In last week’s episode, we discussed social media and how it can affect your life negatively. However, there are also many benefits to social media, such as keeping in touch with your friends or becoming part of online communities that share similar interests to you. The important thing to remember is balance and making sure you don’t fall into an excess use of social media.
We have collated some tips that help reduce your screen time and social media usage and re-establish a healthy relationship between you and your phone.
Tip 1: Uninstall Social Media from Your Phone
If the temptation is too much when having social media on your phone, then uninstall social media apps and use them on your computer only. That way, there is more of a barrier between you and the act of scrolling on social media, thus allowing you to use social media intentionally.
It also gives you time to think about whether you do want to go on social media and start scrolling, or whether you’d rather do something else more fulfilling to fill your time with.
Also, why not use your phone productively instead? You can download some productivity, exercise or relaxation/meditation apps on your phone to make your phone a useful device that actually enhances your quality of life. Here are some of our personal favourites:
- I am: a daily affirmations app where you can set it to send you a notification everyday with an affirmation. You can also use it as a widget on your home screen. Great mood booster!
- Moonly: if you are into lunar calendars, astrology and other spiritual practices, this app is for you. They have many meditations available on their free plan, a lunar calendar (including important astrological events) and articles to learn more about various topics within the spiritual realm.
- Goodreads: if you’re an avid reader, this app encapsulates everything around reading. You can create bookshelves to make a list of your TBR (To Be Read) List, track your progress on the book you are currently reading and review and rate books once you have finished reading them.
- Notion: Notion is a productivity app that helps you organise your life. You can create many different templates, from tables and galleries to to-do lists, and is available both on desktop and your phone.
- FitOn: this is a great app for exercise! Their free plan offers plenty of exercise classes, from yoga and pilates to HIIT and weightlifting. You can set goals and have access to a calendar within the app to keep track of your goals or add exercises you did outside of FitOn (such as dancing, walking, badminton, ect).
Tip 2: Set a Timer
Setting a timer when you start scrolling allows you to set a clear time limit to avoid spending too much time on social media. You can also use app limits on your phone which, after a certain time, stops you from accessing the app and requires a code to unlock it.
Recently, many smartphone companies have added features, such as ‘Focus’ on iPhone or ‘Modes and Routines’ on Samsung, that help you block certain apps, notifications or calls from people you don’t want and help you get on with work, homework, etc., without getting distracted.
If you have decided to use social media on your computer only, there are plugins available that block certain web pages on your browser to avoid the temptation of scrolling on social media whilst you’re working.
Lastly, use everyday activities as a reminder to take a break too: have dinner without your phone next to you, take a shower without your phone in the bathroom with you or watch a movie with your phone in a drawer away from sight.
Tip 3: Find New Things To Do
As mentioned in the episode, it might be a good idea to switch the time you spend on TikTok when bored with some other activities that are dopamine-inducing but still healthy for your brain. Here are some examples:
- Pick up a new skill,
- Complete a new task you’ve put off for a while,
- Exercise or go for a walk in nature,
- Call or meet up with a friend,
- Read a chapter of a book,
- Bake something.
Tip 4: Be Selective of Who You Follow
Tune your feed to only things you want to see that make you feel good, inspired and/or educated. Unwanted accounts don’t add value or significance to your life, so remove friends, family, acquaintances, celebrities or influencers that no longer serve you and don’t make you feel good about yourself. Instead, follow educational pages, small businesses (this is a great way to support them) or cute animal pages (because those are guaranteed to always make you feel good).
Tuning your feed also avoids comparison. You are not constantly comparing yourself to people and standards that are unrealistic. Going on social media can make your insecurities worse and catalyse feelings of self-doubt and self-esteem, even though there is nothing wrong with you. Instead, you can follow people who have similar interests, hobbies or lifestyles to you.
Tip 5: Don’t Share Everything
Privacy is such a privilege in this day and age. It seems that many want to share things with others for validation and/or approval, and social media has made it easier for people to do so.
Keep photos and videos to yourself, and thus moments to yourself. Maybe have a private story where you only share videos and photos with your closest friends and family. Take photos with a digital camera and get them printed physically to put them in an album as a keepsake instead of posting all your holiday pictures on Instagram.
Tip 6: Have a Social Media-Free Day
Turn off your phone completely, or put it in a ‘focus’/’mode’ where all social media notifications are disabled and only important contacts can call or text you in case of an emergency, put your ringer on and put it in a drawer away from sight. Use this day to do other activities, such as go for a walk, paint or draw, bake, watch a movie with some snacks, listen to music and do chores, etc.
Taking a day off to completely unplug will allow you to focus on yourself and avoid distraction. It allows your brain to take a breather rather than constantly digesting masses of invaluable information from the internet.
Always make sure that throughout life, you are creating more than you are consuming. We all have something to offer to the world and ourselves, and social media can distract us from that.
Though social media has made it easier for us to connect with people around the world, it has become a place where many of us feel lost watching other people share their ‘amazing’ life online. Use this time to reflect on your inner world instead and find things that bring you joy.