This past week I was listening to Leanne Baker from Organising The Four Of Us, talking about the importance of choosing self-care over having a perfect looking home. How I whole heartedly agree with that idea! One of the self-care strategies mentioned, that I resonated with a lot is this one… reduce social media use!
Reduce Social Media Use
Lately, I have noticed I have developed a habit of checking in on my Facebook, feed frequently. While it’s only 5 minutes here or 10 minutes there, it’s way more often than I need to! And when I do hope on online, I find myself scrolling through my feed and getting completely distracted from what I originally intended to do. I’m like a Labrador on a bush walk, who can smell the scent of a kangaroo from a mile away. Forget the track, I’m off!
I have also noticed that I have been struggling more with my thoughts, comparing myself and the progress on my goals, with the Facebook feed of others. I find that too much social media time affects my mood, makes it more difficult to get to sleep at night and becomes something that I “need” to do or even do without thinking about it. It also wastes a lot of time!
Am I becoming addicted?
I am also conscious of the example I am setting to my kids when they see me on my phone so much. I don’t want them thinking even for a second that my social media feed is more important than them. (Exceptions allowed for when I give myself a time out occasionally because the noise, whining, fighting etc is feeling too much).
Well here are 3 ideas that help reduce social media use:
1. Manage Your Phone Apps And/Or Social Media Feed By:
- Turning off all notifications.
- Remove the social media apps from your phone so you can only access them on your desktop.
- Access the Facebook groups you participate in through the Facebook Group App so you are not distracted to scroll through your feed. I found this idea really helpful especially when I was part of a Facebook group that required checking in, in the mornings.
- Using an app which tracks screen time and sets off a notice when you go over your limit. Check out Quality Time, Break Free or Anti Social.
- Reduce the visual clutter in your Facebook feed by un-following a lot or all of your Facebook friends and groups. This will mean there is a lot less updates in your feed. Choose to only follow a select group of people.
You can reduce social media use by choosing to be intentional with when you go online or don’t.
Some ways of doing this are:
- Only accessing social media when the kids are asleep.
- Having no screen time 1 hour before bed.
- Setting aside 4 pm to 8 pm, during the crazy hours of the day with kids, as social media free time.
- Giving yourself permission to check your social media feed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening for a designated period of time. Then make social media inaccessible the rest of the time. See above for ways to do that.
- Having no social media in the evenings when your partner is present.
Live your life intentionally!
Think about and choose the hours you want to be active on social media or not. Write it down if you need to.
3. Take A Social Media Fast
Sometimes it can be difficult to significantly reduce social media use and a total break is required.
The benefits of a fast are that it gives our brains a break from the constant flow of stimulation through social media. That leads to feeling more relaxed, and less stressed, sleeping better and being more active and socially engaged.
A fast from social media could be anything from a day once a week, to a week or a month’s one off break.
Some families take a break from all screens when they go away on holidays for a few weeks. I do find it a blessing in Western Australia that there are so many places outside our city that have limited or no reception. So you just have to be offline!
Some people plan for a month’s break during the summer. Then use that time for rest, reflection and relaxation.
Honestly, I am starting to think that a longer break from social media would be really healthy for me! I am just not ready to commit to one yet…
It maybe be helpful to start with a week at a time until the need to check your Facebook or Instagram feed no longer feels so urgent. Fasting from anything can be really difficult at first. Expect to feel uncomfortable and your fingers a bit twitchy.
Consider writing in a journal!
Take note of what you are feeling, what triggers there are to be online and how your feelings and time use changes as the week goes on.
And For A Few
If you want to do something completely radical, forget thinking about how to reduce social media use!
Instead consider quitting social media altogether as Dr Carl Newpot, author of Deep Work, suggests in this Ted Talk.
Which one of these strategies to reduce social media use do you find most helpful for you personally?
Leave a comment below or contact me here via email.