28 Apr How to take your life back from social media
This post is part of a series on How to take back your life from digital devices, where we give you some tips on how to recover your precious time from the devices we use all too much.
Social media is widely praised as being one of the best inventions of the modern era. It’s allowed many of us to keep in contact over oceans and mountains, over time zones and generations. It’s kept families closer, allowed love to blossom, raised global awareness of human rights issues and helped friends stay in contact.
But social media also has a dark side. While we wouldn’t advocate giving it up entirely – even though doing so for a week will make you happier – we’re firm champions of a healthy balance.
But how do we regain balance? How can we take our lives back from social media?
#1 Ditch notifications
This is one of the easiest steps on the path to full a digital detox but is also one of the key steps in maintaining a balance for your digital life.
Those notifications you’re always getting from social media? Yeah, those ones. They’re distracting you more than you realise. Even if you’re responding to it, just the simple act of receiving one is enough to severely distract you from your current task.
So turn them off. Get rid of all your social media notifications and you’ll surely be much more productive, as well as spend less time on social media. After all, out of sight, out of mind.
#2 Keep busy
They say the devil makes work for idle thumbs. Well, the modern devil is a tweet. He’s a Facebook post you didn’t need to make. Does everyone really need to know what you’re having for dinner, or your thoughts about toast? Not really.
So keep yourself busy. Whether that means taking a book on the tube, having a project to work on at home, or heading to the gym to work on your body and health – make sure you have things that will occupy your time.
62% of UK adults ‘hate’ how much time they spend on their phones. It seems we loathe our devices, so why do we put up with them? We need something else to occupy our time. And we don’t mean multitask either; because we know how well that works…
#3 Goodbye fake friends!
Research has proven that you can only maintain stable relationships with 150 friends, so why fill your timelines with people that you’re not really interested in? You should be limiting your time on social media. Why waste that time on people you haven’t spoken to in years?
Cull your friends list. Keep your time on social as limited as possible and spend it on the people you like.
#4 Buy an analogue camera
In the modern age and thanks to the advent of the filter, we’re all photographers. But it’s easy to get lost in an Instagram picture spiral. First, you have to take the photo. Then it’s the right angle, filters and hashtags. Do you crop it? Does it need a border? By the time you’ve posted it, several other thousand things have happened that you could have also snapped – but you were looking down instead of up.
Counter this with a good old-fashioned analogue camera. Polaroid, disposable or even – gasp – digital, any will do. You don’t even need to invest in a big camera either – modern tech means you can get a camera that’s the same size, if not smaller, than your phone.
By snapping photos using an analogue camera, you’re less likely to spend your life behind a screen and more likely to treasure the photos. You’re also less likely to spend hours choosing the right hashtags and filters and more time appreciating the things around you. You’re also less likely to spend hours taking selfies, as you have no idea if any of them are good or not.
#5 Get rid of your least used one(s)
This step involves a lot of introspection. If you truly want to commit to taking your life back from social media – you should ask yourself what social media you truly use.
For example, if you’re the creative type, you’re bound to use Instagram and Pinterest regularly. But do you really need Twitter? If you don’t use it, or use it only occasionally, why not try deleting it? You can take a baby step first – just delete the app from your phone. If you find that you don’t miss it, take the next jump and delete your account.
If you’ve followed all our steps, congratulations, you’re now free! But what comes next? You might want to try these 3 easy steps to a digital detox, or our 7-day plan. Our digital detox retreats are also a fantastic way to take a short break from the constant connectivity of modern life and learn more about how digital detox incorporates many other aspects of wellness, such as mindfulness and self-care.