We’ve all been there when we find ourselves aimlessly scrolling through one or a few social media apps on our screens, and before we know it, hours have passed; not even the numbing hand or the ache on your face from where the phone fell has stopped us.
So let’s talk about how we can stop this from happening and find good habits that help you feel better.
Why is social media consuming you?
We may all have a love-hate relationship with social media; sometimes, we love it, and other times, it’s the content that drives us up the wall.
We’re told to find the right balance, not to allow the content we consume to consume us, and yes, of course, everything in moderation is great, but how did we get to the point where social media is all-consuming?
It’s addictive because it’s full of connections, dopamine-induced fun, and all things great. However, when we’re constantly on it without reasoning and can’t quit, it can become all-consuming.
These questions can help you identify if it’s time to reduce your social media usage:
- Is social media causing you more distress than enjoyment lately?
- Are you scrolling longer than you want to be?
- Do likes and comments have an impact on your day?
- Do you find yourself doing things purely for posting without feeling much joy?
- Are you neglecting aspects of life that are important to you?
Why Should We Reduce Our Usage?
- Social Comparison: We frequently see people who appear to have better or more exciting lives than us on social media. It can be easy to start feeling envious, sad or lose confidence by engaging in self-criticism. By reducing our usage, we can focus more on our lives and living on our terms.
- Information Overload: Social media can be distracting and overwhelming. We have a constant stream of information at our fingertips, which can lead to information overload and cause fatigue. If you find yourself scrolling through social media while trying to study or engage in other activities, you might burn out quicker than usual. By being more mindful of our social media consumption, we can engage in deep work and make an effort to be present.
- Time: You may spend more than you want on social media. We have access to multiple social media platforms, each designed to provide us with endless content. Understandably, we have caught up in this cycle while stuck at home. By setting boundaries, we can use our social media more intentionally and regain free time to do things we enjoy.
Now, that’s not to say don’t use it! Social media can be a source of motivation and inspiration when used correctly and in moderation. You can reshape your relationship with social media by:
- Acknowledging Your Social Media Habits: On some devices, you can access screen time information in settings, but if not, write it down or find an app that can show you how much time you spend on social media. This can put things into perspective and show you how much time you lose.
- Reducing Your Screen Time: You can start by deciding when to avoid checking your phone, such as after you have woken up or before bed. Another easy time to set a boundary is when working or studying; make an effort to put your phone away during these times. This can help you focus and build a routine with limited screen time. You can also use screen time limits or apps that block certain apps or sites for a set time, such as Forest. Finally, if you click on the apps automatically, you can move them into a folder or delete and reinstall them when needed.
- Make Use of Your Free Time: It can be easy to fall into the trap of trying to become ultra-productive by reducing our social media time, but really, we should focus on dedicating some of that newfound time to care for ourselves. By learning to focus on yourself and your path in life, you might feel more content than when you’re seeing everyone else’s lives. What hobbies have you neglected? When was the last time you spent quality time with family or friends (even if that was a phone call!)?
How to use social media positively/how to find safe spaces online
- Tailor Your Social Media Feeds: It might be a good idea to clean up your social media feeds by unfollowing or muting people and following accounts that inspire and make you feel content. You can also follow fewer people to reduce how long you spend scrolling.
- Develop mindfulness: Being mindful is purposefully focusing on the now and the present. Allow yourself to focus on the here and now. Deliberately pause and focus on your environment, and notice the small things that we quickly rush past when we’re daydreaming, too quick to appreciate the now.
Helpful articles: https://www.mytutor.co.uk/blog/parents/the-screen-time-diet-helping-your-teen-find-the-balance-with-tech/