When was the last time you went a full day without checking your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Would you feel depressed or not know what to do with yourself? If you did not know by now social media is addictive! It is also linked to your mental health and can cause problems such as depression, anxiety and effect your long term health. I will be the first to tell you I am addicted to social media and not in a good way! I am not sure there can even be a good way. I can spend hours scrolling through Instagram staring at curated pictures of women I envy. Their over saturated photos, beautiful makeup, perfect bodies and perfect appearing lives. I then sit there contemplating how are they so perfect? How do they have so many followers? What makes them so special and not me? Well guess what! NOTHING!! And you want to know what this does for me? Absolutely nothing but make me depressed and dissatisfied with my own life. It takes away from me enjoying and being present in my own life. It takes away my time from enjoying my family, getting outside and loving my self.
“The ubiquitous social media platforms and the easy access to the Internet bring about the potential for social media addiction, namely, the irrational and excessive use of social media to the extent that it interferes with other aspects of daily life.”
Now I am not saying there is something wrong with social media because I think when used with limits it is a great platform. Many people use social media as their job. Hence why there are so many bloggers but I think the problem comes when there is an obsession to be famous or be like someone else you see. This blog post comes from a recent challenge from my husband. We spent the day together and he saw me on my phone. He bet me that I could not stay off social media or the internet for that whole day. So I accepted this challenge and learned a few things about myself. First and I already knew this, but I am addicted to social media. The whole day I would catch myself thinking about what I was missing or if I should post a picture. I also felt like I had so much more time on my hands and I did not know what to do with myself. I was lost but it was such an eyeopener. If felt great not looking at other women and comparing myself. It also felt great not looking at what others had and thinking “I need that also.”….hello to saving money $$$$. So I decided that I need to start implementing some real life techniques to get un-addicted and start focusing on my real life because real life happens when you put your phone down and you look around. So here are some steps I am now using every day. Give them a try as well.
Admit you have a problem
The first step to any problem is first admitting there is a problem! Understand that being addicted to anything no matter what the addiction is not healthy. So accept that there is a problem and make a plan to do something about it.
Turn off notifications
I truly believe this one tip has improved my productivity and my relationship with social media. I no longer get the instant gratification of someone liking my post or commenting on my pictures. It has also helped me to stop obsessing how many likes or comments I am getting and how fast I am getting them. Now I go on my phone a few times a day and respond to the comments. It feels like a nice little surprise when I do open the app and see the engagement. This is a great way to get yourself to stop picking up that phone every 10 minutes or just because you hear a ding.
Limit your time
You only have 24 hours in a day and do you really need to spend most of it on your phone? So much is happening around us that we miss because we are face deep in our phones. Something I have started implementing is limiting my time on social media. I will give myself a time frame…say 1 hour and I will break it up into 30 minute increments. So I put a timer on my phone for 30 minutes. In this time I respond to comments and interact with others. Once my time is up the phone does down and I am done. This helps me not waste useless time scrolling through my feed or looking at content that is wasteful to me.
Enrich Your Real Relationships
This is embarrassing to admit but there have been multiple times when my husband has complained to me that I do not listen to him when he is talking or he feels ignored. Why, because when he is talking to me I am staring at my phone and not giving him the attention he deserves! So many times I will be scrolling through Instagram while he is trying to have a conversation. Not only is this rude but it puts a strain on the relationship. So now when we are together I put my phone down and focus on us because my relationship is more important! So put your phone down when you are around family and friends. Give them the respect that they deserve.
Live in the moment
Not everything you do has to be posted on social media. For instance, when my husband challenged me to stay off social media we were going for a walk. I saw a field of beautiful flowers. The normal me would take a picture and instantly upload it to social media. Instead I took the photo real quick and put my phone away. If I chose to share it there is plenty of time for that later. No need to be face deep and share it right away or even at all! Not everything you do needs to be shared. Instead try genuinely enjoying the moment. Memories are best recalled through your own thoughts, not through your social media timeline.
These five steps are helping me make changes in my life and live my life away from my phone. I recommend them to anybody who wants to be present and have a healthier relationship with social media. If you have any tips that you use please leave them in the comment section. I would love to hear of additional strategies I can implement.