Whether you just want to take a break, or you’re looking to cut out social media completely, backing away can be easier said than done. We all have different reasons for the decision, but the general goal is to improve mental and physical health by increasing the overall balance in our lives.
Getting started is the hardest part. “Checking” social media can become routine, and the drive to take a quick peek can be difficult to ignore. Try these strategies to overcome that nagging impulse and take charge of your social media use for good.
Set Your Boundaries
Make a decision and stick to it. Announce your intentions online, so you don’t need to worry about speculation over your absence. Mark your calendar. The clearer and more committed you can be about this from the start, the better your chances of following through.
Remove the Apps From Your Phone
This move is probably both the most obvious and the hardest for most users. It’s like trying to get a toddler to let go of a trusted security blanket; social media is always there for us, or so it seems, even when it’s to our detriment.
Just remember: The apps can go back on nearly as easily as they came off. Even more, this one single act could make or break your efforts to succeed in your goals to limit or cut social media use.
Use a Time-Limiting Tool
If you don’t want to abandon social media completely or all at once, you can still limit your exposure. Regardless of the device you do most of your scrolling on, there’s an app or browser extension that can help you stay on track. Some options will even help you block out the worst offenders to eliminate the element of temptation.
Plan Your Free Time
Many of us wind up getting lost on social media because we haven’t structured our free time. Consider other activities that could offer the same kind of neurochemical rewards online “likes” might deliver. Make a list ahead of time to keep from putting yourself on the spot when you do go offline.
Need some ideas? Consider these activities to start:
- Keep a sketchbook, journal or adult coloring book on hand.
- Take a walk, even if it’s just a few blocks.
- Reorganize a storage closet or cluttered room.
- Listen to some music and consider singing along.
- Play a game of Solitaire using a physical pack of cards.
- Read a book.
- Take up a new hobby.
See It for What It Is
Social media might seem like a place of beauty and relevance, but most of it isn’t any realer than a Hollywood movie set. Influencers and other personalities go to great lengths to create appearances of perfection, authority and confidence. Make no mistake that every one of them has their imperfections and hurdles.
They have bad days, just like the rest of us. They make mistakes. They deal with health issues. Most simply choose to bar all that ugliness from their online lives. They’re actors playing characters—people who are there to make money on our presence. When we strive to emulate them, we’re buying into a façade, essentially confusing reality and fiction.
Social media isn’t all terrible, but for many people, the bad has begun to outweigh the good. Cutting the cord might not fix everything, but it could help on more than one front. Embrace reality, flaws and all. Life is beautiful, even if it’s far from perfect. Let go of the online insanity and start being fully present in the incredible world all around you.