5 Tips For A Social Media DeTox
Have you ever caught yourself compulsively checking social media? Does it consume your day? I personally would find myself over the summer break constantly checking Twitter and Facebook, waiting for the next update. Even worse, a majority of these tweets or posts concerned politics. Talk about a downer!
The funny thing is that I found myself towards the end of the day, becoming less patient, more irritable and depressed. So it wasn't surprising when I stumbled across this Independent article indicating that even Facebook acknowledges spending time on their site may not be good for your mental health. The University of Michigan performed a study whereby students were chosen at random to browse Facebook for 10 minutes. Those students who checked Facebook reported worse moods by the end of the day, than those students who did not check social media.
Honestly, I'm not sure how some people manage keeping up with all the social media options out there. Checking Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest alone could easily consume hours each day for me, just to catch up on everyone's status, much less actually commenting. And that doesn't even include the countless other social media sites out there. So, how do you know if you have a social media problem or not?
Questions to Ask If You Have A Social Media Problem:
- Do you wake up and the first thing you do is check social media?
- Do you sneak off to check social media, even when you have a lot to do?
- Do you check social media instead of engaging with loved ones or friends?
- Do you find yourself irritable or depressed at the end of the day, especially after spending a lot of time checking social media?
If the answers to all of these questions is a resounding "yes", then maybe a social media detox will be good for your mind and soul. Here are some ways you can approach a social media detox...
Tips For A Social Media De-Tox
Avoid Checking Social Media First Thing In The Morning
Jim Kwik, the CEO and founder of Kwik Learning, addressed this in his interview that so many of us "give up our sovereignty and power first thing in the morning" by checking our phones for emails and social media, causing us to train our brains to be reactive to everyone's demands, instead of addressing our own demands. He even discusses how people can suffer from "Facebook depression" from checking everyone's status and mentally comparing their lives to everyone else's. Focus on your needs first, before addressing others. Jim works out, meditates and plans his day, before ever picking up his phone.
Turn Off Social Media Notifications On Your Phone
This was a big help to me. I was getting bombarded with notifications and found them super distracting to... life. Turning these off should be the first thing you do and may be the only thing you need to do. Even though it's exciting to learn that the friend of a friend commented on a post you commented on, the world shouldn't stop for you to check it! Navigate to your settings and select only those apps that are critical to receiving updates.
Delete Social Media Apps From Your Phone
For me, I don't use SnapChat, Instagram or the plethora of other social media apps out there. I had to draw the line because, literally, who has that much time in a day? So I eliminated any app from my phone that I either (a) truly didn't enjoy or (b) wasn't interested in keeping up to date or use. So, personally I stick to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, which is plenty for me. And for those apps that I love, but find highly addictive and sucking a tremendous amount of my time, (that's you, Pinterest!) I deleted the app entirely from my phone and only access on my desktop or iPad. This definitely helped to cut down on my usage because I've eliminated the convenience and easy access throughout the day.
Set Time Limits
Try setting some boundaries on how long and how often you check social media. Personally for me, I try to limit checking Facebook for 10 minutes at a time. Because I use my time on social media as a.....
Use Social Media As A Reward
I will "reward" myself with 10 minutes of social media time, if I complete an item on my to do list. This is essentially the Pomodoro technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. Basically, the technique involves breaking your tasks into smaller, manageable blocks of time and then rewarding yourself with short breaks. Checking Facebook or Twitter is considered my "short break".
Sources: Special thanks to Gina M Poirier's blog post, which provided some tips I personally have used to curb my social media addiction. She provides even more suggestions, so check out her post!