Social media has practically become a staple in modern life. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account. Facebook is expected to have around 1.69 BILLION users in 2020, while they also estimate that around 100 million people use Instagram per month.
Although many people use social media, it may not be for everyone. It has been proven that social media can have adverse effects on one’s mental health, for it can be a convenient method of comparing one’s life to others. It’s very design is also tailored to encourage constant use and interaction (perhaps intentionally). This makes it incredibly easy to allow social media to consume your time, and in worse cases become addicted to it.
If you find yourself addicted to using social media, here are some ways you can distance yourself from it.
Limit and moderate your usage
Of course this is easier said than done, but in order to break the habit of obsessively checking the feed or browsing through posts, you have to cut down on using social media. Always remember that baby steps are the harbinger of progress.
Firstly, turn off the notifications for any social media apps you have on your phone or computer. Notifications make it very easy to reel you back into using the apps, distracting you from anything you’re doing, requesting your attention. Disabling your notifications helps keep your mind off of social media, as you’re not constantly reminded about the comments or posts. At first, you may fear being uninformed or missing out on important news, so you could try leaving the more important notifications on. Such as news pages, or messages from your friends and family.
Once you can go without receiving new notifications often, you can take the next step by deleting the social media apps from your phone. This does not have to be a permanent decision. You can delete the apps and wait in intervals of three days or so, and then reinstall them to catch up on what you’ve missed. Doing this in increments will help you to adjust to the absence of social media in your life, without the change being too jarring. Make sure to take it at a pace that works for you, as going slow and being consistent will yield the best results.
Eventually you’ll start to notice that you can go for longer without installing Facebook, Twitter, or other social media. Congratulate yourself on the progress, but keep at it! The road to being free of social media will be quite long, but you’ve already come so far. Of course, if your goal was to only limit your social media usage and not outright purge it from your life, then that’s perfectly fine as well.
Occupy your time with hobbies
Once you’ve begun to cut back on social media, you’ll be surprised by how much time you’ve opened up for yourself. That time you spent aimlessly scrolling may not have seemed like much, but all those seconds and minutes really do add up, and finally opening your eyes to how much social media was taking away from your day is quite a sobering realization.
Even when you’re sticking to the your schedule from earlier and saying off of social media, you may still be THINKING about it during that time. Allowing the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) to linger in the back of your mind will only make your social (media) distancing more difficult than it has to be. Consider taking on a hobby to fill the time, and the thinking space in your mind. Make sure it’s fun, requires a fair amount of concentration, and above all else, dispels social media from your mind. Or you could also begin honing a skill through online courses,and video tutorials.
Having a hobby or project lets you have an outlet to dump your anxiety into. Your mind will be able to unwind, while also being too focused to let the siren song of tweets or Instagram posts detract from your day.
You probably already have several hobbies like that, but here are some suggestions you could consider.
- VIDEO GAMES – RANGING FROM MINDLESS FUN TO THOUGHT PROVOKING EXPERIENCES, IT’S A GREAT WAY TO FORGET ABOUT THE WORLD FOR A DEW HOURS WHILE IMPROVING YOUR HAND EYE COORDINATION.
- PAINTING – EVERYBODY COULD USE A FORM OF ARTISTIC EXPRESSION, SEEING AS THERE’S NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO DO ART.
- COOKING – THE BEAUTIFUL COMBINATION OF SCIENCE AND ART, WITH THE RESULTS BEING SATISFYING AND DELICIOUS.
UNDERSTAND THE BENEFITS SIGNING OUT
Many people have com forward, expressing how great they felt hen they rid themselves of social media after being addicted. Although not the intention, a great amount of negativity thrives in social media. Instead of being a fun way to be involved in the lives of our friends and family, it can morph into a twisted lens in which we see ourselves, and others through. As we witness people posting the highlights of their lives, we begin to subconsciously compare possessions, accomplishments, and our very lives to others.
The likes and reactions to our posts is also causes us to fear, and care far too much about how other people perceive us.
Distancing ourselves from social media liberates us from these anxieties. Not worrying about the opinions of others and petty comparisons allows us to focus more on our life, and the good things in it. We’ll be less focused on taking photos, and we’ll see the world through the lens of our own eyes. Social media is not an inherently bad part of society, but we should never allow it to control us, who we are, or how we see our own self worth.