When it comes to social media, we’ve all seen someone post the fateful, “I’m offline for (period of time), text me if you need me!” How people go with their fast from social media varies – some pop on to share an important announcement and ask for forgiveness (from who?), and others are on a week later and their post has disappeared. It just goes to show, social media has an important place in our lives. And even though it can have negative impacts on our mental health and social relationships, we rely on it for connection, comfort and distraction.
If you frequently doom scroll or struggle to put your phone down for more than five minutes, you may need a social media detox. Consider it your chance to rediscover your identity minus technology, or perhaps a way to understand how screen time is affecting your body and brain. Some people need to cut out social media entirely, others just need a few parameters to keep them accountable. Wherever you fall, here are some practical ways you can cut back, or cut out, social media in your life. Give one or more of these practices a week and see how your mental health improves. It may change your relationship with technology for the long haul.
Set a curfew
Curfews aren’t just for children. If you find yourself scrolling mindlessly in bed, then social media is stealing you of rest. And chances are it’s not just social media – maybe it’s emails and text messages as well. Instead, set a curfew for your phone time. Like 9pm, when you head to bed. Or consider an earlier time if you want to focus on your family or partner. Turn your phone off and don’t turn it back on until a set time in the morning. If this is impossible because you may receive an emergency call or text in the night, charge your phone in a different room and set the volume up high. Setting a curfew isn’t an easy transition, so if you feel agitated or panicked, cut back slowly and set a curfew for a few nights a week.
Set time constraints on your apps
Many smart phones allow you to allocate time to apps. By programming your settings to allow an hour to a social media platform, your cumulative scrolling through the day adds up. It means that when you hit your threshold, your screen will notify you and you can put the phone down. Look up the instructions for your particular phone and use it to be mindful of your social media use.
Only use one messaging platform
Text message, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Teams, Viber, Microsoft Teams, Slack….the sheer amount of communication platforms is exhausting. Trying to keep up with them all is even more tiring! Commit yourself to text message and one other app for personal communications, and if you require another for work, add that in. This can be difficult, especially when people want to add you to a group chat and you don’t belong to the platform. So be selective and ask if the chat can be on a platform you use. If not, and you want to be involved in the communication on another platform, set it to mute and only check it once a day.
Choose two social media platforms
Like messaging, there is no end to social media apps – Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, Snapshat….does anyone use MySpace anymore? Your age, peer group and tech literacy will determine what social media platforms you use. But as new platforms pop up, there is a tendency to jump on board so we don’t miss the latest popular thing. The only problem with this, is that soon we have accounts on five platforms, separate relationships on each, plus multiple conversations with the same person on different accounts!
Do an inventory on your social media accounts and choose two that you want/need to use. Facebook might be key for staying in contact with family, while Instagram is a form of creative expression. Maybe you prefer Snapshot to communicate with your friends. Whatever the case, choose two and release yourself from the expectation that you need to be ‘on’ the others all the time. If you’re concerned about how people with react, just leave a message on your account stating how you can be reached. Simple!
Delete what you don’t need
If having a silent account on a social media platform concerns you, or you want to cut back on your internet footprint, consider deleting the apps and social media platforms you don’t want to use. The involves taking inventory (“Do I still have an account form a decade ago? Oh my gosh, look at those pictures!”), and then deciding what you actually need in your life.
Go back through your social media platforms and consider deleting anything that you haven’t used in more than twelve months. Save the data from your profiles that is meaningful, then delete your account permanently. While we can’t control what happens to our content once it is posted online, removing it from the main source gives us a sense of control. Plus, it literally cuts us off from the temptation of communicating on an additional platform when we don’t want or need to use them!
Is your social media use detracting from your face-to face relationships? Do you feel struggle to put your phone down? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now.
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