This week, I’ve decided to take a step back from social media. I’m not going to do a ‘detox’ because I don’t generally believe that going cold turkey is the healthiest way to go about making a lifestyle change for me, and I really don’t believe in the ‘all or nothing’ attitude. Therefore, I’ve thought about some steps I could take to spend less time online, and more time in the moment.
Why I Need A Change In My Habits:
I spend most of my time with my phone attached to my hand. In fact, people have described my phone as an extension of my hand. When I’m not on my phone, I am generally on my laptop, and I’m never far away from a technological device. And guys, unfortunutely I’ve been told this is not healthy.
I generally believe in ‘everything in moderation’ as a philosophical (and practical) way of living my life. Lately, I have not been adhering to this in my online life. It’s taking a toll on my mental health, on my sleep and on my relationships. I have found myself constantly comparing myself to others on Instagram or Facebook, and thinking I ‘should’ be having more fun or that I ‘should’ be moving in a certain direction in my life the way others are. Studies have shown that this can lead to depression and anxiety and sleep disorders. I need to get rid of the FOMO mentality and live my life on my own terms.
1. First step is a simple one. Turn off your notifications! Most tech savvy people will know how to do this (despite blatantly ignoring it). So if you really want a break from your social media, your mobile notifications have to be banished. But again, I don’t believe in going cold turkey so try this at a certain time of the day at first. For example, turn off your notifications when you’re out of the house, and at night time. And increase your time offline the more used to it you get, if you feel like you need to.
2. Use apps to limit your time online. Apps such as Moment (for Apple users) or Offtime (for both Apple and Android users) track your time online and set parameters for you to modify how much time you spend online. I use StayFocused or Stay On Task when I want to block apps from sending me information or limit my internet usage, especially when I am in work or trying to concentrate on a task.
(Image taken from https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/moments-app-curbs-iphone-addiction/)
3. Make LIVING IN THE MOMENT a priority. Prioritize other areas of your life. What have you always wanted to do but never had time. Imagine if you didn’t have to tweet or reply back to messages or comment on a photo constantly. Imagine how much time you would now have on your hands, how much free time you’d have to do what you actually want to do. Like meeting a friend in person, writing in your journal, playing board games with your family or just simply listening to somebody else. Do something productive with your time. Give back to someone who needs it, spend time on your own recharging yourself, complete errands, make that phonecall you’ve been putting off or clean out your closet. This is your life. Don’t waste it hiding behind a screen all the time.
4. Make a note of how this challenge is treating you. Keep note of how you’re feeling outside of your online time. As with any addiction, social media addiction might leave you feeling some withdrawal symptoms. You might feel restless, listless or alone. But trust in the process. Life is going on around you, not just online. You will notice just how many people find it acceptable to walk around with their eyes glued to their phone screens when you take time to actually look around. Who is living their best life? Yes, YOU are. Because you will be more aware and what is going on around you.
So I am going to follow the above steps to challenge myself to spend some time offline. That does not mean I won’t post an Instagram now and again, or spend time writing my blog posts. I do love doing that. However, I will not spend all my time finding out who ‘liked’ my photo or my blog post. I will designate certain times for going online, just like I will designate certain times for staying offline. And in that way, I will bring my life back to its natural balance.
Please let me know if you want to participate in the challenge. I am always open to comments, so comment below if you have any other ideas on how to switch off from social media. (And I’ll check it during my designated time!)
Have a good week.