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Disconnecting to Connect

Understanding the impacts of a Social Media and Digital technologies break.

In our current social media landscape, it's become increasingly easy to get lost in a never-ending scroll of content. We can be so quickly engrossed in what everyone else is doing that we forget to focus on our own lives. While social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends, family, and business associates, it's important to take breaks from time to time. We need it to stay connected with our friends and family, but it can also be a huge time suck. Not to mention the negative impact it can have on our mental health.

You might not realize it, but spending too much time on social media can lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. It can also make it difficult to focus and be productive. But it doesn’t have to be this way! There is power in disconnecting from social media and taking a break from the constant noise.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by social media, it might be time to take a break. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of taking breaks from social media, and how occasionally disconnecting can help us effectively connect.

Impacts of social media

It's no secret that social media has changed the way we communicate and connect with each other. But what are the effects of social media? Are they all positive?

Some experts say that social media has had a positive effect on our social lives, making it easier to stay connected with friends and family. Social media has had a profound effect on the way we communicate and connect with each other. It has created new opportunities for businesses and organizations to reach out to their audiences, and it has made it easier for people to connect with each other regardless of location. According to a 2020 study by Mesfin Awoke Bekalu, a research scientist in the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Social media has also had a number of positive effects on our mental health and well-being, helping us to feel more connected and less alone (1). Others say that social media has had a negative effect on our social lives, making us more prone to isolation and loneliness(2).


During my research on the effects of social media (and digital use in general), I learned about TCIU, the "Theory of compensatory internet use"(3).

The TCIU is a contemporary theory that has been widely applied in social media as an extension of the uses and gratifications theory. An important factor around TCIU is its particular focus on psychopathology as a motivator of problematic internet or social media use (4). Information and communication overload can occur when people turn to social media in order to alleviate their boredom. Therefore, information overload and communication overload are conceptualized as strain factors. Strain can lead to various negative outcomes, such as dissatisfaction, emotional exhaustion, fatigue, or even the discontinued negative with academic performance (5). Following the TCIU model, individuals may overuse systems like social media to deal with or compensate for social needs they may consider themselves inadequate in; as well as negative perceptions and reactions related to their living environment (physically and socially). The research around TCIU really impacted my personal study of digital burnout.

Digital Burnout

Over the last couple of months, I'd been feeling very much in the mind of "I can't even" when it came to something as simple as my phone vibrating. Since my most recent medical procedure, I have not wanted to engage online as much. I noticed that I was having more frequent migraine when I was looking at my phone, so I moved to my 22” screen desktop. However, it only mildly improved the pain in my eyes. After Googling “Why do my eyes and brain physically hurt?” (something I HIGHLY suggest you limit yourself from doing - we will discuss why you shouldn’t “look up” your pains in another blog), I came across the studies around Digital Burnout.

What it boils down to is, as technology makes us more interconnected and more of us rely on computers, tablets, and smartphones for work or school, the risk of burning out goes up and up (6). One may feel anxiety, exhaustion, and apathy. Over time, this fatigue can lead to more lasting mental health problems. "Digital overload is linked to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety and can generally make you feel bad about yourself," says Ajita Robinson, Ph.D., grief and trauma therapist and author of ​The Gift of Grief​ (7). It had occurred to me that digital and social media burnout were in line with my desire to no longer work remotely (another topic we will soon discuss)

While there is no right or wrong answer for your use of social media and technology, it's important to be aware of the potential impacts on your life. Whether you use it to stay connected with loved ones or to stay informed about the latest news, be sure to use social media in a healthy way that works for you; including taking, often, much-needed breaks.

Figuring out what "disconnecting" means to you

A social media break is a period of time during which you choose to stop using social media to varying degrees. A key point here is that YOU choose when, how, and how long the break will last..While taking breaks from social media is great, it’s important to be realistic (and not militant) about your use; don’t bully yourself. That’s not helpful.

If social media is a part of your life, that’s OK. There are ways to lessen the negative effects and enhance the positive effects of social media, even while you’re using it.

Some of the ways that I have chosen to improve my relationship with social media are:

  • Unfollowing accounts that have a negative effect on mood or self-image.

  • Delete any negative DMs, trolling, or spam.

  • Remove and Unsave content that creates negative self-communication

Setting personal boundaries for yourself and your time

67% of cell phone owners check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. (8)

Honestly, we don’t need statistics to tell us we are addicted to our technology. We already know this to be true. It's important to be reminded and mindful of our uses so that we are not causing ourselves to feel ill. Technology isn’t evil, but can be a form of addiction; a powerful one. BUT it does have a power-off button.

Additionally, I try to consciously consume and consciously create (9)

When you choose to take a break, you might get anxious about missed connections. Ways to alleviate that are:

  • Notifying your close connections that you are taking a break.

  • create an “away” email/post.

  • Set a time limit for yourself: Only allow yourself to be on social media for a certain amount of time each day. Once you hit your limit, log off and do something else.

  • Delete the apps from your phone: This may seem drastic, but it can be really effective. If you don't have the apps right in front of you, you're less likely to open them.

  • Limit viewing the app. I have all of my apps in categories, and just “hide” the social media ones. You can also use apps like Rescue Time.

  • Be firm and clear with your boundaries. It might be difficult for others to understand you desire to disconnect, however, this isnt about them. It’s important that you remind yourself that this is what you want and everyone else has to respect that boundary. (I openly tell my peers, “I don’t want to know whats happening on social media, I’m on a break”)

How can we effectively connect?

So far, we’ve discussed social media, digital burnout, TCIU, and how to disconnect….but how can disconnecting be the solution to connection? In business terms, I strongly believe that the best way for me to meet the needs of our consumers is to disengage from all the noise. What do I mean? Have you ever been in a room full of people, the room is quiet, but it feels so “loud”? Well, welcome to the world of many Neurodivergent(10) and Persons on the Spectrum (11). Often, we experience an overwhelming sensory overload of everything…including our own thoughts (12). THIS is my primary reason for taking my social media break. Too often, everything is just too “loud”, and I can’t think. A more relatable example is when we turn the radio down in the car to look for a building (13).

In short, disconnecting allows our brain to “breathe” so when we connect, we do so with a deeper effectivity. Downtime replenishes the brain's stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve success in your goals. IT'S OKAY TO BE BORED. The truth is, you’re not actually “bored”, you’re experiencing a type of anxiety(14). The modern world is full of distractions. Though some can be helpful, like when you need a break from work, most are harmful to your productivity. When you’re trying to get things done, it’s important to be aware of the challenges to taking breaks so you can effectively connect with what you’re doing.

One challenge to taking breaks is that you may feel like you’re not getting enough done if you take time for yourself. This is especially true if you work in a fast-paced environment or if you’re used to multi-tasking. However, it’s important to remember that taking breaks can actually help you be more productive in the long run. If you allow yourself time to relax and rejuvenate, you’ll be able to approach your work with fresh energy and new ideas.

So, if after reading this, you’ve realized that you , too, are ready for a “break”...GO FOR IT.

Let your mind have one less source of information/content dump.


YES! This is going to be my last post for a while. How long? Well, I’ve decided to not put myself on a timer. Instead, I’m taking each day as they come. I will return when it's time to.



















About the Author:

Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux


    Intenovate™ Inc. , A Paradise Company™

         Best-selling author, entrepreneur, and thought leader.

 Paradise Rodríguez-Bordeaux, recipient of the 2023 Innovative Leadership and 2022 Human Rights Activist awards, firmly believes, "Sustainability is the bare minimum." Spearheading initiatives that prioritize sustainable business growth and innovation, Paradise’s leadership at Intenovate™ has been instrumental in guiding the company and its clients toward understanding and solidifying their foundational strengths before embarking on expansion. In the language of being #IntentionallyInnovative, Paradise has positioned Intenovate™ Inc. to be a sound asset for clients; leveraging strategic solutions for sustainable profitability.

 Beyond her corporate endeavors, Paradise is a passionate advocate for those who have faced adversity and discrimination. With over 15 years as a philanthropist, she supports organizations championing poverty alleviation and human rights. Paradise firmly believes that "We need to consistently produce effectively efficient solutions. This world, the communities, it's all of our responsibility. Leaders HAVE to lead," encapsulating her vision for responsible leadership.


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