Let’s face it: we’re addicted to social media. Its prevalence in everyday life has come to a point where participating in some sort of social media platform is almost necessary to build professional and personal relationships.
Social media isn’t an inherently bad thing—it provides a way for people to stay connected with their friends and family; something that has been very valuable to us this past year. It can also be used to educate the general public and raise awareness about important issues. However, powerful companies and institutions have manipulated social media so that it has an addictive quality which can lead us to lose our sense of individuality or even worse, it can aggravate mental health issues.
If you suspect that you’ve developed a social media addiction and want to curb your use, here are some guidelines you can follow:
Think about why you’d like to be on social media
Before you hop on to Facebook or Instagram, try to ask yourself why you feel compelled to check it. Everything we do in life is based on an intention. Reflect on this intention by asking yourself how checking social media at that moment will serve you. Do you want to keep in touch with friends or are you looking for validation from others? Are you logging in to promote your business or to engage in detrimental comparisons?
Figuring out your motivation to use social media could be an eye-opening experience that will put you in control rather than giving control to whichever platform you’re on.
Be meticulous about how you follow and what you post and share
When we follow other social media accounts, we tend to do so impulsively without considering whether that account or person will have a positive impact on our lives. Consider conducting regular clean-outs of who you follow because your attention is your greatest currency, and you should be spending it on useful content rather than destructive posts.
Unfollowing problematic or triggering accounts will also help you avoid re-posting and sharing questionable information. Be meticulous and thorough about checking what you share before you click upload.
Curb the time you spend online
Does scrolling online prevent you from getting important things done? If you find that you tend to spend way longer on social media than you intended to, set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to put down the screen.
Change your notification settings
Receiving constant notifications is a distraction and can get you out of your workflow. Change your settings so that your notifications don’t pop up from social sites. You can also take this step a little further by deleting the apps altogether. This way, you can open your phone and know that it’s free of distractions that might lead you off track.
Not everything has to be posted and shared
Remind yourself that you don’t have any obligation to keep your followers up to date with your everyday actions. Instead of recording an event to share with others, try to consciously make the choice to be present and enjoy the moment.
It’s okay to put your phone down and enjoy life
Your life is full of precious and significant moments that are only experienced once. If you keep this in mind then perhaps you will be less inclined to run to your phone to capture a shadow of what the moment is, and instead live these moments for what they are and create a more meaningful memory. Prioritize sharing your life with yourself rather than sharing it with others.