I grew up with social media. Of course, when I say this I don’t mean I grew up always having social media. I mean that social media was introduced when I was young and I grew up right alongside MySpace and Instagram. Social media was a way for me to stay connected with friends, share pictures and use my creativity, and I did, and still do, love it! I am not here to bash social media. That being said, I have come to find that too much of a “good thing” is not always a good thing. As I’ve gotten older, and social media started to become more and ore accessible, I think it’s important to note that limiting our time on social media is crucial for our mental health and general well-being. However, this isn’t easy, because like I said, social media is easy to access than ever before. In order to lend a hand, I put together a few ways that you can spend less time on social media and more time living life.
*This post contains affiliate link. Although I may make a commission, all recommendations are my own.
The benefits of social media
There are so many benefits to social media that people don’t usually talk about. As I said, it can help keep us connected to people all around the world. I love that I can see updated photos of my nieces in California just as quickly as I can catch the highlights from my niece and nephews latest sports games in Michigan.
Want to check in with an old high school friend? I can do that too!
Social media has also allowed many stay at home parents, entrepreneurs and side hustlers new ways to make money on their own schedule without necessarily having to adhere to the schedule of a part time job.
When you have a baby, you can skip creating announcements, addressing envelopes, and buying stamps, because with a few taps on your phone you can tell the whole world! Not to mention that getting married, is as easy as a simple status change.
That being said, there are also downsides to too much social media use.
How social media affects your mental health
There are so many ways that social media can affect us negatively.
Increase of anxiety and depression.
Just 2 hours a day on social media has been shown to have negative effects on people’s moods. With a consistent rise in depression in people young and old, it’s hard not to assume social media has something to do with this.
If you’re not quite convinced, maybe these next few topics will help to shift your perspective.
Comparing your life to others.
It was surprising to me when I started to hear that people would see other people’s highlight reels on social media and suddenly feel like they weren’t measuring up.
At the time I first heard this, I thought I had somehow missed the life comparison part of social media until I began to realize I did things like book vacations and try new workouts because it was what I had seen other people doing on Facebook. Without knowing it, I was desperately trying to keep up!
What we are so quick to forget is that we are only seeing the high points of people’s lives on social media and none of us are required to live exactly like each other.
Not to mention that we are constantly bombarded by ads and influencers convincing us that we in fact are missing out if we don’t buy the latest trend or take beautiful tropical vacations. How to balance FOMO spending.
It’s not uncommon to hear older generations complaining about younger generations constant use of social media. Even things like cyber bullying are looked down on by those who, unfortunately, experienced real-life bullying in the halls of school when they were kids.
One thing that I think is important to note is that social media is a way of bringing the bully home with you — and their entire gang of internet trolls.
This of course isn’t limited to high school kids. Cyberbullying and trolling can take down a full-grown, fully confident adult in just one swing.
Reduced the quality of sleep.
Often times the addiction to social media can end up taking away from people’s quality night sleep. There have even been studies saying that having your phone on at night and near you can affect your quality of sleep.
Just like our entire modern world, technology is in some cases making things a little too quick for us.
Having everything so quick at our fingertips can lead to overstimulation and even change people’s abilities to work hard at something.
When everything else is so instant, it makes delayed gratification more of a struggle.
How to tell if you have a problem
This is a list that I saw on Forbes and I thought was absolutely perfect for describing how to tell if you have a social media problem.
- The first thing you do in the morning is check your social media.
- You’ll take down a post if it hasn’t reached a certain amount of likes.
- You feel angry when nobody comments on your posts.
- You’ve overanalyzed images of yourself to post.
- You can’t go to the bathroom without your phone.
- You’ve found yourself refreshing your feed every few minutes.
That being said, if you feel like you have a problem with social media, continue reading on to see how you can spend less time on social media. In fact, I think we could all benefit from less time on social media. So, even if you don’t feel like these warning signs fit you, consider some of these options anyway.
Times to put social media away
If you struggle to kick your social media addiction, might I suggest a few scenarios when it might be a good idea to practice putting your phone in your pocket?
Here are some circumstances when I actively work to make sure my phone is nowhere near my fingertips:
- Dinning whether at home by myself or out with company
- When visiting with family or friends. I want to give my undivided attention to the people that are physically in front of me more than the cyber people at my fingertips.
- In bed. This is a tough one for me, especially first thing in the morning. However, every night my phone is off by 9pm!
- When outdoors (Except for quick pictures and videos of course!)
It’s important to remember that social media was originally invented to connect people. Make sure you are still connecting with the people that are actually in front of you.
If you are failing to do this, then you are missing the point entirely.
Delete your apps
If you find yourself wasting too much time on certain social media platforms then you might want to consider just deleting them all together or just removing the app from your phone.
Personally, I have done this with Snapchat and Facebook. These were two social media platforms that became way too easy to waste my time on. Snapchat was deleted all together and Facebook I will only check form my laptop.
Consider where you are wasting the most time and free up some space on your phone by just deleting these distracting apps altogether.
- 5 Ways to Spend Less Time on Social Media
- Your Brain on Minimalism
- How Minimalism Reduces Anxiety and Depression
Set a timer
Another great way to keep an eye on your social media time is to set a timer.
Mindless scrolling can feel like a 5 minute venture and before we know it, we’ve spent an entire hour gazing into the screen of other people’s lives without being present in our own. A timer is a nice way to help us become aware of just how much time we spend focused on our social feeds. How to limit social media apps on iPhone.
Turn on airplane mode
Airplane mode is a genius phone feature to allow you to get your time and sanity back in one small move. Here are some great suggestions for when you access airplane mode:
- At night while you sleep
- Times when you need to focus
- While you are reading
- During work
- While you drive
- When you have company over
- Dinner time
Airplane mode basically shuts down your phone. No calls, no beeps, no alerts. Nothing. You will have uninterrupted silence. This is absolutely something more people need to take advantage of.
Find a new habit
Lastly, and probably the most effective thing to do is to develop a new habit. In reading the book, The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg talks about habits, how they form, and how to break the bad ones. The biggest recommendation is to supply yourself with a new habit.
This is what habits look like:
There will be something that cues us to start our habit. When it comes to social media, this may likely be that “ping” that let’s us know we have a new message or comment
So we pick up our phone and start scrolling social media again.
In this case the reward may be a new “like” or comment on a photo that makes us feel good and rewarded.
A new way to handle this would be the beautiful airplane mode. When you click into airplane mode, pick up a book you’ve been wanting to read. Take a moment to write in your journal. Sketch a photo. Do something else to keep your mind and fingers busy.
Creating a new habit that is beneficial to you in place of social media is your best chance for breaking the cycle and can help you spend less time on social media for good.