Does this routine sound familiar? You turn the lights off and crawl into bed at the end of an exhausting day, mentally and physically ready to collapse into sleep. Instead, you grab your phone to “check a few things,” the blue light shining into your face. Thirty minutes later, you finally set your alarm and plug in your phone inches from your head on the bedside table.
In the morning, it is the first thing you reach for. You get your initi dose of social media before your feet have even touched the floor, making the rounds through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat before getting out of bed. This trend continues throughout the day as you pick up your phone and scroll aimlessly in any moments of boredom, awkwardness, or nerves.
Though this scrolling may seem harmless, it is doing more damage than you realize, with little snippets of social media eating into your day, influencing your thinking, and harming your mental state. Here is why setting aside one hour each day (or none at all) for social media can change your life for the better.
You’ll have more time
Limiting your social media usage to a particular window of time, or designating an hour in the evenings to check your feeds will significantly increase the amount of time you have throughout the day to spend on other things. You will be amazed at how much a few minutes of scrolling here and there can start to add up and eat away at your precious time.
You’ll be more present
When you are constantly plugged into the picture-perfect idealistic vision of life that is represented on social media, you start to believe that your life isn’t good enough if it doesn’t look like those “influencers” that you follow. You start viewing moments of beauty and adventure as ways to get more likes and fail to live in the moment, simply trying to get the perfect picture or come up with just the right caption.
You’ll be more confident
Rarely does social media inspire you. Usually, it just makes you feel inadequate and self-conscious of your looks, your home, your parenting choices, or your social status. When you schedule an hour a day to check in with friends, get caught up with their lives, and browse for ideas, you can spend the rest of the time living your life rather than dreaming of the life you wish you had.
You’ll have more energy
It’s no secret that social media drains your time and energy. Yes, it does have its uses, and it can be a wonderful tool for staying connected, especially in this socially distanced world. However, it really does zap your energy and hamper productivity. Cutting back and restricting your time means that you’ll have more energy and mental space for the things you love and expressing your creativity.
Other tips for using social media wisely
Don’t be shy to unfollow and unfriend: If you notice that certain friends or accounts cause you stress or contribute to a negative experience on social media, don’t hesitate to use that unfollow button. Remember, if you want to stay friends with someone but don’t necessarily want to be exposed to their political rants or multi-level-marketing posts, simply put them on mute.
Consider a social media fast: Cutting out social media entirely may seem daunting, but the truth is, it can actually be incredibly freeing once you are able to kick the habit. In the first week, you will notice yourself reaching for your phone in your downtime and will have to check yourself and do something different. Eventually, though, you won’t even remember why you were so attached to it in the first place!
Use social media for yourself: Instead of curating your posts for likes, comments, or so that other people will have a favorable opinion of you, use this unique platform as a sort of digital journal. Post the pictures and memories that make you happy and follow the accounts that bring joy, not the ones that drag you down.
Use your extra time to rediscover your hobbies, read a book, spend time outdoors, make priceless memories with your loved ones and live a full, vibrant life that is wholly yours, not dependant on likes, comments, or so focused on “being perfect” that you forget that truly matters.