I am an Instagram and Youtube junkie. Ironically, for as little as I post, it’s crazy how much time I spend on both apps. I’m not proud of this fact to be honest (to keep it ALL the way 100, while writing this post I’ve picked up my phone 5 times without a definite purpose). As someone who has prided herself in being unattached to my phone, I’ve developed unwanted and unsolicited devotion to my phone; namely Instagram.
In light of my growing need to make space between myself and the metal box that holds most of my life’s information, I’ve started implementing a few tactics to fight against the pull of social media addiction and to make my phone a tool again. Here are 4 very practical way to break a social media addiction.
- Take a break off social media one week each month. I’ve noticed social media is only important to me when I constantly consume it. After fasting from social media and youtube for a month, I realized I didn’t automatically go to it to fill my empty moments in life. I began writing or simply day dreamed. It would be difficult for most people to stay off social media completely since it is so interwoven into our work atmospheres and personal goals. So instead of cutting myself off cold turkey, I decided to take one week off each month. This requires me to plan ahead for the @posttwentyfive IG page and schedule automatic posts. But it was done wonders to keep the line of demarcation between connecting with the world and communicating with the people in my life.
- Switch up the placement of your apps often. Does anyone else find themselves unlocking their phone and entering Instagram or Facebook on autopilot? I definitely do. The best way to slow down down my automatic response is to change where I put my apps on my phone. Switching where my social media apps are tricks my brain out of my automatic muscle memory response patterns. When I notice the app I’m looking for is not there, it allows me to stop and reassess why I’ve picked up my phone.
- Make meeting with people a priority. Whether it be in person, over FaceTime, or meeting new people at a local hotspot or networking event. Put your phone aside, face down and listen to the person across from you. For me, I’ve noticed that I naturally isolate myself through social media. However even the act of going to a local coffee shop to write has disconnected me from the instant gratification of Instagram. Even better, if you’re able, spend quality time with someone you care about or someone you’d like to get to know. Make communion a priority.
- Turn off notifications. A few years ago, when I purchased my first apple phone, I immediately dowloaded all the cool apps at the time and turned on all the notifications. I didn’t know that the little banner notifying that someone was pleased with what I posted would become the fuel to drive me to my phone. Now, I’ve had all notifications for social media apps off for the last 3 years and I love it. I think a lot of us are desperate to be accepted and to be seen as valuable. That being said, the red notification bubble can quickly become the measure of our value among our friends and followers, even unintentionally. Turn those notifications off, use social media because you genuinely want to share regardless of the number of likes you receive.
Ultimately, I had to make the distinction between connecting with people and actually communicating with people. I had to choose to prioritize the latter. I had to cut myself off cold turkey form gaining the approval of others through the number of likes (which, by the way, there was never enough “likes” to actually fill me).
I challenge you: make your phone a tool you use not a ball and chain that uses you. It’s refreshing on this side. 🙂