Social media platforms have their pros and cons, and while they can be helpful and entertaining, sometimes we simply need to take a break from the endless scrolling and get present with the life that’s in front of us. If you’re looking for ways to stop wasting time on social media, you’ll learn how here.
The average American spends approximately two hours on social media sites daily—more than two full days a month. With the advent of the internet, the way we connect has radically transformed in the last decade. Maryville University describes social media as a way for users to interact with one another through text posts, photographs, and videos.
Through “likes” and comments, users of social media websites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can create conversations revolving around topics such as pop culture, sports, news, politics, and daily personal events. Social media has become so popular that almost 70% of adults in the United States use Facebook, one of the largest social media websites in the world.
Indeed, social media is a powerful tool for connecting with people, but sometimes it can be more trouble than it’s worth. The problem comes when people spend too much time on it, making them feel overstimulated and disconnected from their real lives. Let’s discuss how to know it’s time for a social media break, and how to set those boundaries.
1. Watch out for signs that you need to take a break
It’s easy to get sucked into the black hole of social media. You might spend more time than you intended on your feed, and suddenly an hour has passed without you having done anything else. Here are some signs you can watch out for to indicate that it’s time to step away:
- You’re constantly scrolling through posts without reading them or clicking on anything;
- You’ve stopped interacting with people in real life as much as you used to because you prefer online interactions instead; and
- Your eyes start to hurt, your mind starts to wander, and you don’t remember what you’ve been looking at five minutes ago.
The constant stream of social media websites can be addicting, and their algorithms are formulated to be that way. By being aware of these signs, you can exercise self-control to manage your use and limit the time you spend lurking on these apps on your phone or computer.
2. Set specific boundaries for yourself
Our blog post about “How to Manage Your Time Effectively” emphasizes how important it is to define your priorities. Listing down the top three things you would like to accomplish each day should set the tone for the less essential aspects, such as social media use.
This will let you focus your time and energy on the tasks that will benefit you the most in the long run. Even though it’s tempting to spend hours scrolling through your Instagram feed, setting boundaries for yourself can let you limit your social media use. Here are three ways you can do so:
- Turn off notifications from your phone and computers;
- Limit your use of social media to specific times of day; and
- Set app time limits for yourself by using parental controls on your phone.
3. Reflect on how it impacts your self-image
Social media affects our mental health much more than we think. The Conversation reports that the more time people spend on Facebook and Instagram, the more they compare themselves to others.
Researchers from the National University of Singapore attribute this to the fact that people on social media always have their best foot forward, presenting only positive information about themselves. Using social media extensively exposes us to images of more attractive, successful, and popular people than us.
This is why you need to take proactive measures to protect the way you see yourself. You can minimize the impact of social media on your self-image by:
- Jotting down how you perceive yourself after a session of using social media
- Unfollowing accounts that don’t make you feel good
- Finding supportive communities and body-positive online groups
When you do decide to spend time on social media again, you can take steps to make sure it’s worth your time and attention. By using features like targeted search, you can curate your feed and control the content you consume.
Even though social media seems like a non-negotiable constant in our daily lives, we can definitely take control of how we use and benefit from it.
Specially written for APointOfLight.co
By: Raine Jolene