Social media addiction is real. Just like addiction to junk food, we consume social media because it makes us feel good. But this positive effect lasts only a short while, so we crave it again and more. Eventually, we lose sleep, productivity, self-assurance and even real life friends from all the time we spend mindlessly scrolling through feeds.
A little bit of social media can no doubt enhance relationships and keep us informed. However, when you start curating your memories so that you can tweet or post on Instagram about them, then it might be time for a detox.
Keep your gadgets out of reach
Your phone is not a part of your hand, so put it down. It’s not your identity, so remove it from your ID lanyard. Leave your phone in another room or lock it in a drawer as you sleep, eat and work. When you can see it blinking out of the corner of your eye or vibrating in your pocket, then it’s a lot harder to forget.
Turn off notifications
Most social media users have developed high levels of FoMO (fear of missing out). Do you really need to know—in real time—every “like” you get? What’s so wrong with seeing a post 18 hours after it has been uploaded? Most updates don’t really affect you in a significant way, so there’s no need to get beeps for every one of them.
Document your life offline
Some people argue that social media is crucial in preserving memories. When you’re on the detox, you can still take photos and write about your life, but just stop short of sharing them to the world. Some memories are also best left offline. Do you remember your Friendster?
Set a schedule
“No eating after 7 PM” is a diet trick that you can also use on your social media detox. It’s effective because you’re not being completely deprived. You don’t have to be totally disconnected. Just set a schedule for when you can go through your accounts. You can also use productivity apps like Focus Lock to block you from using apps for a period of time.
Get locked out
If you’re ready for a longer fasting period, then forget your password. Have someone you trust change the passwords for all your social media accounts so you can’t access them. Get him or her to unlock your accounts on your agreed date.
Delete your apps
When you’re ready to take the long-term commitment, then delete the apps from your life. You can just start with one, and if that feels fine, then proceed to cutting the rest out. This might not work for everybody, but it can be done, and without turning into someone old-fashioned, clueless and anti-social.