How to change your social media habits
Social media has taken over the majority of our lives. Almost everything we do is uploaded online for the rest of the world to see. Whether it's personal or business-related, social media is at the core of how we distribute and share the things we’re doing. With the rise and expansion of social media throughout the world, the platforms are used to raise awareness, keep in touch with family and friends, inspire others and contributes to people’s income. However, as we have seen through the evolution of social media certain social conformities such as abuse, trolling and false expectations are equally visible.
With the joys and needs of using social media come the downside of becoming dependent on it. Through excessive use of social media, we have become so addicted to watching, posting, commenting, liking and monitoring our own popularity that it’s affecting our mental wellbeing. The damaging links between social media and various mental states are now evident through science. From anxiety and depression to dented self-esteem and lack of confidence, our social media habits are affecting us right now.
On the other side of the coin, social media fills a void whenever we are avoiding something. It is the perfect procrastination tool. But just think, if you spent half the time on social media as you do now, you would have the rest of the time to spend on doing something that fills you with pure happiness - whether it's connecting with family and friends, pursuing a passion project, learning a new skill or reading.
How then can we improve our mental states and the procrastination social media is causing? The answer to this is to create new healthy habits around your personal use of social media. You need to tear down the addictive, tormenting habits and replace them with balanced, positive habits that will reshape your relationship with social media. Start doing this by implementing the following techniques.
Delete the app
This might sound daunting but deleting the app on your phone is one of the best ways to really make an impact on your social media use. Don’t worry, it doesn't mean deleting your account, just removing the ease of which you can access it. You will still be able to log in on your laptop or web browser. You’ll be surprised as to how little you miss having the app on your phone and will find that you actually have a lot more time on your hands to put to good use than you usually would. If you still think this is too much for you, try it temporarily. Take mini social media retirements where you delete the app for a month every 4-6 months. This way it doesn't seem like too much of a jump.
Monitor your screen time
Phones now monitor your screen time so you can see exactly how many hours in a week or day you’ve spent on social media. Having actual data on how much time you might be wasting away can really put it into perspective. Set some social media boundaries by applying alerts and restrictions on what you can use during certain hours of the day. It might be frustrating at first but having some help to limit your social media use will help you build a habit around your usage.
Choose an accountability partner
Choose a friend or family member to become your social media accountability partner. What does this mean? It means selecting someone who will check in with you or help monitor you as you try and decrease your social media usage. It's easy to convince ourselves otherwise with a single thought, but if you have someone calling you out or reminding you it will reinforce and help with your detox.
Put your phone away
Half the battle of restricting your social media use is down to where you put your phone. If your phone is within your arms reach, then you will subconsciously reach for your phone and check your social media whenever you get bored. You’ve built this habit yourself by having your phone near you and reaching for it when you start procrastinating. Start leaving your phone in your bag, your drawer or in another room for a block of time. Without your phone in your sight, you won’t be tempted to reach for it.
Set an intention or goal
Any new habit starts with an intention or a goal. What is your intention with changing your social media habits? What do you hope to gain from reducing your usage? We waste a lot of dead time on social media, numbingly scrolling and scrolling through photos and videos when we could be doing something productive. Or do you find that your mental state declines when you overuse social media platforms? Whatever your goal, write it down, say it out loud and acknowledge what you want to achieve. This increases the likelihood of you reaching your goal and will help keep yourself accountable.
Which technique will you be implementing in your life today? Comment below with your intention and technique and we will go through the journey together.