Social media isn’t going anywhere any time soon. In fact, worldwide, about 2.65 billion people use some kind of social media platform to connect with others. Many of those people are checking things like Instagram and Facebook from their smartphones. 59% of Americans have gone so far as to say they’re addicted to their phone. While that might not seem like a problem, smartphone addiction can cause everything from anxiety and depression, to insomnia and low self-esteem.
Speaking of low self-esteem and stress, there are more issues commonly associated with social media use. When you see pictures or posts online, it’s easy to compare yourself with others. When you post something of your own, you might even become anxious and begin craving the likes and the follows, leaving you reaching for your phone or checking your computer dozens of times each day.
While social media has so many benefits and practical uses that means you don’t necessarily need to go “cold turkey,” if you recognize that it’s causing some problems in your life, it might be time to develop some healthier digital habits.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can keep social media in your life without letting it consume you.
The Power Of Presence
If you really struggle with spending too much time on social media, one tactic to stop letting it control you is to use it as a business tool. This can be especially effective if you’re an influencer or someone with a lot of followers on social media. You can use it to promote your brand or business, certain products, or even to network with other professionals.
Think of your social media as a way to communicate with professionals, rather than personal contacts. That way, you’re less likely to invest so much of your mental and emotional health into it. If you have a business, social media can be a great customer service tool and a way to “humanize” your company, after all.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to land a job or get more attention to your professional accomplishments, use all of your social media platforms like a LinkedIn profile. Potential employers these days are often quick to look at your social media accounts to see who you really are before they decide to hire you. By focusing on the professionalism of your accounts, you might have a better chance of landing the job of your dreams.
Set Specific Times
Instead of cutting social media completely out of your day, why not just cut it out of specific parts of your day? The timeframe is completely up to you — maybe you want to commit to not checking your phone before lunch. Or, maybe it’s better for you to have several hours without social media before bed each night.
Over half of Americans check their social media accounts at least 10 times a day. By limiting the time period in which you have the option to check in on your feeds, that number can quickly go down. Plus, the more you get used to spending time without social media, the easier it can eventually be to add more time away from it.
Put A Limit On Your Notifications
When you hear your phone “ding” at your desk, the temptation to reach over and check it is almost too much for some people to ignore. An easy solution? Change your notification settings.
Social media is all about connecting with others, but that doesn’t mean following their every move. Most platforms allow you to receive notifications or alerts when certain people make a post, for example. A good rule of thumb is to turn those alerts off, which gives you the opportunity to scroll through your social media freely, on your time, without constantly having to look at what someone else shared.
You can absolutely still be friends with the person or account in question (both on social media and in-person), but that doesn’t mean you need to be notified every time they post a picture or have some kind of creative thought. The less often your phone “notifies” you of something, the less likely you are to reach for it.
Seeing The Good In Social Media
Again, there are plenty of benefits to using social media. Not only is giving it up cold turkey nearly impossible, but it may be impractical, depending on who you want to stay connected with, your job, etc.
Instead of giving it up completely, take some of the steps listed here to stop using it as your crutch. Follow and like things that interest you, talk with people you know online, and use it for networking if you’re interested in expanding your career.
It’s also okay to take a step back from social media, especially if you’ve started to notice that it’s causing issues in your life, your relationships, and even in your family. By taking some of these minor steps, you can make a big difference in what your social media addiction looks like.