Are you tired of spending every waking hour on tweets, Instagrams, likes, shares, comments, notifications, and posts? Do you need a respite from mirror selfies, news feeds, and memes? Have you ever wanted to get off social media?
If it seems like everyone else has a more fabulous life than you and you’d like to spend time on real friendships instead of putting up with over-sharers and trolls online, it may be time to make a change.
Too much social media is a tyrant that swallows your time.
It afflicts you with angst, FOMO, and sleepless nights. It’s addictive, bad for your health, and trashes your mood. Enough already!
If “connecting” 24/7 is getting old, maybe you should consider going on a social media diet. Something in between Twitter feast or Facebook famine.
If you’re willing to give it a try, read on.
5 Steps to Wean Yourself Off Social Media
1. Take Stock of Your Current Use
If you want to get off social media, taking stock of how you use it is an excellent place to start.
What could you change about your social media habits? If you have multiple accounts on multiple platforms, there are likely some that you use less frequently? Which appeal to you more than the others? Are there any you can do without?
Habits die hard. Changing them takes practice.
Pick a time of day when it’s possible to put your phone away for a while. Decide on a practical length of time for your phone diet, but try to be realistic. You need something you can stick to.
Then, stick to your plan. Make your phone downtime something you can look forward to. Plan an activity you enjoy to keep you occupied during that time. Dance to your favorite music. Make yourself a treat. Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read or get outside and enjoy nature.
Share your phone diet plan with your friends. Let them know you won’t be available during that time, but that you’ll get back to them later. They’ll understand and respect that you’re taking control of your life and giving yourself this gift.
2. Notice the Feeling You Have When You Reach for Your Phone
Assess your feelings. Consider a variety of emotions. Be specific, if you can.
When you reach for your phone, do you feel mad, glad, lonely, anxious, afraid? Are you using social media as a distraction from those feelings?
Consider what would it be like to sit with those feelings for a few moments before you signed on to your account? Try to understand why you’re having this feeling. Has someone crossed a boundary? Do you feel judged or misunderstood?
What might happen if you get to the other side of what you’re feeling? Think about the best way to respond to how you feel.
3. Make a Date with a Friend, Partner or Family Member
Get them to agree to turn off their phone during the time you’ve chosen. Having company in your phone-diet experiment will help you keep your promise to yourself. What does it feel like when you let go of your phone connection?
Examine your feelings about this. If you feel anxious, try to figure out why.
4. Go Outside–See the World
Technology is fantastic; it lets us do things people once only dreamt of. But it can also distract us from the world we can sense and experience in tangible ways. To get off social media, even for a short time, is to reconnect with the world in right in front of us.
A face-to-face conversation with a friend, a quiet walk to enjoy the sunset or a heart-pounding run. These kinds of activity let you experience yourself as a whole person. If social media cuts into the time you used to spend doing the things you love, get off social media and regain it.
When you move in the physical world, when you experience person-to-person contact with the people you love, when you actually see the beauty of nature or the quirky expression of a friend, you’ll feel a different kind of connection worth pursuing.
5. Think About What You Might Be Missing
If you feel a minor kind of panic when you think about getting off social media, focus on what you won’t miss:
- Constant interruption
- Brain scatter
- The angst of FOMO
- Looking at life through the Instagram lens
- Envying the “fabulous” lives of everyone else in the world but you
Essentially, trying to get off social media can seem like a scary proposition.
But you’ll more than make up for what you’ll miss by what you gain. Instead of pulling away from friends and family because you’re so caught up in celebrity feeds, you’ll be having actual conversations. Rather than worrying about something harsh someone said online, you’ll be building confidence doing the things you love. Instead of feeling low because your life doesn’t seem to measure up to the flaunts and taunts of someone on social media, you’ll be focused on the good things and growth you’ve experienced.
Think about getting off social media or at least, going on a social media diet. It may help you get the social life you want.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Do you worry you might be spending too much time on social media? How does being on social media make you feel? Please leave a comment below; I’m interested in what you think.