How many hours do you spend on social media each day? Is it one hour, or even more? Sites like Facebook and Instagram suck us in until the point we think they are essential to living. Truth is, when we become addicted, our social media time actually does more harm than good. If you’re ready to beat the odds and find life outside your Tumblr page, here’s how you can begin detaching from social media.
Step 1: Make it Harder to Access
Your phone and computer are the biggest reasons why you are addicted. But as a college student, it’s not like you can cut tech out of your life completely. However, limiting your access to social media may work.
Start by deleting your social media apps from your phone. Next, take your bookmarks off your computer. Finally, set up blockers on your computer that limit your access. For example, use a distraction-free program that makes you complete a task before you can get on your social media accounts.
Step 2: Announce it Publically
No one likes a flashy goodbye, but you can still use social media to be accountable for yourself. If you make your goals public, you are more likely to want to live up to your word. For example, post a status such as, “Giving up social media for the next two days. If you see me on here, ask me why!”
For sites like Instagram or Pinterest, post pictures that let people how long you’re going to be gone. We’ve provided a graphic you can use to let your social circles know about your social vacation. Either way, stick to your word! To get you started, the post above works best for Facebook, but you can post this to your Twitter as a “pinned tweet” or for your social media profile pictures across any channels you use.
Step 3: Find a New Routine
So much of us is tied to the time and reason for using social media. For example, you probably wake up and go straight for your Facebook messages or send out a Tweet about a party you’re at. It’s become a routine for you to be online at these certain points of your day.
In order to be successful at detaching, you need to break out of your schedule. Start your day with your phone far from you (or the apps on a child lockdown). Get a new morning tradition that you enjoy, such as reading a chapter of a book or heading to the gym. If you go on social media when you’re bored, start carrying around a book that you can read instead, or reach out and make a call to your parents. Making your time productive reduces your need to mindlessly scroll through your timeline.
Step 4: Cut it Out of Social Situations
Do you have your Facebook page open when you’re out to eat with friends? Are you constantly taking selfies while at a party or even on vacation? It’s time to put the phone down, take a look around, and find reasons to enjoy life without social media.
One of the best things you can do is to ask your friends to go along with your plans. Have a phone-free dinner where the first person to check their phone pays the bill. Or, you can use your Spring Break as a way to completely turn off broadcasting your life for the week. They’ll love reconnecting with you as much as you’ll love reconnecting with your offline life.