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!
How To Spend Less Time On Social Media
Lately, I have noticed I have developed the habit of checking in on my Instagram feed frequently. While it’s only 5 minutes here or 10 minutes there, it’s way more often than I need to!
When am on online, I find myself scrolling 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 walking along track, I’m off!
Why You Should Less Time On Social Media
I have also noticed that I have been struggling more with my thoughts, comparing myself and my life to others. I find that too much social media affects my mood, and makes it more difficult to get to sleep at night. It also uses up a lot of time!
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 that my social media feed is more important than them.
Exceptions allowed for when I need a time out because the noise, whining, fighting is too much! Though actually there are much better things I can do when I am feeling overwhelmed by life than scrolling on my phone.
3 Ways To Cut Back On Social Media
1. Reduce The Clutter
Turn off all notifications for the apps on your phone.
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 every morning.
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 social media feed by unfollowing most groups and friends. This will mean there is a lot less updates in your feed. Choose to only follow a select group of people.
2. Choose Your Hours
You can reduce social media use by choosing to be intentional with when you go online or don’t.
How much time on social media is too much? More than 2 hours a day!
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.
Recently I set a rule for the kids and myself to not go on screens before school in the mornings. Gosh it’s challenging to be consistent with!
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 limit 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 mobile phone reception and Internet access. 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.
Which one of these strategies to reduce social media use do you find most helpful for you personally?