Social media addiction is a real thing these days. From people waking up and checking their phones first thing in the morning, then using social media sites while in the car or when walking, to being online in bed before falling asleep.
That’s bad for your mental health. It prevents you from having meaningful relationships. And all that time spent in the digital world affects how you live your day-to-day life.
You don’t see progress on your goals as your free time is dedicated to consuming information that doesn’t really mean anything to you, such as posts of friends of friends, or the pages of social media influencers that gain a lot of attention.
There’s also the fear of missing out. So whenever you hear the sound of a notification or haven’t checked your phone for 10 minutes, you desperately need to get back online and see what you’ve missed.
That can easily become an addiction and the signs are obvious.
In fact, statistics show that 18% of users can’t go a few hours without checking Facebook. What’s more, the average American spends nearly 1/4 of the work day on social media, doing things that aren’t related to work.
In order to get out of that trap and free yourself from the addictive social media behavior, follow some of the tips below:
1. Use social media with purpose.
Let’s start with bringing intention to the table.
We end up scrolling through feeds for 10 minutes a few times during the day without even realizing it. By being mindful, you can stop that bad habit.
Every time you pick up your phone, ask yourself whether you have something to do in particular. If the answer is yes, go do it and put the phone away. Could be to share a picture on Instagram, check news on LinkedIn, update your bio on Twitter, call a friend on WhatsApp, or else.
If there’s no actual purpose behind your action, decide not to do it. It will be hard in the beginning, but don’t give up. Use reminders and it will become your norm over time.
2. Use the right tools.
There are some pretty useful apps you can use that block access to certain sites, or limit the time you spend there. You also get to see reports of how you’re spending your time on your mobile, and see the whole picture of how big the part social media plays in your day is.
Some such apps are:
3. Prefer face-to-face interaction.
Over time, only chatting and calling friends on social media becomes the standard, and actually meeting every now and then takes more effort. You might be unconsciously avoiding that, as it’s so much faster and easier to just text them, leave your phone and do something else, then check later and reply.
But relationships need attention and personal interaction. So get out of the digital comfort zone by setting meetings more often, and put your phone away during the time you spend together. Talk, smile, tell stories, and enjoy each other’s company.
4. Set some limits.
To stop the addiction before it becomes overwhelming and prevents you from doing your work during the day or having peace of mind, set limits.
That might mean not using your phone in the morning or before you go to bed. Or maybe you’ll block access to networking sites during your most productive time at work (using one of the apps mentioned above).
Some people like to go without their phone one day of the weekend. While others only use it for a limited amount of time in the afternoon.
Find what works best for you, and make it a permanent part of your life.
5. Do a detox.
What some people who were used to their phones at any moment of the day find refreshing is to take the occasional digital detox.
Do it this weekend, for example. Or plan a family trip and never log into a social media site. It can also happen for a whole week if you’re willing to test this and see how it goes while keeping the apps you use for communication at work.
It will feel weird in the first few hours, but that will also open your eyes. You’ll suddenly realize the negative effect of social media. After a day or two, you’ll go back to enjoying daily life and the little things more.
Social media doesn’t have to turn into an addictive behavior. You can take back control over your free time, peace of mind and focus, and leave your phone behind whenever you feel like.
Give these 5 ideas a try to tame your social media addiction.