Lately, I’ve been taking a much-needed social media detox and it’s been SO refreshing. We can often get so caught up on what is going on behind the screens, that we forget that the world is much bigger than what social media would have us believe. Anxiety, comparison and stress are all things that I’ve dealt with as a result of overusing social media. When it got to the point where I was mindlessly carrying my phone everywhere – I realised that I had to make a change. Like many people, I rely on social media for work and so convinced myself that I always had to be on there.
With all the wonders social media and technology at large have afforded us, it’s easy to get blindsided and not realise when it begins to stop being a TOOL and start being a crutch. I’m sure, if you’re anything like me – you reach for your phone, often subconsciously – to browse through apps whenever you have a gap in your schedule or a moment to yourself. The thing is, that it’s so easy to not even realise you are doing it. Once I did though, I began to force myself to ask this question – “Is there anything I could be doing to make better use of my time?”
Trust me – I get it, sometimes it’s not that deep. You might have had a super long day and want to unwind by scrolling through TIKTOK on Instagram. I believe social media has its place and is great when you have control over how you’re using it. The catch is, that while we often think that we’re in control, we’re far more likely to be taking action based on what the algorithm has called on us to do.
Reclaim Your Time From Social Media
These apps are designed to call us in, and steal seconds, minutes, and even hours of our time – all while making huge amounts of money off of us. I’m not in any way against phones, tech, or social media, all three have allowed me to forge out a path and career for myself – but I do know that as with too much of anything, there are very real dangers.
The trick of these apps is not just the amount of time that we spend on them, but also the fact that they provide us with constantly updated, highly tailored content, which doesn’t fully reflect the complexity of real life. This tailored experience can be dangerous not only for our long and short-term mental health but can skewer our perspectives and create a world view that is fragmented and incomplete.
I’m saying all of this, because I know I’m not the only one who gets overwhelmed by the constant feed of information, notifications and updates that are thrown at us from the moment we wake up, to when we sleep at night. As I get older, I’m realising more and more how precious life is. We all have limited time here, and should have true autonomy as to how, why and what we spend it doing.
Lessons I’ve Learned Since Starting My Detox
In the week or so that I’ve been mostly off social media – I’ve already learned the following:
- Social media is curated content – it really doesn’t accurately reflect real life
- I’m a lot calmer and less stressed out when I spend most of my day off apps
- I have an impulse to grab my phone when I feel bored, tired or stressed
- I am more grounded and tied into what is going on around me
- I unwillingly replaced my real life interests with those online
- A lot of my feelings about my achievements been negatively impacted by comparing myself to what I see online
This post isn’t a sermon on why you should stop using social media, but rather a reminder that you should be able to live your life and spend your time how you see fit. If social media takes up 90 percent of your time, then it might be time to hit pause. There’s so much more to the world than what’s behind a screen.
Things That Have Helped Me
If you struggle with overusing social media, here are some tips you might find useful:
- Pick your platforms wisely – you don’t need to be on every single platform! For the platforms you choose to be on, try to make note of how it makes you feel. If you find yourself being overwhelmed, anxious or have any other negative feelings afterwards – it might be time to sign out!.
- If you need to use social media for work – batch your content and schedule ahead – here are some tools I use – Later (you can use this to schedule Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest), Facebook business scheduler (to auto publish IG posts and stories) , Canva (to create social media templates)
- Invest in yourself – meet up with people, learn a new skill or hobby. You can even create a mindful routine to help you track and limit social media usage.
- Change your mindset – you might feel FOMO – but in reality often nothing much has changed! Life is what is real, put your focus on what is tangible and what will help you actually live the life you love.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media, I would really recommend that you take an intentional detox. Even if it’s just for a couple of days, or even a week – signing out can make a huge difference. No matter where you stand on the social media spectrum, I truly hope that you found this post helpful!
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