Written by Jessica Thodas


Top 5 Ways To Detach Yourself From Social Media | BeTimeful

Social media can be problematic, harming your mental health, lowering productivity, and increasing screen time. The struggle with social media is difficult because it has become so intertwined with our daily lives and how we socialize. So what do you do?

Many people suggest deleting all apps or quitting social media altogether. However, quitting social media is an option that can feel daunting and isolating. Deleting apps has become a popular option because many social media influencers push social media cleanses or detoxes to promote mental health. These “cleanses” from social media are typically supposed to be a break from the apps, which you will again download later on. But what if you want a more permanent solution? Is it really that easy to delete all of your social media apps and never download them again?

From my experience and many others, I have talked to about this subject, the answer is no. In the past, whenever I noticed a decrease in my mental health from social media, I would immediately delete all of my social media apps. However, I would have the apps downloaded again within a few days because deleting them made me feel more isolated. So, I would convince myself that I would be able to balance social media by myself this time, but inevitably I would delete the apps again after a few weeks. This cycle of deleting apps only to re-download them is one that many people face. Whether it is the social connection or staying up-to-date with current trends, many of us are pulled toward social media, and deleting the apps won’t fix that. So how can you successfully detach from social media without completely separating yourself from it? Here are the top 5 ways to disconnect from social media enough to have a balanced life. 

1. Find New Hobbies

A lot of the time, people go on social media when they are bored to be entertained. In a study, “Griffiths… found that a frequent tendency to escape into the online world to cope with negative states of mind such as boredom raises the risk of Internet dependence.” To avoid internet dependence, you must choose something else to alleviate the boredom. 

Hobbies are great ways to fight boredom in a healthy way. There are many hobbies that workout your brain and even your body like: 

I have highlighted these hobbies because they all allow you to take a break from social media and technology, reducing your screen time. However, hobbies are not limited to the ones listed, and they can be anything that you enjoy and can do in your free time. Hobbies can also use technology like photography, video games, and even blogging. The most important thing is that you choose a hobby that piques your interest, makes you feel happy, eliminates your boredom, and helps prevent the urge to scroll. 

By choosing to pick up a hobby in your free time, you help prevent the boredom that often leads to mindlessly scrolling through social media. Instead, you focus your attention on something that actually works out your brain and maybe even your body, making you feel healthier and happier. 

2. Set Daily Goals or Write a To-Do List

As discussed earlier, when you are bored, you often want to occupy your time with scrolling. Instead, try setting goals for your day or making a to-do list.

By writing out what you want to accomplish in your day, you are more accountable for getting it done. This accountability is because written-out tasks are more concrete than fleeting thoughts. Also, once you have written everything you want to accomplish in a day, you can stay focused on getting it done rather than being overwhelmed by trying to remember all of your tasks. 

Also, having things written out gives you a place to go back to when you are bored. Instead of searching for entertainment by scrolling through social media, you can start the next thing on your list. The to-do list will increase your productivity and make you feel more accomplished by the end of the day. 

People ages 16 to 64 spend “an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes per day [on] social media,” which was found by GWI in a global survey done in 2021. Likely, a lot of this time is scrolling through social media, which makes you feel like you have wasted time rather than accomplishing something

In contrast, checking off your goals or things on your list can give you instant gratification, and it can help you stay motivated to stay off social media. Setting daily goals or having a to-do list will make you feel accomplished, productive and good about yourself, all while being detached from social media.

3. Make Plans to See People in Real Life

People are social creatures who need social interactions. Social media can be a helpful tool that keeps you connected when used correctly and in moderation. It gives you the ability to connect quickly, but ideally, social media should not be a complete replacement for social interaction.

 

A 2014 social media use study found that “Young adults with high SMU seem to feel more socially isolated than their counterparts with lower SMU” (SMU stands for social media use). Although designed for connecting with others, too much social media use actually makes you feel more isolated. Because of this, is why you must balance social media with in-person interactions.  

 Seeing people in real life can help fill your social needs and allow you to spend less time on your phone. How can you get the most out of hanging out with your friends to make sure each interaction fills up your social needs?

Don’t be on your phone with your friends. You can respond to messages if needed, of course. But, you should not use social media when you are with friends. The use of social media is distracting and leads to a lower quality connection with the person you are with in real life. So only go on your phone if you hear that you see that you have a message that needs a response. And rather than worrying about your phone, try to focus on your friends. Focus your attention on your plans and connecting with your friends, and the temptation to scroll through social media will disappear.

Balance your social life with virtual and real-life connections. When you spend your free time seeing people in real life, doing hobbies and accomplishing daily tasks, there will be little time to scroll through social media.

4. Don’t Follow the Take a Picture or it Didn’t Happen Mindset

With influencers living their lives on social media, you likely feel pressured to post your entire life on social media. This pressure to take videos and photos of everything you do and every place you go can be overwhelming. But you truly do not need to post everything. 

It’s fun to share the fun moments with your friends, but you shouldn’t miss these moments either. For example, if you are at a concert and feel you must have a video of every song so you can pick the best one to post after, did you even really experience it? You can’t focus on the experience or live your life when taking the perfect picture is at the forefront of your mind.

You can post on social media and share your favourite moments with your friends, as long as you know there needs to be a balance. If you ever feel like most of your memories are through your phone’s camera lens or if you schedule your life to have the perfect pictures to be Instagram-worthy, you are missing out on our life. So how can you fix this?

By living your life the way you want and seeing the world through your own eyes, you will be able to enjoy each moment. And, by making the experience come first and sharing on social media come second, you can detach from social media as it will not control your life. 

5. Eliminate Social Media Use When You Wake Up and Go To Sleep

A 2022 Slicktext smartphone statistic found that “87% of smartphone users check their device within an hour of going to sleep or waking up.” While “69% of smartphone users check their device within the first five minutes of waking up in the morning.” 

In the morning, you should focus your attention on yourself. The morning is for planning your day, maybe writing the daily to-do list, checking your agenda, and getting yourself ready for the day. Your mornings are for you to get up and get yourself motivated for the day. But by waking up and scrolling through social media first thing, you are immediately sucked into the social media feed, making it difficult to stay motivated to start your day. And, you are putting your focus on others rather than yourself. 

At night, you should be winding down, getting ready for bed. But by being on social media, your brain is instead stimulated by people, pictures and videos. As well, the blue light makes it harder to fall asleep. Harvard researchers conclude in their study that “blue light suppresse[s] melatonin.” Since melatonin is the hormone that signals to your body that it is time for sleep, by suppressing it, the blue light delays you from sleeping.

In the mornings and at night, try to turn your focus on yourself. Focus on preparing yourself and motivating yourself to have a great day in the morning. And at night, prepare yourself to have a great sleep and focus on relaxation. This does not mean you can not respond to messages, especially if they are urgent. You do not need to isolate yourself from people to detach from social media. But by avoiding social media when you wake up and before you go to sleep, you can switch your focus from others to yourself while limiting the amount of blue light before bed. Re-focusing on yourself in the morning and at night will allow you to have a better day and a better sleep.

How BeTimeful Can Help

We all need help sometimes, and quitting social media is hard. A 2022 Slicktext smartphone statistic found that “[w]hile 58% of smartphone users have admitted to trying to limit their device usage, only 41% succeeded in lessening their cell phone addiction.” 

It’s hard to do it alone, so BeTimeFul is here to help. At BeTimeful, we understand that social media is an important part of our lives, but so are mental health and productivity. So, we created BeTimeful as a tool to help you stay connected on social media without getting distracted by the feed. BeTimeful is more than a website blocker; it is a smart social media adblocker. So, BeTimeful allows you to answer your messages and fill your social needs without the temptation of scrolling through your social media feed. So check out BeTimeful to help you detach from social media and have a happier, more balanced life.

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