“It takes discipline to not let social media steal your time” – Alexis Ohanian
The result of these surveys is interesting. In this era of social media, as each day pass by, more and more people are interested in distancing themselves from social media platforms.
Grab a cup of coffee and sit back because this is going to be a long read.
You very well know the side effects of excessive use of social media. You have read articles about it or have seen videos and documentaries about this topic. You know the whole downside of social media but just cannot seem to take a break from it.
It is just extremely difficult to stop scrolling the phone even if you realize that it is an absolute waste of time. You try to stop or reduce the use of social media or your phone but just cannot do it.
Have you ever thought why is it so? Did you try to find out why is social media so addictive? Or what happens in your brain when you scroll through social media?
Social media use is linked to the release of dopmaine which gives you the feeling of pleasure. This is what keeps you hooked to social media. This research article will give you more information regarding this. You can read more about this topic here.
How many times have you compared your life with your friend’s or celebrity’s while you scroll through social media? Admit it, we are guilty of doing this many times.
According to this study , ‘adolescents engaging in technology-based SCFS (Social Comparison and Feedback-Seeking) may form distorted perceptions of their peers, leading them to engage in harmful upward comparisons, or to doubt the sincerity of positive feedback that is sought online, and experience decreases in mood or self-esteem.’
According to this research, increased use of social media causes sleep disturbances.
A good night’s sleep is a very important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Your excessive use of social media can be one of the causes of disrupted sleep.
According to this study by the American Journal Of Preventive Medicine, those who use social media more are found to be socially isolated.
This research states that people who used more social media platforms were at higher odds of increased levels of anxiety.
The same research which shows that increased use of social media causes anxiety also shows that it can result in increased depression.
Social media detox is consciously refraining from the use of social media for a particular period. This means that you don’t have to delete your social media accounts. All you have to do is limit the amount of time you spend on your social media platforms.
According to this research, limiting the use of social media can decrease loneliness and depression. A social media detox is a perfect way to decrease the amount of time scrolling on your phone.
But you have time for being on social media. Your day starts and ends with social media. You can scroll and scroll for hours. You have all the time in the world to update status, chat, message, and whatnot. You take your phone to scroll for a minute and before you know it hours pass.
If this sounds familiar to you, then it’s high time that you reduce or limit your time on social media and start doing things that matter at the end of the day.
Your friend puts up an Instagram post about her dream vacation. And all of a sudden, maybe before even you know it, you start comparing your life to hers. Why am I not being able to go on a vacation? My life isn’t as happening as hers. What am I doing wrong? One thought leads to another and you end up feeling sad and worried.
Do you often find yourself comparing to the lives of celebrities and end up feeling like a loser or failure? Or do you feel terrible when a brand launches an expensive product and you are unable to buy them? Do you start comparing your life to your other friends who can afford those?
If the answer to these questions were yes, then it is a sign that social media is affecting you and you need to stop it.
When you are not scrolling through your social media you feel anxious. You need to know what your friends are doing. You have the urge to check other’s highlight reels.
Do you just feel that you are missing out on what is happening in the world and you need to know what is happening in everyone’s life? Have you felt that urge to check a notification?
You fear that you are missing out on what’s happening and that makes you anxious. And before you know it, you start scrolling through your damn phone.
Sounds familiar? It’s time to put a check on your social media use.
Your thumb hurts. And there is a name for it: Texting Thumb! Did you know that?
A texting thumb occurs when you do excessive texting or when you do anything on your phone for too long.
This is a physical sign that you are spending too much time on your phone.
You have scrolled through your social media feed for 2 hours and it’s finally time to sleep. But are you able to sleep? Or have you noticed that your sleep is getting disturbed?
Two friends have come to a restaurant to have lunch. One of them is on her phone and the other one is waiting for her to keep the phone aside so that they can have a conversation.
Sounds familiar? Have you seen anything like this?
Or are you that person who is always scrolling through social media and missing out on a real-life conversation with your friends and family?
The people who spend most of their time on their social media texting or sharing memes or simply scrolling miss out on keeping a healthy relationship with their loved ones who are with them. Spending not enough time with friends and family because they are always using social media can put strains on the relationships.
If your loved ones have been complaining about your overuse of phones or social media then it’s time to introspect how many hours are you spending online. It’s time to analyze how the overuse of social media is affecting your relationships.
Situation 1: You uploaded a photo on social media. After an hour you check your phone and sees that you have got 100 likes and many comments about the picture.
This is great! I am really good. The world loves me. Do these thoughts come to your mind?
You start feeling good about yourself. Everything just feels amazing.
Situation 2: You uploaded another photo on social media. And you notice that the picture didn’t get as many likes and comments as you had expected.
You take down the picture because it didn’t perform as well as you had thought.
Why aren’t people liking my pic? Am I not good enough? What’s wrong with that pic?
Do such thoughts rush into your mind? And before you know it your peace of mind is destroyed in a few seconds.
Are these two situations familiar to you?
This means that your sense of worth comes from outside. That’s not good. If your self-esteem goes up and down based on how your social media friends react to your posts and stories that is a red flag. It is time to evaluate how social media is affecting you and to do the needful.
Now, take a few minutes and evaluate yourself. See if you identify yourself if any of these signs. If it’s a yes, then read on to find out how to do a social media detox and the benefit of it.
Now that you have realized what the overuse of social media is doing to you, it’s time to take up a challenge to reduce the amount of time you spend on social media.
1.It’s not going to be easy.
Scrolling through your social media has become your habit. It takes time, effort, and commitment to break a habit. You will find it difficult. It’s always easy to start but the difficulty is to stick to the challenge.
2. Involve your friends and family.
Tell them that you have decided to take up a social media detox challenge and ask for their support and help. Encourage them also to do this challenge with you. A challenge becomes easier when your loved ones offer their helping hand.
3. How many days to do the challenge?
Some people do it for a week or two, other for one month.
It takes an average of 66 days for a behavior to become automatic. Yeah, you read that right! Minimum of 66 days.
Start with a 14-day social media detox challenge.
Once you reduce the amount of time of using social media, then sustain the reduced use for at least 3 months so that it becomes a habit.
So, by the end of the third month, you should have developed the habit of using social media for only 30 minutes per day.
4. How much time should you spend on social media per day?
According to this study ‘limiting social media use to 30 minutes per day may lead to a significant increase in well-being’.
You have your answer. 30 minutes per day
It can be celebrities or brands. Or it can be colleagues from work or friends from college whom you have follow because of courtesy.
You might be having accounts on almost every social media site. Do you use all these social media platforms? Are all of these social media platforms necessary for you?
If there are social medias where you have simply created an account and don’t use it, it is time to delete your account as well as the app from your phone.
You hear the notification sound and you just cannot stop checking it. You take the phone to check the notification and before you know it you are hooked to social media.
Notifications are the villain here. So, just turn off the notifications and that will stop you from being distracted.
Make sure that you don’t start checking your social media as soon as you get up.
Don’t post any status update for the entire day.
That’s difficult, isn’t it?
You bought your favorite dessert and want to take a pic and post it in your status? What is the big deal in that?
That problem is you will click many pictures before you get that perfect pic. And then you will move on to the next step. Which filter will look nice? You will start checking every filter and decide one and post the status.
Then you will start scrolling social media. And yeah will also be waiting for the comments and reactions.
Do you see how your time is getting wasted?
So, don’t upload any status and break yourself from the cycle.
PS: You can click the pic for yourself, just for your memory.
Day 6: No social media till lunch time
From morning till lunch time, don’t use any social media platform.
Ready to increase the level of challenge a bit? Don’t use any social media platform till evening.
Have the habit of scrolling hours before you finally go to sleep. It’s time to put a stop to that. No social media before going to sleep. Keep your phone in another room before you go to sleep.
Yup! That’s right. Don’t scroll through your social media while having your food today. If you have to eat alone in a restaurant or at your workplace, take this time to enjoy what you are eating or observe the world around you.
Go Facebook free for an entire day.
You read that right ! No Facebook and Instagram for the entire day. Will you be able to do that?
The challenge is getting tougher !
You can use any number of social media but the cumulative amount of time spend should not exceed more than 30 minutes.
The biggest step : No social media for the entire day !!
No messaging, sharing memes, status updates or highlights checking. Nothing!
This is your 14 days social media detox challenge.
Try to do this successfully. It’s okay if you missed one day’s task or just couldn’t do it.
If anything like that happens don’t abandon your challenge. Do what you couldn’t do the next day and complete the challenge. Take this challenge as many times as you want until you feel confident that your affinity towards social media is broken.
Now that you could limit your social media use, how to sustain it?
Tips for that :
1. Limit your social media use to 20 to 30 minutes in a day
2. Don’t use your phone as soon as you get up
3. Don’t use your phone before going to sleep.
4. Keep your phone away from you while sleeping
5. Allot time for social media use.
6. Keep your notifications turned off.
7. If possible, go social media free or phone free for the weekends.
Try to do these things every day and that should keep a check on your social media use.
You can use the time during which you aren’t using social media for many things.
Reading is one of the best habits that you can develop. It is said that reading before going to sleep can have many benefits. It will help you to relax and you will be able to sleep. 20 minutes of reading before going to sleep is better than scrolling through your social media feed.
Instead of wasting your time checking your social media feed, you can use that time for meditating. Even 5 minutes of meditation can have significant benefits for your health.
Keep your phone away and observe what is happening around you. Once you start observing you start to see things differently. You will start to notice things that you might have been missing while you are using your phone.
Did you always want to start a garden? Or do you want to experiment with the new recipe which you saw? Use this time to develop a new hobby.
In this busy schedule, all of us have time to be on our phones. But don’t have time to take care of ourselves. Use this extra time you have to take care of yourself.
Do whatever you like. Apply a face pack, do a pedicure, or dance like no one is watching.
You can use your phone in a good way too. Other than checking social media there are other things that you can do.
Maybe listen to an informative podcast, or watch educative videos. Take up an online course or learn a new language.
Have a proper conversation with your loved ones. Connect with them. Spend quality time with them.
So, now you have an idea of what to do during a social media break!
Yup. When you put a check on the amount of time you are spending on social media, you will notice that you will have a lot of free time.
Finally, your focus will be on what’s happening now. Instead of using your social media you can be doing your activities mindfully. You can avoid your attention being divided between the task you are doing and scrolling social media.
As you had read earlier in this post use of social media might be affecting your sleep. Reduced social media usage might help you to sleep better and improve your sleep pattern.
A social media detox can help to break you from the social comparison. It can help to make you feel better and less anxious.
You read more about the benefits of social media detox here.
Now that you have read this much are you ready to take up the challenge?
Maybe not yet? Lacking motivation?
No matter how many articles you read or how many advice you get, until and unless you the answer to your why you might not be able to do it.
So, spare enough time to find the answer to why should I take a social media detox.
List out the points that are coming to your mind in a paper.
Analyze how much time you are using social media and how it is affecting you.
Spend a considerable amount of time to get the answer to the question.
Now that you have found your answer, you might be feeling motivated to limit your social media use. This will help you to get through the starting.
And now the next question
Read the answer to your question whenever you feel like using your social media. Remind yourself why you started it in the first place.
Secondly, quotes can help to keep you motivated.
You can read quotes which will inspire you to keep on continuing the social media detox here.
A social media detox can help you in numerous ways as you have read . So are you ready to disconnect to connect with the real world?