that time and made a lot more money. Social Media is fun, but – it can be a headache if that’s all you spend your time doing.

  26. I know I’ve had too much when I get tired of sitting and my eyes begin to cross. A long walk at midday helps, but sometimes I need breaks of several hours at a time. My addiction, however, is not the social media. Mine is a more general affliction, something like a desire to be everywhere at once. Perhaps it’s about not wanting to be left out or left behind. The irony is that the Internet is so vast that all of us are being left behind. Thanks for raising an interesting question.

    • Hey Doug.. yeah I get that way too. My eye balls start to hurt and feel strained and I know then it’s time to get out for the day. Usually it takes me a couple days of resting them and staying as unplugged as possible before they feel right again!

  27. I can so relate to this post. I cannot go two hours without some sort of an interaction with the digital world. It seriously is like I imagine heroin withdrawals must be like. I try the driving with the windows down thing all the time. That is how I relax, but 30 minutes away and it starts to hurt a little bit. Two hours away and I can’t stand it. Please help me!

  28. Hi Cori,

    When I sit down in front of my computer I completely lose track of time before I know it a couple of hours have gone. It’s funny I sit down with a specific task in mind and when I finally get up for a coffee break I still haven’t completed the task and usually I haven’t even started it. There is so much to do when you are into affiliate marketing, prioritizing is a major issue and not “Majoring on the Minor” Thank god I am not hooked on Social media I would never have time to spin my wheels on affiliate marketing :) Nice article look forward to your next one. Cheers Steve

  29. I write fiction, which involves marketing and find social media can fog that creative brain and also eat up my time. This is a good reminder to use moderation! Very good advice.

  30. I used to struggle a lot with this, especially since building relationships is such an important aspect of my business and blog. However, I have come to a place where I can be without social media for a while without feeling like I am missing out on something. I usually spend time with my husband in the evening and step away from the computer and all the social networks. Having the evenings for us is important and it gives me a break from tweeting and updating.

  31. I love that you included a link to Men with Pens as they’re one of my favorite read. You know what’s even tougher? It’s when you totally unplugged from the online world for 24 hours and you suddenly dread going back online that you just wish the peaceful experience can last. But, it’s just a wishful thinking really and as humans, we’ll always look for ways to connect with each other, no matter how.

    • Hey Aaron.. that definitely sounds like you may be in some sort of burn out phase, and mayhap need to take a longer break. :) If you love what you do but dread doing it, that’s definitely going to affect your overall performance. Maybe a weekend break somewhere? Or a week vacay, no tech allowed?

  32. Wow Cori,
    After reading your article and all the comments, I can safely say I fall into this category. I get seriously frustrated when I wander over to FB or Pinterest for “just a minute” and end up wasting hours paying attention to stuff that I don’t even care about.
    Social Media is meant to be a tool, for some more than others…but I really need to detach a bit more to find the balance!
    Thanks for the great article!

    • Hey Annie! I know, I find myself falling into the same trap. I’ll say ooh.. let me just do a quick Twitter check or FB check. Then before I know it, 30 minutes have gone by and I’ve accomplished a big fat zero of anything worthwhile. And for me when you throw in the other distractions that often go hand in hand with working from home, it becomes this big cycle of gettin’ nada done. :) I have to be extremely strict with myself sometimes to break this habit, and usually I’m most successful at it when I have a deadline or some sort of pressure to speed me along.

  33. This January, we were without power, cable or Internet for 5 days (and 2 of those days I was without cell service as well). This forced me to take a much-needed break from all electronic communication. it was the first time that I had done so since I started my business in 2008 — even though I had taken “vacations” in that time! The experience showed me just how valuable that down time really is. So now, i make a point of being offline on weekends as much as possible. i turn the computer OFF at the end of the day on Friday, so it is just a bit more work to pop online for “just a minute.” Going the whole weekend without getting back online is still challenging, but I’m at least more conscious of what I’m doing now (and the effects it has).

  34. I’m studying Social Media Theory and Practice @NewhouseSU with @dr4ward in #NewhouseSM4 and I can admit that I have found myself addicted to #SM. And although I love the social media lifestyle, it is still gratifying to write something down with a pen on paper. I think I will have to start timing out on my social sites and really find my voice in the human world, again. Thanks!

  35. Social media hangover…too funny. We all suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). In this day and age missing an hour is missing a lot, used to be a day. Taking time off even periodic breaks as you suggest really do give your brain and your psyche a break. Thanks for the great article.

  36. You’re very welcome – glad to see the idea helped. :)

    As for social media hangovers… you said it! Moderation is a good thing, and family are always good people to hang out with first.

  37. Once in a while I take a weekend off from everything including social media by going somewhere where can’t take a computer and preferably has no phone signal. It’s only then that I realise how attached I am to it all, because I notice the thought ‘oh I’ll just check my email/facebook/twitter/’ popping into my head so often. Only when I cant look at it do I really get a break. I should do it more often!

  38. First of all great tips. I really like number 3, social animals, very true, well in some cases.
    My remedy from my social media hangover though is to exercise. A good half hour to an hour usually does the trick. If for some reason I’m in no mood to exercise (which happens often for some reason) I usually start reading through my reader. I know still using technology. But hey at least it’s for a different purpose.

    • Thanks Rosendo! Glad you enjoyed. Yea exercise is a good one, although I’m not sure replacing it with reading from your reader is really helping much with the hangover. LOL

  39. Luckily, I use social media just for work. I really can’t understand that people can spend 24 hours on Facebook or Twitter. i hope people will follow your tips. :)