In this day and age, freeing yourself from the grips of social media (be it Facebook, Twitter, or Tik Tok) is pretty much impossible. But that doesn't mean that you should give up on figuring out how to build a healthy – or, at the very least, healthier – relationship with social media. Ironically, overusing social media can have you finding yourself feeling more disconnected and isolated. This is especially true if you’re already dealing with self-esteem, anxiety, and depression issues.
So, if you’ve been feeling a little sick of social media … yet, for some reason, can’t seem to log off (pun intended!)? Give this article a thorough once-over. Make use of the cheapest forms of self-care possible: saying goodbye to doom-scrolling.
Become more intentional about your usage
Dig deep into the reasons why you're using social media. What do you get out of the experience? Write this down somewhere – you're going to see why in a bit. This list can include both positive and negative things. It'd also be good for you to come up with a different list for each platform, given that each offers a different experience from the other. An example list for Facebook might look something like this:
- Positive things: Connecting with international friends; staying up-to-date with the latest news; catching up with old friends; opportunities for professional networking; your daily dose of humour
- Negative things: Getting caught in ugly exchanges; experiencing jealousy (sometimes) when seeing a ‘friend’s’ success; feeling fear of missing out (FOMO)
The process is undoubtedly going to take quite a bit of time. But it's all worth the effort. Because it's after you've identified – exactly – how social media is serving you that you can start to re-define your experience.
What does that mean? Let’s say you feel the best about your Facebook experience when you focus on connecting with international friends. Then make sure you only use your Facebook account for that specific purpose. This goes for every single social media platform you’re on; make sure your usage is doing you good – instead of battering your emotional health. Bonus: this tip will also do wonders for your productivity!
Set boundaries – and stick to them
Now that you're securely back in the power seat … it's time to set more boundaries. Doing so will better enable you to stick to using social media for what you need it for: only the positive things. There are 2 main types of boundaries you can set.
The first is something called the ‘time boundary’. You can either choose to put time limits on yourself for how much total time you spend on social media daily – or it can also look like deciding when your designated ‘social media time’ is. For instance, only during breakfast and after dinner. The second is something called a 'space boundary'. This is where you make certain places off-limits to social media, such as your bedroom, the dinner table, or even your parents'.
Take scheduled social media breaks every so often
Unfortunately, social media can sometimes feel like that toxic ex you can’t quite seem to shake. Whenever you start to feel the roots of addiction start burrowing, it might be a good idea to take a social media break. Temporarily deactivate your social media accounts. Maybe even delete the apps from your phone. You could do this for a few days, weeks, months, or even an entire year – do what makes the most sense to you.
Don't get us wrong. Social media is still an excellent tool for connecting with friends and family. But you must ensure that your usage doesn't come at the expense of in-person interactions and real-life activities (e.g. working out, taking care of your nutrition, having meals with friends and family, drinking our delicious superfood-infused coffee). And how can you do that? By taking the first steps toward building a healthier relationship with social media.