In a city like Nashville, it’s hard to stay off of social media. It runs our businesses and seems to run our lives. But, here’s a terrifying fact: Studies have shown that social media is linked to depression. Scrolling through others’ perfectly-curated highlight reel can lead to feelings of inferiority, as well as low moods associated with disconnection from the real world and loss of productivity. It also can breed dependence on external sources for validation when you derive your self-worth from the number of likes or comments you expect from posting your edited selfie or view of the sunset. Here are some simple tips on maintaining a healthy relationship with social media.
You may not need to completely get rid of social media (hello, balance), but you can choose to be mindful and pay attention to how you are using the platforms. Try putting yourself in “social media rehab”, which involves you completely staying off all forms of it for a few days at a time.
Track Your Habits
Track your social media habits for a week and become conscious of how much time you spend on certain apps. Then, try quitting social media the next week, and continue to track your observations in a journal on how you feel while being detached from it.
Create a Routine, Sans Social Media
Creating a routine that consciously neglects social media will allow you to create healthy boundaries with the platforms, especially at the critical times in your day such as right upon waking and going to bed. For example, in the morning set a rule to not check any form of social media until you have had time to have coffee, meditate or read a little offline. At night, don’t touch your phone an hour before crawling into bed and stay off of it until the next day.
You can block out a period of time each day to devote only to social media use. Combat those urges to check Instagram by setting a time boundary. For instance, if you only allow for a few five-minute intervals throughout your day to scroll, then you can be more intentional with your day and productivity. Try designating a “detox day” each week where you delete an app for the whole day. For example, on Wednesdays we delete Facebook.
In the spirit of spring cleaning, why not give yourself permission to unfollow anyone who, in social media or real life, does not completely light you up or make you feel inspired and empowered? Afraid to unfollow those accounts and potentially offend someone? Use the “mute” function to unfollow certain posts and stories without them even knowing it. The best rule when it comes to following accounts is to keep it simple. Follow people who you really care about and provide you with real inspiration. Find yourself constantly skipping over someone’s Instagram story? That is a sign to press that “unfollow” or “mute” button.
Get Some “Help”
If your willpower fails you, there are apps to limit your time on designated apps, such as Moment, to help you break your social media addiction. It will help break your mindless Instagram/Facebook scrolling to reclaim more time for wholesome activities.
Other apps include:
OFFTIME | Blocks you from distracting apps
Flipd | Locks you out of your phone for a period of time
StayOnTask | Keeps you accountable by checking in to make sure you haven’t gotten off task