Do you feel like you’re being controlled by your phone? And do you keep experiencing this immense need and desire to check how many people liked your photos on IG every three minutes? If you do, then it’s probably (definitely) time for a thorough social media detox.
As someone who has personally gone through a crazy addiction with social media (I’m talking about 8 hours a day…no joke)! I know exactly how it feels to be mentally and physically controlled by these apps. We start to feel as if we’re losing our free will. Our emotions start to reflect the massive amount of content we’re absorbing on a daily basis. And we start to care more about other people’s lives than our own.
Is Social Media Necessary?
Of course, social media can have its benefits when it comes to promoting a personal business or finding potential networking opportunities. And since so many freelancers and entrepreneurs are leveraging their social media presence to expand their business. I’m not going to sit here and say, “NO! SOCIAL MEDIA IS EVIL. DELETE IT NOW!”
BUT… I do think that unless social media helps promote your business and can make you money in the long run. Then, it really isn’t necessary to have a social media account. I know I might get some hate for this personal opinion of mine. Because I used to hate it when other people tell me this, too. But ever since I deleted my personal Instagram account after being addicted to it for 6 long years. I’ve realized that I truly have not missed out on one thing! The family and friends I love still contact me through text and even email haha. And I’ve been able to enjoy SO MUCH MORE TIME to myself, aka focusing on my blog! Yay!
If you’re ready to start taking control over your life and start limiting your screen time, here are 20 effective ways to help curb your stubborn social media addiction.
1. Use “Social Media Detox Apps”
If you’re finding it difficult to start this social media detox on your own. Maybe try downloading “the moment- screen time control app“. The great thing about this app is that it focuses on helping you develop a better relationship with your phone. By providing daily coaching and exercises, it makes sure you slowly adopt a new and better habit when it comes to dealing with technology.
Another pretty cool feature of Moment is that you can track your family’s phone usage! So if you’re struggling with self-discipline, maybe have your siblings or your parents hold you accountable for your screen time everyday.
P.S. for android users, Quality Time is a great app as well.
2. Delete The Addictive Apps Off Your Phone
This is probably the most direct way to curb the habit of checking your phone constantly. By getting rid of the most addictive apps on your phone, you won’t be tempted to check your social media accounts every two seconds. However, one of the cons of this method is that, you can still easily re-download the apps through your app store. And on iPhones, you don’t have the option to delete the app store off the home screen. But I guess this is what social media detox is about. Training our will power and perseverance. It can be challenging at first. But if we stick it out, we’ll gain great rewards in the end.
3. Use An Actual Alarm In The Morning
One of my many excuses for why I had to check my phone in the morning was, “I need the alarm on my phone!’ But deep down inside, I knew that wasn’t true. Back when personal mobile phones didn’t exist, how did people wake up in the morning? Well, either with a traditional alarm clock or the roosters’ crows in the morning.
And once you have an actual alarm clock, you can place your phone far far far away from the bed so that there is no possible way to reach it first thing in the morning. It might be extremely difficult to resist the urge at first. But as time goes by, you’ll start to feel more refreshed in the morning without the distraction of your phone. It’s quite an amazing feeling.
4. Treat Yourself For Reaching Your Goals
Set up small goals for yourself, such as:
- Achieve a daily screen time of 2 hours (or less) for two weeks straight
- Not signing on to Instagram (or any social media of your choice) for one month
- Only check social media accounts for 10 minutes a day
And if you are able to achieve these goals (no cheating!) then you should definitely treat yourself. Whether it’s by taking yourself out to a nice meal, or getting that shirt you’ve always wanted from Urban Outfitters. Treat yourself in whichever way you want, but just not more social media screen time, lol.
5. Know How Your Subconscious Mind Works
By knowing how our subconscious mind works, we’ll understand how important it is to pay attention to what type of content we consume on a daily basis. Our subconscious mind is like a sponge. If we’re not actively engaging our conscious mind to filter out the information coming in, then our subconscious mind will absorb almost everything from our five senses. It sure doesn’t discriminate! Negative and positive information are all welcome to our subconscious. The gate is wide open.
If we’re not careful, we might slowly become programmed by these apps we’re using. And since our subconscious mind controls 95% of how we live our lives. We definitely want to choose wisely what we allow into the gates of our minds.
By understanding our subconscious minds, social media detox will not just be a mere activity to us. But a conscious choice to reprogram our subconscious mind.
6. Go Out Into Nature
Many health experts and professionals link modern addictions to the disconnection of mind, body, and nature. And there have also been many studies that have showcased the important role of nature in addiction recovery.
We human beings are one with our mother nature. And as we started disconnecting with her due to the advent of modern technology, we’ve started experiencing a higher level of stress, depression, and mental disorders as a society. According to a study published on Science Daily, by merely spending 20 minutes in nature can efficiently reduce the stress hormone cortisol. So go out and bathe in the beauty of mother earth!
7. Unplug The WiFi During Your Free Time
*Disclaimer* You might not want to do this when you live with a bunch of other people lol!
Unplugging the WiFi is a great way to do a social media detox when at home. Of course, this method would probably work better for those who don’t have unlimited data on their phones. And those who live alone. We definitely don’t want to obnoxiously turn the WiFi off when our housemates’ are working on a project, haha.
I also find that unplugging the WiFi during the weekends can prevent me from going on my laptop or iPad when social media detoxing.
8. Hide Your Phone When Working
Are you also suffering from chronic procrastination that has been slowing down your productivity? If yes, then social media detox is a great start to overcoming it. When working on a project or doing homework, make sure to keep your phone out of sight! If you’re working in the living room, then maybe place your phone somewhere in the bedroom or underneath your pillow. And if you’re a lazy person like me, you won’t feel like getting up to check your phone every 5 minutes.
When checking our phones becomes less convenient, we’ll also be less inclined to do it so often.
9. Listen To This Talk By Former Facebook Exec.
This interview with Chamath Palihapitiya at Stanford University helped me delete my personal Instagram account that I’ve been addicted to for 6 long years. And I truly want everyone in the world to see this valuable video.
As a former Facebook executive that has contributed greatly to the success of Facebook, Chamath admits that he himself never uses social media, and doesn’t even allow his kids to use it. He urges us to understand that these major social media companies are subconsciously programming our minds, and using our “attention” as a way to monetize their platform. Meaning, selling the time we spend on these apps to ad companies. Without charging users for downloading these apps, one of the only way companies like Instagram and Facebook can make money is through user retention and the monetization of user attention.
10. Learn To Be Self Aware
The prerequisite for overcoming any sort of addiction is self-awareness. Without recognizing these obsessive patterns and behaviors, we can never truly change the way we live our lives.
So whenever you feel the urge to check your phones, ask yourself:
- Why do I feel the need to check my phone right now?
- Will checking my social media account make me feel better? Or is that just an excuse?
- Am I just bored? If yes, is there anything I can do besides going on social media.
- Is this addictive behavior causing me distress and emotional issues?
11. Realize Your Time Is Valuable
Ahhh, time. We can have all the money in the world, and we still can’t buy time. (Off Topic Here: Check out the movie “In Time” if you’re interested in living in a world where time is money. Literally)
But anyway, what I wanted to say is that time is precious! Each day, with around 8 hours wasted on sleep, assuming our life span is 80 years, then we only truly live for 53.4 years. And once we start subtracting daily activities such as commuting and eating from our time, our true life span becomes much lower.
With only limited years on this planet earth, we have to realize the value of our time. Spending our days scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Tiktok. We’re wasting our time on other people’s lives! Unless an activity is adding value to our life in some shape or form, then it shouldn’t be included in our daily activities.
12. Seek Deeper Connections
Another great way to help social media detox is to seek deeper connections with others. Nowadays, it’s so easy to keep up with others on Instagram by just liking and commenting on their recent posts. But I feel like this feature on social media has sort of comprised our relationships with others in real life. It’s so easy to add a person you just met at a party on Instagram, and become “friends” with them. Instead of talking in real life and actually getting to know each other, we seem to avoid that interaction and connection altogether with just a simple click on the “follow” button.
By setting an intention to seek deeper connections with people we meet in real life, we can become better communicators, listeners, but also more present in every situation that we are in. And that should be one of the biggest goals for our social media detox experience.
13. Find A hobby
When you’re so immersed in the present moment, the last thing you’ll think about is your phone. And that’s exactly what it means to be in the flow. Finding a hobby such as playing the piano, painting, or knitting. You can train your mind to focus on one task and one activity at a time. Which is an extremely important skill to have if you want to master anything.
One of the major problems with social media is that it has normalized distraction. Every time we see a notification pop up on our phone, we immediately lose our focus. And as time goes on, we begin to unconsciously master the art of distraction. So by training our mind to focus on a hobby, we can start reversing some of the habits we’ve developed throughout the years.
14. Recognize What Is Important To You
Having a broader perspective on life is crucial for understanding why we do what we do, and how we want to live our lives. Sometimes, we find ourselves sucked into the vast yet completely fabricated world of social media. And after hours of scrolling, we realize that it just left us feeling even more empty and mentally exhausted. But why do we keep doing it if it doesn’t bring us joy?
We should start by asking ourselves these questions to get to know ourselves better:
- What is my short-term and long-term goal? And would social media help me achieve it?
- How would the ideal version of myself spend his/her time?
- What are the things that matter the most to me? And am I spending time on/with it?
15. Set A Reminder On Your Lock Screen
Sometimes, we like to check our phones out of habit and pure boredom. And one of the best ways to remind ourselves of this bad habit is to actually place a reminder on our lock screen. This lock screen idea by Berkeley Well Being is a super great idea. It says, “STOP! Did You Click Here For Happiness? If So, Put Down Your Phone And Go Do Something Else”
By actively reminding ourselves, and becoming aware of our own repetitive behavior, we can slowly start to rewire our brain, and develop a set of better habits.
16. Try Using A Flip Phone
I know, I know. This may sound like an absurd idea in 2020 where we literally depend on our smartphones to survive. But, maybe give it a try? I mean, flip phones are honestly pretty badass. There are plenty of videos of Youtube where people challenge themselves to use flip phones for an entire month. And maybe these videos will inspire you to try it out too. Also, there are quite a few flip phones nowadays that come equipped with apps like Google Maps, so you don’t have to actually navigate with a physical map.
17. Make A Bet With Your Friends
Another great way to help you stay motivated during your social media detox is to make it a competition or a bet between you and your friends. For example, whoever can stop posting on Instagram for three months gets $50 dollars. With monetary incentives, we’re many times more likely to stick it out till the end. I mean, who doesn’t like money?
Also, when doing social media detox with a partner, you can have someone to keep you accountable whenever you feel like you’re about to succumb to your temptations.
18. Create Folders On Your Homescreen
Creating folders on your home screen is not only a good way to keep your home screen neat and organized. But it can also help hide those addictive apps away into an area of your screen where you’re less likely to click on. Creating one extra step and barrier for accessing those addictive social media apps.
A great way to set up your screen is to:
- Place necessary applications like Google Maps, Calculator, Camera, and Calendar on the first page
- Move all social media accounts into a folder, and place that folder on the last page of your home screen
19. Unfriend Toxic Influences
Have you ever felt the irrational urge to stalk the profile of someone you don’t like just to see what’s up with their life? No? Maybe that’s just me lmao! But sometimes, this is what social media can do to us. It makes us bitter, jealous, and feel emotions that we don’t like. It not only feeds our egos, but also makes us more judgemental towards others.
If you realize that you’re experiencing a rise in these unpleasant egotistic emotions in your daily life, then make sure to do a social media cleanse. Delete and unfriend accounts that are either triggering or causing you to feel negative.
20. Actually Delete Your Account!
If you’re tired of deleting social media apps off your phones and then re-downloading them again a few months later. Maybe try actually deleting your accounts??! I know, it’s a taunting idea because we’ve spent such a huge part of our lives on social media. And so many memories are on there! But, if you feel that social media is no longer serving you, and helping you become the best version of yourself. Then maybe it’s time for a clean breakup. Just like how it’s mentally exhausting to keep entertaining that toxic ex-partner of yours, it’s equally as tiring to keep going back and forth with a social media addiction. If short-term social media detoxes aren’t improving your relationship with social media, then maybe it’s truly time to let go.
Check out this TED talk by Ryan Thomas and maybe he’ll inspire you to delete your social media accounts once and for all.
Real Life > Social Media Life
When we’re in the final moments of our lives, what are the images that will flash through our minds? That picture which received 500 likes on Instagram, or that moment when we looked deeply into our loved ones’ eyes.
Instead of staring at our phones, and indulging ourselves in this fabricated reality called “social media”. Why don’t we use this precious chunk of time to really bask in the loving presence of our family and friends? At the end of the day, isn’t that what truly matters?
Social media is truly a double-edged sword. Many people around the world have been able to achieve financial freedom through their successful careers on social media. However, just as many or maybe even more people have suffered depression and detachment from reality as a result of social media addiction. But hopefully, after this social media detox, you will gain a clearer perspective of what is truly important in life, and whether or not social media actually benefits you. xoxo!
For more self care tips and inspiration, make sure to check out:
- Learn Spanish On Youtube – Best Channels To Help Improve Your Spanish
- How To Enjoy Being Alone – 40 Fun Things You Can Do By Yourself
- 50 Inspirational Self Confidence Quotes You’ll Love
- 101 Productive Things To Do When Bored – No Time Wasted!
- What Does It Mean To Be Present? And Why It’s So Important