Put your hands up and step away from the phone, laptop or tablet! Mary Bryce offers a whole list of strategies geared toward getting your social media lifestyle under control. The digital detox starts now!
It’s all too easy to get sucked into perpetual addiction to your phone. A few years ago, I took a break from Instagram for a year, and it proved to be exceptionally good for my mental health. There’s so much pressure to have a “personal brand,” regardless of who you are and what you do. More often than not, dealing with the constant influx of emails, texts, phone calls, Instagram likes, Facebook disses and Twitter blowups can really wear you down. It’s exhausting!
According to The Telegraph, a UK newspaper, people check their phones an average of 27 times per day. Many spend more time online than they do sleeping, which is probably the surest sign that we all need to take a step back. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum of social media usage, here are 10 easy ways to take a social media detox.
- Go cold turkey: This is probably the most intimidating option out there, but it will also work wonders for your mental health. Just do it.
- Have someone change your password: Entrust a friend to change your account passwords. It’s a tried-and-true technique used by college students across the country during finals week, and is also a great option if you’re on deadline for a work assignment and need to focus.
- Don’t take your electronics to bed: This is a hard one to abide by, especially if you’re guilty of using your phone alarm to wake up in the morning. That said, it might be time for you to buy a radio alarm clock.
- Delete time-sucking apps off your phone: Just delete them. It won’t harm your online presence. It won’t destroy the “network” that you’ve spent years growing. It simply gets rid of the apps on your phone. If you really do need to log into Twitter or Facebook, simply do so on your desktop.
- Just use your laptop: If you don’t spend a lot of time with a laptop or desktop computer, consider making a pact with yourself to only check your feeds while sitting down at your computer instead of while waiting in line at the grocery store. All told though, this will still require a great deal of discipline.
- Clean up your feed: This is a nice alternative to going completely silent on all fronts. Sometimes it’s just as productive to simply clean up your feed and give yourself the gift of mental space. If you’re really struggling with online discipline, try to curate your feed so that you’re only following 50 to 100 people you actually care about.
- Turn off notifications on your device: This is such an obvious one, but is also a huge time-saver.
- Get another app: Download an app such as Moment, which tracks how much time you spend online each day. The results will inevitably depress you, and will hopefully motivate you to change how you spend your day in real time compared to how much time you spend on social media.
- Decide which app to prioritize: Everyone shines on different platforms. Maybe you genuinely love Instagram or Facebook, or maybe the Twitter community feeds your soul. Whatever the case, focus your energy there rather than everywhere. It’s also helpful to analyze and prioritize where you shine and where you actually get a return for your time investment. I know photographers who exclusively use Instagram instead of other social media apps because they build work relationships and connections through the app. Think critically about what works for you.
- Deactivate your account: If you’ve tried taking breaks from social media and actually liked it, consider getting rid of your account completely. You’ll have more free time than you know what to do with.