Is social media stressing you out or wasting your time? Have you ever taken a social media break or detox? If not then I highly recommend it. I do not think most people realize how much time they spend scrolling through their phones while life is happening around them.
You know all those things you say you want to do, but you can’t find the time? Well have you ever thought it’s because your using all your time on your phone. Imagine if you started to reduce the time on your phone and focused on other goals. You would be unstoppable!
According to ZDNet, a article they published in 2019 talks about a study that Americans spend more time on their phones then they think. You have to agree that this does not sound hard to believe. The study asked 2,000 millennial and baby boomers to record their screen time. The study found that the average American spends an estimated 5.4 hours on their phones. Millennials spent an average of 5.7 hours while baby boomers spent 5 hours. However, both generations stated that they actually spend over 12 hours on their phones everyday! The study also showed that the bulk of this time was spent on social media…no surprise there.
I am one of those people wasting my life away on social media. I would spend hours scrolling, staring and comparing and it has done nothing to enhance my life. Instead it worsens my depression and makes me feel inadequate. So I decided to one day finally do something about my addiction..and yes it is an addiction.
So on September 23, 2021 I decided to take a social media break. I decided my break would include Instagram and Facebook because these are the platforms I use most and that take up my time. First step I took was I made a post announcing my departure. I only did this to make sure people do not reach out to me on those platforms but I think most people would not notice or even care in the first place. Then I just deleted the apps from my phone, but I still have the accounts but have just made access more difficult. So what has changed since then?
I downloaded the free Kindle app onto my phone and so far I have read 5 books and I am currently reading 2 books. This is insane to me because I would be lucky to read one book a year before and now I have read 5 books in a month! That means I had a lot of wasted time on my hands! Now I see how much time I have and how productive I can be and it is inspiring.
I will admit I have gone onto Facebook in particular about two times because I was looking for information, but it was for information purposes only! I got the information I needed and got right back off. I will also admit I have been struggling with points of mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest, but it has been more controlled and I time limit myself on the platform. I noticed I was switching out one platform for another and trying to nip that in the butt before it gets out of hand. So now in my free time I read books, clean my house, work on crochet projects and spend more quality time with my husband. And I love it! I feel less depressed and feel more accomplished then I have in a long time.
So how do you take the necessary steps and take a social media break?
Step 1: Realize you spend too much time on social media.
The first step is always realizing there is a problem and a change needs to be made. You can try all these steps or start out with certain ones first and see what works for you. My personal recommendation is just delete the apps all together. This way you remove the temptation and go cold turkey, but if that is not for you then the following steps may be more appropriate.
Step 2: Turn off push notifications
The whole purpose of these notifications is to pull you back into the app. So turn them off! You do not need to know every time someone posts something.
Step 3: Stop posting
This can be difficult but might be a necessary move. Brutal honesty here….you do not need to post your morning cup of coffee..nobody cares…plus those little dings and pings of people liking or commenting will just draw you back in. Trust me when I say you can have that coffee and enjoy it all to yourself. The best memories we make are not made on social media.
Step 4: Log out of your accounts
If you don’t have it in you to delete the apps from your phone then consider logging out of them. This way it takes more work to get that social media gratification because you have to log in.
Step 5: Access social media only through a web browser
This again is another option if you do not want to go cold turkey. Try deleting the apps from your phone and only accessing them through a web browser. This will again make access a tad bit harder and annoying.
Step 6: Delete the apps from your phone
This is what I did and what I recommend. Delete the apps all together from your phone. This will help you deal with urges of feeling the need to scroll if you have no access.
Step 7: Delete your accounts
This is extreme but maybe necessary for some people. Instead of just deleting the apps you may need to delete your accounts all together. This way you have no access whatsoever to the apps and if you wanted to have an account you would have to start a new one.
Start by taking small simple steps or quit cold turkey. Do what feels right for you and break your habit of scrolling. You will be surprised how much more time you will have to explore new activities and invest your time into more meaningful things.