How to wean yourself off social media this summer. Now is the time to take back control.

Bored? We didn’t think so. It’s second nature to mindlessly check social media every third minute before the boredom sets in. But is this healthy? Can you resist social media? Has your concentration waned? How is your general well-being? Is it time that you join the growing number of people going offline?

That mind-numbing scroll is a productivity nightmare. Time to take back control and curb that overriding urge to glance at your social media. Easier said than done.

The TED Talk by Cal Newport describes going on social media as like going to the casino. You anticipate getting likes and keep thinking you will get the reward next time. It’s addictive. It’s also destructive to your productivity. Social media is proven to be detrimental to your mental health, self-esteem and sleep habits.

See our top ten tips to help you wean yourself off social media. Spend less time looking at your phone and be in the real life moment instead!

1. Disable notifications


Cut out the noise (and the red dots on app icons that lure you into checking latest updates). Turn off everything that isn’t absolutely vital to your day-to-day life on your notification settings. Do you get overwhelmed by emails, texts, Whatsapps, Facebook alerts, Twitters, Snapchat, Slack and Instagram notifications? If it isn’t a direct message, coming from a real person, you should turn off its notification. It can wait.

2. Delete apps from your phone


We dare you to delete the app icon from your phone. That’s right, just quit Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter for a month, or longer. It’s the fastest way to stop you scrolling mindlessly whenever you have to wait for something. Or if you can’t face going cold turkey, switch off the social media sites on your phone and only use them on computer, rather than in real time. Or block yourself from using certain platforms during certain hours of the day.

3. Don’t be scared of FOMO


If you don’t know what you’re missing out on, the FOMO, or the ‘fear of missing out’ isn’t real. FOMO is synonymous with social media envy. By not looking at Instagram feeds or Snapchat videos, you stay one step away from events that you weren’t invited from. You won’t have that gut-wrenching sense of feeling left out, because you won’t be constantly reminded it went on.

4. Say Goodbye with a final post


‘Goodbye social media, I need a break from our relationship…’ By posting a public declaration to your followers, you are making it crystal clear that you do plan to quit social media; now there’s no backing down on your intentions. Making this announcement also tells people to reach you by text or email so they don’t think you’ve just disappeared off the face of this earth.

5. Track the time you spend online


You may be shocked, or even disgusted, to realize how much time you spend on social media when you track your daily online behaviour. Screen Time, a feature on iPhones, lets you track your screen time and app usage and also schedule limits and ‘downtime’ away from certain apps and alerts. For Androids, use Google’s Digital Wellbeing app which breaks down your app usage and shows how often you’ve unlocked your phone.

6. Accept boredom


Often it is boredom that prompts you to check your phone. You’re in a queue, you’re waiting for your bus, you woke up, you’re about to go to sleep… There are always going to be times, and reasons when you get antsy and want a little social network notification to inform you of what’s going on. Instead of reaching for a quick fix on your phone, embrace the boredom, allow yourself to be bored and not continuously stimulated. You may just find you feel better for it.

Distract yourself and embrace the real world by picking up a hobby or sport that got forgotten while you were brainwashed into a social media addiction.

7. Disable your account


There’s a wonderful finality in permanently disabling a social media account. There is also no backing out after this one!

8. Download other apps


You can still get the fix of looking at your phone without browsing social media. Download other apps, book reviews, news apps or TV shows that will occupy your mind if you feel the urge to look at your phone.

9. Embrace a sense of mystery


If you successfully sign out of your social media accounts, you will join that rare breed of people who live a life where people can’t virtually follow you or know what you’re up to. Embrace the mysterious allure behind someone who doesn’t feel the need to shout about every going on in their life. Nobody can online stalk you. It’s real life.

10. Set your phone to black and white


Turing your phone to black and white, using grayscale, may well change the way that you interact with tech and social media. The ‘colourful icons give our brains shiny reward every time we unlock,’ according to CHT (the Center for Humane Technology). When social media images are only in black and white, their addictive, distracting element is less intense and loud.

11. Stop using your phone as an alarm clock


Very simple. Leave your phone downstairs when you go to bed at night. Out of sight, out of mind. Get yourself a separate alarm clock to resist the urge of keeping your phone charging on your bedside table.

June 2019

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