It’s nearing the end of 2021 and now more than ever, we have become slaves to social media. Some places are now going on nearly two years of lockdowns and other restrictions, making social media apps a gateway to the outside world.
While they do serve the purpose of keeping in touch with friends and family, it is just as true that social media apps have become a gigantic timewaster. Think about it…were you more productive when Facebook went down for a few hours? Or did you totally freak out about how you might be missing out on important things – like pictures of your friend’s lunch?
I get it, FOMO is real. But if your first thought in the morning is checking your Instagram posts, or you scroll through Facebook right before you go to bed, it might be time to consider taking a break from social media.
Now, this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing, but here’s how to detox from social media.
If you’re an iPhone user, you might already be familiar with Screen Time. Go into that feature and look at the list of most used apps. Don’t just look at the average, because that counts email and other possible work or family-related usage. But seeing in minutes (or hours) just how long you spend on each app each day might be motivation to cut back.
If you are an Android user, look in the Google Play store for YourHour, StayFree, or Screen Time. They will all do the same thing.
Take a few minutes and analyze why you use each of your social media apps. Do you mostly use Facebook for posting pictures of the kids so grandparents and other family members can keep up? Are you a meme-collector? Do you just love the drama? Do the same analysis for Instagram, Twitter, TikTok…any app that you are on regularly.
If you find that you’re using an app mainly to pass the time and it adds no redeeming value to your day except empty entertainment, think about setting a time limit for yourself. Or set aside a certain time of day that you allow yourself to scroll through to catch up.
The point is to try and use the apps for constructive reasons. But don’t try and talk yourself into something constructive if it isn’t. No, trying to find out what your favorite influencer had for dinner does not count as meal planning.
Do you really need to know every time someone tweets, or receive a message every time someone replies to your post? Chances are the answer to both of those is “no.” Turning off your notifications will automatically lessen your screen time because you’ll have to physically go into the app to see what is new. That will help you cut back at least a little bit.
Clean up your groups.
As a side note to this one, go back in and look at your Facebook groups, Telegram channels, and Pinterest boards. Chances are there are ones that you haven’t actually viewed in ages and may even have forgotten that you even joined. Getting rid of them will both clear up your notifications and limit what you see to your current interests.
Hide or snooze groups…and people.
If there are pages or people you still want to follow but don’t need to hear from every minute of every day, snooze or hide them. This can be especially beneficial if there is unnecessary drama coming from those pages.
Most people have their app icons right on their home screen, so it’s an easy tap to access them. Put your social media apps in a folder and move the folder to a secondary screen. If they’re not right in front of you every time you pick up your phone, you may be less likely to automatically click on them for a quick peek.
If you really want to give a full detox a try, delete all your social media apps. You don’t have to do anything to your accounts…they’ll still be there if you panic and find out that you just can’t do without your Instagram feed.
But deleting your apps for a week or two will give you the opportunity to see just how much time you were spending on them while also allowing you to spend that time doing other things. You might be very surprised at how easy it is to replace them.
Have a friend you keep up with on Facebook? Text message or call them. Watch YouTube videos of outdoor activities? Get out and do some of them yourself.
The point of all of this is to realign your priorities and live in the moment with the people you are face to face with daily, instead of constantly connecting through a screen. While both can have their benefits, it is usually the real-life connections that ultimately make the most impact on our lives.
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