It’s not secret that I have been trying to spend more time away from my phone for the last few months. I even wrote a whole post about going off the grid (sort of) for a week, and that experiment was really eye opening for me.
Since then, I have really been paying attention to the way I use social media and how much of my time I spend on it.
Before I get into the darker side of the internet, I want to acknowledge some of the good that is has brought me! Social media is a wonderful tool, one that I am so grateful for.
Because of it, I…
- found a community of like-minded readers
- made amazing friendships
- discovered new passions
- became informed on topics that I otherwise would not have ever heard of
I would not take back any of these things that social media has given me.
However, I think it’s also equally as important to talk about the bad, too. We all know that social media affects us tremendously. It has been the cause of anxiety and depression for me, given me FOMO, triggered unhealthy perceptions of my body, and overall just helps me waste time.
I think that what I’ve realized about social media is that you need to remember that it is a tool. You are supposed to be in control of it, not the other way around.
I am much more conscious of how I use social media now. I use it for interaction with friends and fellow readers. I use it to share parts of my day that I think others will be interested in. I use it to stay informed and to inform others. I use it for inspiration. And that’s it.
I don’t use it for mindless entertainment the way I used to. I don’t use it to compare myself to others. I don’t use it to follow petty drama.
And I have truly seen a huge improvement in my mood.
I thought that I would share some things that I did that really helped me break my social media addiction of mindless scrolling.
- Don’t be afraid to unfollow: I know that it may seem harsh to unfollow someone, but I think if you are not benefitting from their content, you don’t enjoy their content, or you’re just not interested in it, you should not feel guilty for unfollowing. You are allowed to curate your space for yourself! I regularly go through my following lists on various social media sites and unfollow accounts that don’t align with my values. When I do scroll through my feeds, I only see content that I am genuinely interested in!
- Set limits: When I first began shortening my time online, I found it super helpful to implement the downtime feature on my iPhone. From 9:30 pm to 8:00 am, I set a control that blocked all of my apps! I no longer use it now, but I conditioned myself not to go on my phone for the first hour after waking up, and I try to get off of it at least 30 minutes before I go to bed. There are other ways to set limits, too. You can allow yourself to go on social media for one hour a day. Or you can delete the apps on your phone and only check it on your desktop. Or you can schedule specific times throughout your day that you will check it. Figure out what works best for you!
- Decide what you want to use and figure out your why: Having a ‘why’ for spending less time on social media is really effective. What can you accomplish in the 5 hours that you don’t spend on your phone? Maybe you can pick up a new hobby. Maybe you can improve a skill or learn something new. Maybe you can use that time for self care or to spend time with your family! You don’t realize just how much time you are spending on social media if you don’t pay active attention to it. It also helps to know which apps you actually want to use. For instance, I spend much more time on Instagram than Twitter now, and I deleted TikTok entirely a few months ago. I only use Snapchat for sending videos/photos to friends, but I otherwise don’t go on it. Again, decide what works for you!
How do you feel about social media? It’s definitely one of those things that’s in the gray area. It’s neither good nor bad. Again, I think it all depends on how you use it!
I hope this post was helpful, though, and that you took something away from it! I would love to know what you think.