If you feel like you spend too much time checking the latest status updates on Facebook but regularly use its Messenger app to keep in contact with friends and family, there is a way to wean yourself off one while remaining active on the other.

Instead of deleting your Facebook accountyou can also deactivate your account so you can temporarily remove yourself from the site. You won’t appear in search results and your Timeline will disappear, but your information isn’t deleted so you can log back in at any point to resume using it.

[Read more: You can now comment on Facebook using GIFs and here’s how]

Deactivating your account needn’t mean waving goodbye to Messenger, the instant messaging program that lets you share text messages and make video calls with friends and family individually or in groups.

Here’s how to keep Messenger up and running while giving yourself a well-earned break from Facebook. Please note, we've tried this process on several Facebook accounts and it doesn't work on all of them. Facebook rolls out updates to selected users and it seems to depend what version of Facebook you've got on your PC and your smartphone app. To check you've been deactivated ask a friend to search their account for you. If you aren't there you've been successfully  deactivated.

Step 1: Download your data

Start by downloading a copy of your Facebook data. You don’t need to do this, but in the event you decide not to reactivate, you’ve got a permanent copy of all your posts and photos.

Launch Facebook on your PC browser, click the drop-down arrow at the top right and select Settings.

[Read more: Why you should think before clicking ‘Like’ on Facebook]

Facebook Download a copy of  your history

Under General, click ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data.’

Follow the instructions and Facebook will send you an email with a link allowing you to download a copy of your personal archive.

Step 2: Deactivate your account (part 1)

Facebook deactivate account

Remaining within the Settings menu, click Security from the left-hand side. Look for ‘Deactivate your account’ and click Edit.

Click ‘Deactivate your account’ and enter a reason for leaving. You may have to enter your password again for security at this point.

Facebook reason for leaving

To try and make you stay Facebook will offer a solution to each reason.

Step 3: Deactivate your account (part 2)

Underneath there will be at least two options:

Facebook Keep me signed in to Messenger

Email opt-out: Tick the box and you won’t receive future emails from Facebook.

Messenger: Leave this box unchecked to keep using Messenger; this means people will still be able to send you a message.

[Read more: Facebook privacy – how much information are you giving away?]

When you are happy click ‘Deactivate’. Facebook will ask you one more time if you are sure, so click ‘Deactivate Now’ again.

Facebook deactivated account

4: Using Messenger

Launch Messenger on your phone and you’ll need to log in again using your Facebook email and password. 

You'll also be able to assign a phone number to your account if you want to. 

A screen will appear letting you know you've deactivated.

This means you can keep using Messenger to chat to your Facebook friends, but you don’t have to use Facebook.

[Read more: 12 ways to protect your Facebook privacy]

Do you use Facebook? Have you thought about having a break? Let us know in the Comments section below.