If you get frustrated every time you go on Facebook, or if you find yourself getting into an argument when ever you log on to social media, it might be time to take a break. There are studies showing that social media use can lead to depression, low self-esteem, body image issues, anxiety, social isolation, and the list goes on. It can even perpetuate eating disorders and self-harm behaviors.
So while it is important to remember that it can also bring communities closer together, can be a great source for local information, and for general fun if used appropriately. Overuse might not be so great. Being away too much can also bring fear of missing out or FOMO. So if you don’t want to delete your social media pages entirely, there are ways to take breaks, either short of long term, that will help your mindset.
Here are some tips by Kristen Fuller, M.D.
Put your phone down and out of reach:
Firstly, is not always having your phone on hand. If you put it in another room it makes it much more difficult to follow through on the impulse to check it. This also helps you be more invested in the people around you. Out of sight, out of mind is a great way to detach from social media.
Set limits by tracking your social media time:
There are tons of apps out there that can track your social media time and help monitor and control how much time you spend on Facebook and Instagram. And if you can’t stick to the time limits you set yourself; there are even more apps that can set harder limits on your use.
Turn off notifications and set virtual boundaries:
Make sure you social media apps don’t send you notifications and certainly not audible ones. Then remove them from your phones desktop, make yourself have to work a little to open them up and they aren’t the first thing you see.
Set “phone free zones”:
Pick areas in your home where phones are not allowed. Maybe it’s the dinner table, or the kitchen, or the family room. Maybe it’s even the bedroom that you don’t allow phone use so it can’t interrupt your sleep.
Schedule “social media free days”:
Pick days where you just won’t go on social media, perhaps Saturday, or the whole weekend. These are days you actively decide not to check or engage in social media that can allow you more time socializing with others, working on your hobbies, or being productive.
If you get a Facebook notice that it’s a friends birthday, someone you know just got engaged, or has a baby on the way; don’t send a Facebook message, instead call them, send an actual letter, or go for a visit.
Delete social media apps from your phone:
If you just cannot make yourself stay off social media on your phone, you’re not alone. Many people cannot help themselves and you might need to step up your efforts and just delete the apps from your phone. You can still check in on your computer or by going to the website, but it will give you time to think twice about what you are doing and decide if it really is worth it in the moment.
These tips are not meant to keep you off social media entirely, as mentioned before there are positive elements to these things. But overuse can be harmful to you, your mental health, and your relationships with others. It’s good to have boundaries. Hopefully these help.