You wake up in the morning and reach for your phone. Your alarm has rung for the third time on snooze. Yet, before taking a shower and the mindless rush to work, you find yourself scrolling through Instagram. Your social media feeds follow you everywhere – the elevator, market and of course, the bathroom! #Sigh.
Before you think I’m sounding judgy, let me quickly say that social media is great. I really think it is. It is a wonderful tool for connecting with others, especially in this stay-on-your-lane era. However, how it is used is very important. And it can become problematic and even addictive. If you doubt me, think of all the times you are on WhatsApp during service or work meetings. My sister, the thing can be a problem.
Studies have shown that social media is linked to dopamine, which is a neurochemical in the brain that causes desire and pleasure and the like. Social media provides instant gratification in that moment which causes a spike in dopamine. Unfortunately, the feeling of that pleasure disappears quite quickly after
What I’m saying is that, as great as social media is, it should be used in moderation and with discipline. If like many of us you are struggling to find a balance with your use of social media, here are a few strategies to help.
Turn off your notifications
Apart from the fact that notifications drain your battery, this is a great way to avoid being sucked into the wormhole that is social media. A notification can pop up on your phone and before you know it 20 minutes later, you’re on some random person’s Twitter feed or Instastories and wondering what in the world you’re doing there. If nothing is notifying you about what’s going on in the social media world, you’ll find that you’re a little less tempted to keep checking.
Take intermittent breaks
Believe it or not, the world will still revolve perfectly if you go off Whatsapp for a bit. Especially when you find that it’s slowly becoming an addiction. You’ll actually be amazed at the peace you’ll have. The people that really need to reach you will know exactly how to reach you. Phone calls, emails, and text are still very efficient ways of communicating.
Wean yourself off slowly
Not everyone can go cold turkey and just cut out social media from their lives completely. So, if this is you, wean yourself off slowly. You can use Screen time apps to show you how much time you’ve spent on social media in a week. Sometimes seeing first hand how much of your life you give away to mindless scrolling can cause you to sit up. So give your self social media time or social media breaks in a day and time goes on, slowly reduce the time to what you’re comfortable with. As with anything else, this requires discipline, when you’re time is up, put your phone away.
Go cold turkey
I have taken 6 months off Instagram in the past. I deleted the app and I found that after my social media addiction kicked in and I re-installed once or twice, I couldn’t be bothered with the stress of re-installing every time and I just let it go. It’s interesting when you take away what you thought you need to remain sane and find that you actually don’t need it all and you’re doing great without it. I thoroughly enjoyed those six months off social media, it killed my addiction and I would recommend it to anyone.
What other ways do you think one can overcome their social media addiction?