Have you heard that scientists found that leaving Facebook a week makes you much happier? Is anyone surprised? Probably not, but it does prompt some interesting questions — namely, how do you detox from the Internet? What measures can you take to boost your happiness by unplugging if the very act of unplugging seems pretty much unimaginable to you?
Not going to lie: The fact that leaving Facebook makes you happy makes a lot of sense to me. I mean, my primary social media activities include comparing my accomplishments to those of others, feeling left out of big group events, and getting into heated discussions about politics. Facebook is not really the most fun place to spend a few hours — though that's never stopped me from wasting time there.
But there are some other things you can try out in the name of weaning yourself from the Internet, too, if for some reason you can't deactivate your Facebook account for that long (for me, I need Facebook for my job. Really!). I decided to figure out some other ways to keep myself from that hungover, I-just-went-down-an-Internet-K-hole feeling that you get after wasting an entire night looking up interviews with Katy Perry's parents (um, guilty, but in my defense, she had an interesting upbringing, people!). Here are some smart ways you can "detox" (to use the parlance of our times) from the Internet before it turns you into an social media zombie. At the very least, these ideas will give you plenty of time to waste doing other things!
1. Don't go online before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
It messes with your sleep, for one (hi there, blue light), and also, this is probably when you're doing the most mindless, sleepy kind of browsing.
2. Check your social media and email at pre-scheduled times every day.
Maybe you check your email for 20 minutes at 10 a.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m., and add in 15 minutes of Facebook at noon.
3. Download the Freedom app.
Or another app that blocks you from going on all your favorite websites. To make sure you then don't check on those websites via your phone, I like Forest.
4. Exercise outside.
If you find yourself getting into a dark place where you're just mainlining listicles you don't even care about, just close the computer, put on your running shoes, go out for a half hour or so, and then take a long shower. It helps.
5. Take one day a week off from any screens.
Maybe a time in which you don't have to use your computer for work — Sunday?
6. Buy an alarm clock.
So you don't check your phone first thing in the morning because it's what wakes you up. Also, charge your phone on the opposite side of your room. Maybe you'll be able to read a book or the newspaper in the morning instead of your friend's rant about Bernie Sanders.
7. With a friend? Never check your phone.
Ever again. Unless there's an emergency, or you guys are both running late to something and need to check directions, or something like that. When you're talking to your friends, keep your phone in your bag as a policy.