If you’ve been here for a while and live for my #techtuesday posts that shed light (and greatly needed instruction) on apps and tech that will make your life INFINITELY easier, this post might seem like a big departure.
But every once in awhile, even the most tech-addicted people need a break.
And before you think I wrote a whole blog post dedicated to the impossible, this is not the blog post telling you to quit social media. This is the blog post where I give you my top 5 tips you need to start doing now so social media doesn’t take over your life.
If you have a bit of a scrolling hangover and are constantly second-guessing your wonderfully flawed life while you hold it up against others’ curated and unrealistically edited versions on social, I’m talking to you!
relearning to Live
Comparing your life to someone’s curated depiction of the perfect moments of theirs is hazardous to your mental and emotional health. But we’ve all done it. Social media is supposed to connect us but left unchecked, often leads to feelings of isolation and sadness.
With the average smartphone user checking their phone 150 times a day—almost 10 times an hour—the addictive quality cannot be underplayed. A recent study of young adults who overused technology showed similar brain patterns as those addicted to alcohol and cocaine … yikes! Going “off the grid” and totally being without technology just isn’t an option for most (definitely not for me), but cutting back on your tech habits, and still being a functioning member of society, is absolutely doable.
So here are my top 5 tips that will help you experience a sense of freedom from your social media existence, provide a reset button, and have you appreciating and have you stepping fully into your wonderfully REAL life.
1) nonsocial mornings
Breaking that habit of rolling over and reaching for your phone first thing can be a hard thing to do. But starting your day differently, with intent, and away from social media is a game-changer. Be present with yourself, meditate, do breathing exercises, speak affirmations, and focus on yourself and how you’re feeling before jumping into the deluge of other people’s feelings. Focus on and spend time with your family and bettering your morning routine.
You may even want to try not getting on your phone until you’re out the door. There’s a chance to recalibrate, setting the tone of your day before being bombarded by the information superhighway once you’re out the door. And by doing this, you will undoubtedly have a more productive and relaxed day ahead of you. And if you find this challenge hard, charge your phone in another room the night before, to set you up for success.
2) slow your scroll
Don’t scroll just to scroll. Consciously choose to check your phone instead of just picking it up out of boredom, or when you need a fix to take you out of something that’s uncomfortable. Breathe through the urge, and stay with your feelings. Don’t use your phone as a buffer for living your life! Bringing awareness to how and why you use your phone will help put it back in its rightful place, re-adjusting its level of importance in the grand scheme. You can even turn this into a game. iOS on Apple tells you how many minutes you spend on your phone and where you spend that time each week. Challenge yourself to lower that number each week OR set a timer for yourself (maybe 5 increments of 30 minutes) and see if you can accomplish the necessary during that time!
And one other thing: you can delete any apps you compulsively check throughout your day that aren’t absolutely necessary. And if you find yourself “doing the sites,” and you have too many news or celebrity sources, pick your favorite and release the rest back into the internet ether. It doesn’t have to be one more job to get through in a day’s work. Streamline your feed and free up your precious time.
SHOP MY TECH ESSENTIALS
• • •
3) Invest in yourself and unfollow
You’ve got bank accounts or deposit boxes as a human being – the basics being mental, spiritual, physical, and financial. Every time someone says something to us, interacts with us, or we give time to on social media, a deposit is made or a withdrawal is made. Feeling good about you and the life you’re living is your number one priority. If following someone on social media continually gives you feelings of being less-than or any other less-than-positive feeling, unfollow! Same goes for people you follow who have consistently negative vibes … cut them loose! Safeguarding your serenity is everything. So next time you’re in scrolling mode, observe who rains on your parade and doesn’t add to your bottom line. You’re not obligated to continue to follow anyone who doesn’t make deposits into any of your bank accounts.
“If anyone or anything does not make regular deposits or help you maintain a healthy balance in your mental, spiritual, physical, or financial bank accounts, cut them loose.”
Curate your tribe. As you let go of those who trigger or propagate bad vibes, actively seek out those who uplift and up-level you. Make your scrollgame so strong that those you follow shift you into an even better version of yourself. Let your socials have an aspirational quality to them. When you put your phone down and re-engage in your life, you’ll have more tools, more inspiration, and an online community that is supporting you and is living their best life in the same ways you want to live yours.
4) Be Present
When you have those longer-than-normal moments of travel, bring that book you’ve been wanting to read. Fight the urge to go to your phone and skip the scroll altogether. Or give yourself permission to have downtime: watch the scenery, talk with your kids, close your eyes and think about your day.
Tobe Hanson has this to say about being present which I think is really insightful:
“If you feel anxiety or depression, you are not in the present. You are either anxiously projecting the future or depressed and stuck in the past. The only thing you have any control over is the present moment; simple breathing exercises can make us calm and present instantly.”
The urge to have to be entertained or “productive” often overtakes us and we compulsively feel the itch to pull our phones out, to log on. In these revealing moments, just observe how strong your bond to your phone has become. It’s your own magic portal that can take you out of the perfect present and into a downward spiral of anxiety and depression. Remember that life at its best is happening right in front of you, and by staring at that small screen, you might miss it. Take time, step back, and indulge.
5) Disconnect to Reconnect
Make a commitment to leave your phone at home (or on silent) at least once a day. I dislike it when I’m out to dinner with friends and they put their phones on the table, even face-down. And I feel as if they are subliminally sending the message, “I have someone more important than you I’m waiting to hear from.” It’s this that usually has me keeping my phone tucked away on social occasions, both out of courtesy to my dinner mates and also to draw that invisible line for myself so I can be present.
I even look for other times I can leave my phone behind! Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or a ride around my neighborhood on my anniversary present, it’s nice to be truly in the moment of whatever it is I’m doing. And because my kids are usually with me, it keeps my focus totally on them! It’s about unplugging in the small ways – deliberate moments of powering down.
And if you’re really wanting a challenge, try taking a weekend off. Maybe there’s no socials or work emails—no matter what. And plan your weekend of digital detox accordingly. Keep busy and get out there living life. Don’t worry about capturing any of the moments to upload for others. You then become all about your experience. Shift your focus from trying to filter it through someone else’s eyes for approval. You’ll be so much more available to what’s unfolding moment-to-moment without the pressure of documenting it.
• • • • • •
At the end of the day, I don’t believe phones or social media are the enemy. In fact, I feel like it’s added so much to my life! But staying ‘woke’ (as the kids say) and truly understanding our compulsion to be on it 24/7 is important. Try answering the following questions:
- Why do I need to be so reachable and available?
- How much more information do I need?
- Am I afraid of missing out on if I disconnect from time to time?
- What am I avoiding in my life that I feel like I always need to be connected to technology?
- What would I be doing for myself to grow and build a great life if I weren’t so tied to my devices?
Don’t let FOMO make you LOCO
There’s a big world out there and the internet is but a small piece of it. Don’t let FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) make you so crazy that you can’t put your phone down for a hot minute when that might just be what’s needed next for your overall well-being. A self-imposed tech intervention.
Because remember: Social media and your phone have their place in your life just like everything else. And keeping a balance, feeding those things in your life that require light, laughter, fun, engagement, education, compassion, self-awareness, and so much more, is the most important thing you can do. Disconnecting from the noise and reconnecting to yourself every now and then helps you take back ownership, create balance, and become more present in your living, breathing life.