I think it’s safe to assume we have all experienced a time when we have over used social media. I remember the beginning of the Facebook era. I found myself logging in to my page from work, multiple times a day, checking to see if I had any new friend requests or notifications. It was a new and exciting world, people were way into it – myself included.
Fast forward to today – we have a plethora of social media options to choose from.
According to statista.com Facebook has 2.27 billion active monthly users, there are 261 million Twitter users, Snapchat has 150 million daily users globally, and Instagram has 800 million users.
Whether you are a brand using these platforms to market goods and target consumers, or you are like me, a regular person scrolling, shopping and posting, there is no denying social media is engrained into our habits, societal culture and generation.
Similar to other aspects in life, balance is important, and maintaining a healthy relationship with social media is one way to take care of my mental health. I will admit there was a time where I felt the need to photograph every moment and share it online. There was a time when I would be with friends, family, co-workers and instead of acknowledging their presence, I was in an Instagram hole. To be honest, being online became such a norm for me, I didn’t even realize how rude and neglectful I was being, until someone asked me if I could put my phone away.
I have different groups of friends, some of them always have their phones out when we are together. It can feel like we spend all of our time looking at what other people are doing online, instead of just having fun with each other. Then I have friends who can take days to respond to a text because they don’t even know where their phones are. Those are my friends who never have their phone out when we are together. If I had to choose who to spend all of my free time with – it’s an easy decision, I would choose my friends who are phone free and focused on me.
Finding balance and changing a behaviour can be challenging. Here are some things I do to be mindful of my usage, and feel in control of how i’m spending my time on social:
I Leave Home, Without My Phone
Whether I am going to grab a coffee, walk my dog, or meet up with friends, if I can – I leave my phone at home. Not having the option to be on my phone is always nice. It allows me to pay attention to the environment and stay present with the people I am with. My phone will be there when I get home. I always feel like my day/night was a more authentic, fulfilling experience without technology. It’s nice to allow my brain to absorb life and create memories for myself and the people I am with. I don’t need Instagram to be my proof of life.
I Edit My Following List
I do this every few months on Instagram when I feel like I am following too many people. I unfollow whoever I don’t draw inspiration from.
I try to only follow people I know, accounts that align with my views, inspire me, that I learn from, or that I shop online with.
We have all been down the Instagram hole – editing my list, and logging in less frequently is one way I prevent this from happening.
I Delete The App
It may seem dramatic but it’s really not. We edit different areas of our lives all of the time. We do it with how we eat, how we work out, why can’t we do it with social media? Think of deleting an app off your phone as cutting the fat out of your life – even if it’s only temporary. You can do it for a weekend, or before you go on vacation. Not having the option to pick up my phone and dive into social media changes my behaviour of me picking up my phone all together. When I have less reason to be on my phone, it means more time off of technology entirely. Time is a valuable and limited thing – which is why I try to spend it wisely.
I Don’t Bring Electronics to Bed With Me
When I bring my phone to bed, there is the temptation (we have all done this) to lie in bed and scroll. When we do this we are not allowing our brain to rest before going to sleep.
When preparing the body for rest mode, we should rest all areas – mind, body, and soul. It makes for an easier transition from awake to sleep when we have a period of relaxation in between. Instead of scrolling I’ll read in bed, journal, or meditate.