Between the post-election political debate comment wars in your Facebook feed and the photos of your ex’s cuffing season adventures popping up on Instagram (okay, popping up because of your non-stop social stalking), it’s definitely time for an end-of-year social media break. But… how?

friends on cell phones

If you’re tired of your time and energy getting sucked away by an algorithm — but at the same time you just can’t seem to stop yourself from checking your likes — we totally relate. We’ve tried quitting cold-turkey before… but we only lasted a week. So now we’re thinking the key is, like anything else in life, moderation. Start slow with these tools and tips for cutting back, and by the time 2017 rolls around, you’ll be able to start off the new year in a brand new, healthy relationship… at least with your social networks. (Seriously, quit online-stalking your ex!)

1. Track how much time you spend online. The first step, as they say, is admitting you have a problem. Start clocking the time you spend on social media and face the cold, hard reality of how much time you’re wasting. The shock alone might be enough to get you to cut back for good.

2. Know your triggers. Try to figure out what pushes you toward social media in the first place. Is it an unconscious go-to when you’re bored? Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to catch up with friends IRL? Try to compensate for what’s missing offline, and catch yourself when you start falling back into bad habits. You already take a mindful approach to eating — why not extend that to the rest of your life?

3. Curate your networks and feeds. Do you really need Facebook, Twitter, Instagram AND Snapchat? Unless you’re running a social media marketing firm, probably not. Try cutting back on the number of networks you follow, or at very least cleaning up your feeds. We recommend liberal use of Facebook’s “unfollow” button as a start and scaling back your Twitter follows to just people and news sources you actually care about hearing from.

4. Delete your account. Or at least the apps on your phone. If you put actual, concrete limits on your access to social media, you’ll have fewer opportunities to give into the temptation to check it. Yeah yeah yeah, we know you can still just pull it up in the web browser — but baby steps, okay?

Women using cell phones in living room

5. Let your friends know when you’re taking a break. We’re not saying you should write a Facebook post press release to announce your planned departure, but it might be useful to give close friends who are used to being able to reach you on social networks a head’s up. You don’t want any angry texts from your BFFs demanding to know why you didn’t “like” their latest #TBT.

6. Kill your newsfeed. If all else hashtag FAILS, Kill Newsfeed is your silver bullet. You can still access Facebook for posts, messages and event notifications, but by installing this Chrome browser extension, you’ll be saved from the temptation to start mindlessly scrolling through the social media echo chamber. As for your feeds on your other social apps… well, again — baby steps.

What are your tips for cutting back on social media? Have you ever taken a total break? Get on Twitter (briefly!) and tweet your tips @BritandCo!