Let’s be honest here. Who spends too much time on social media? I am willing to bet, that it would do all of us some good to spend less time on your phone and on social media. Let me give you 5 easy and simple ways to spend less time on social media.
Every single one of us probably spend hours on our phone every day. Maybe not at all once. However, let’s say that you spend 10 minutes on your phone and social media when you wake up. Then you go through your social media again, when you are eating breakfast.
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Do you take the bus or train to work or school? You might either spend time on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest or you are listening to music, podcasts, etc.
Do you have a 5-minute coffee break around 10 am? And did you check your Facebook for updates? Then in your lunch break, you might check your social media again, while you are eating your lunch.
It just goes on from here. This will add up to all of us spending too much time on our phones.
Using your phone and social media too much, can actually be dangerous to your mental health. Especially if you have anxiety, depression or stress.
Social media can make you more anxious
Studies have found that using social media for more than two hours a day, has been linked with an increased risk of mental health problems.
Social media can have their benefits of course if you run a business, but using them too often, can make you feel unhappy and isolated.
Social media can negatively affect your:
When you are scrolling through those perfect bikini beach pictures or food pictures on Instagram, you will automatically start comparing yourself to all of these people.
We tend to compare ourselves to others on Facebook status and Instagram pictures, but it can be extremely dangerous to your self-esteem.
As we spend more time on our phones, we spend less time with our friends. I have even noticed that teenagers in groups, spend time on their phones instead of talking to each other when they are actually hanging out. I think this is so sad.
Many people use their phones right before they close their eyes. I admit I have been guilty of this too. But I have also learned, that using my phone right before bed can impact my sleep patterns.
The blue light from your phone will keep your brain activated as if it were daylight outside, and it will make it almost impossible to fall asleep.
Learn more about why sleep matters in this article: Sleep 101: how sleep affects your mental health.
So, what can you do to spend less time on your phone and social media? I know it can be difficult, but it will certainly benefit you in the long run. Trust me on this.
Sometimes I have found myself scrolling through Facebook or Instagram for 15 minutes after checking just 1 notification. Can anyone else relate to this? It’s extremely easy to get sucked into this online world.
Your first step should be to turn off notifications from all of your social media profiles: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Messenger, and you name it. This way it will make it less tempting to check your phone every second.
You can also turn off audio sound for these notifications by muting your phone.
Step 2: Find out exactly how much time you spend on your phone
When you find out exactly how much time you are spending on social media, it can literally shock you into reducing your phone time. Finding out that you have spent almost 4 hours on your social media profiles can be a scary thought.
You can use different apps for this: QualityTime for Android and Moment for iOS can monitor exactly how many minutes and hours you spend on various social media platforms.
They will also allow you to set alerts to remind you that you are using your phone too much. That’s pretty neat, I think.
Step 3: Set up some phone-free time every day
Honestly, you DON’T need to use your phone at the dinner table, in the bathroom or while you are watching a movie. I know it can be hard to break your bad habits, but try scheduling some phone-free time into your day.
In the morning I don’t use my phone for 1 hour after I wake up. I don’t check my social media when I have just woken up. Instead, I spend my time doing morning pages, meditating, do some light yoga exercises and getting ready.
Learn more about my anti-anxiety morning routine.
I also turn off all my social media and electronics 1,5 hour before I go to bed every night. The blue light from your electronics will keep your brain activated and make it harder for you to fall asleep.
However, if you turn off your electronics 2-1,5 hours before bed, you will fall asleep faster.
Find out how you can reduce anxiety with my relaxing and soothing bedtime rituals.
Step 4: DO NOT use your phone as an alarm clock!
Even using your phone as an alarm clock can be bad for your mental health. I tend to put my phone in the living room, so I won’t be disturbed during the night.
By removing your phone completely from your bedroom, you can also avoid being tempted to check your phone right before bed.
How many of you check your phones once you have set your alarm for the next morning? And again, once you have turned your alarm off in the morning, do you check your phone again? Do not take your phone into your bedroom.
Instead, you should use an actual alarm clock. Personally, I use the Phillips Wake-Up Light alarm clock with a natural sunrise simulation. This alarm clock gradually changes the color and brightness from a dark red to bright yellow before the alarm goes off.
Step 5: Train yourself to do actual “tech breaks”
The last thing you can do is train yourself to take actual “tech breaks”. It’s a pretty easy concept, but it will take some convincing yourself to do this, as using your phone is now a habit. This is a habit you need to break.
In order to break this habit, you can start by checking your phone for 5 minutes. You check all forms of communication and social media, as well as texts and calls. Then you turn this off and set an alarm for 20 minutes. You place your phone face down and you distract yourself for 20 minutes doing something else. You can read, clean, do laundry, etc. to stop yourself from reaching for your phone.
Once your alarm goes off you can check your phone again for 5 minutes. You keep doing this until it feels natural. Every week you increase your off time with 5 minutes.
How do you take “tech breaks” and spend less time on your phone? Let me know in the comments below…
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You can check out these websites for more information:
- Edition.cnn.com – social media and mental health in teenagers
- Businessgrow.com – social media and mental health