Let's start out with some honesty: Social media is amazing. Through social apps, like Instagram and Twitter, I have found jobs, internships, and connected with people I never thought I would. But finding ways to not let social media take over my life is harder than I thought it would be. Through these apps, I know that my life has changed for the better, but I'm definitely aware of the dark side of social.
Even though social media is pretty much groundbreaking for our generation, it really has changed the way we view the world — literally. We are constantly looking down at our phones and letting the light illuminate our faces all the time. I, for one, live off my cellphone. As a freelance writer, I am constantly checking my emails for updates and making sure everything is going smoothly. Staying organized is always fun, but it's not good to ignore the outside world either.With Insta-famous bloggers coming out and saying that social media is all a lie, you would think that the world of social media is crashing down. And while I don't think that is necessarily happening anytime soon, I do think there are ways to loosen the addiction just a little bit. Here are some ways to do just that. It will make you appreciate life a little more without looking through it in a all square format.
1. Turn Off The Notifications
This one is a no-brainer, but it can be hard to do for some. The best way to not get distracted by social media, is for it not to send you notifications. Notifications are already distracting as it is, but once you open up the app, you will then aimlessly scroll through until you forgot that you were actually on a social media detox. According to a Digital Trends article that references a research conducted by Informate Mobile Intelligence, people in the US check their social media accounts around 17 times a day. Insanity. Instead of spending around a third of your time on your phone, why not do other things?
2. Delete The Apps That You Are Constantly Checking
If you feel you are having a really hard time with not stopping to check your app, then maybe you should just delete it. I know it sounds rough, but sometimes the thing you need most is tough love. If not, make sure you get an app that forces you to focus like Focus Lock for IOS or FocusON for Android. With these apps, it will be easier to block off the apps that are distracting you instead of deleting them entirely (because breaking up is never easy to do).
3. Allot Yourself A Given Amount Of Time To Not Use It
Giving yourself a break from social media can actually is actually taking control back into your own hands. According to a Huffington Post article that references a study conducted by non-profit Anxiety UK, said "Forty-five percent of responders said they feel 'worried or uncomfortable' when email and Facebook are inaccessible, while 60 percent of respondents stated 'they felt the need to switch off' their phones and computers to secure a full-fledged break from technology." Essentially, social media doesn't necessarily give you anxiety, but the thought of not having it definitely does. Yeah, if that doesn't give you another reason to just let it go, then I don't know what else to say.
4. Reward Yourself
Another way to help you detox is by rewarding yourself every now and then when you feel like you have been really productive. To help me keep focused while I am working, I place the face of my phone down on the table, and I reward myself to look at it when I have completed a certain number of tasks. I don't feel as guilty looking at social media, when I already know that I have completed a certain amount of tasks. I usually try to set of this "time" when I know I will need a break in between assignments. This process sometimes helps me recharge and frees my mind when I just can't think anymore.
5. Use Tools That Will Help You Stay Focus
Instead of using your phone as an alarm clock, use an actual alarm clock. If you think about it, it's hard not to check your phone first thing in the morning when you using it to wake you up. Remember, there were plenty of ways of doing things before the smartphone ever came into our lives. For instance, instead of doing your notes app, just buy a notebook, and write a list the old fashion way. Plus, there are a lot of benefits to writing things down, especially when it comes to your memory.
According to a Lifehacker article, Write It Down, Make It Happen, author Henriette Anne Klauser said that, "Writing triggers the RAS, which in turn sends a signal to the cerebral cortex: ‘Wake up! Pay attention! Don't miss this detail!' Once you write down a goal, your brain will be working overtime to see you get it, and will alert you to the signs and signals that […] were there all along." While social media is a great way to connect with people, there are plenty of ways to do that other than through Facebook or Instagram, like making a phone call!
6. Don't Use It When You First Wake Up Or Go To Bed
The way you start your day could really determine how the rest of your day is going to go. Don't get stressed by morning emails or FOMO from Instagram — it's just not worth it. Instead, make your morning about you, not the outside world. And try to do the same for at night. Not only is it beneficial for you, but it's also good for your well-being. As you may or may not know, checking your phone right before you go to bed is a huge no-no.
According to ScienceAlert, psychiatrist Daniel Siegel from the University of California, Los Angeles in the US tells Business Insider, "...when you check your phone at night, it's sending a stream of photons right into your eyes and telling your brain not to secrete melatonin — the hormone that makes you feel tired." So while it's really cool to see the latest snap from your friend that is in London, it's better to leave it for the next day so you can get a good amount of sleep.
I would never try to bash social media, but I can understand how it can really take over a person's life. Hopefully with these steps (because, obviously, the first step is always to admit you need help) you will be able to control social media and not the other way around.
Images: Giphy (6); Pexels