Do you feel stressed, angry, or anxious while you scroll through your social media? And somehow, you’re just unable to unplug yourself?
You are not alone.
84% of smartphone users claim they can’t spend a day without their phone.
And although there are undeniable benefits to using your phone, studies have found there is a correlation between social media usage and the prevalence of mental health problems in teens and young adults.
In other words, your current relationship with your phone is kind of a TOXIC relationship.
And as with any toxic relationship, it can be quite hard to stop.
But don’t panic just yet! I’ll be sharing some tips about how to deal with your phone addiction and what to do instead of looking at your phone the whole time.
How to Unplug from Social Media When You Can’t Take it Anymore
How to know if you need a break
Screen addiction or phone addiction is not something you can easily become aware of.
You might think you are in the safe zone, but you’ve probably are addicted to your phone if any of these scenarios apply to you:
- you reach for your phone as soon as you wake up
- when your phone battery dies, and you realize you left your charger at home you ask someone for a charger or you go buy a new one even if you have thousands at home
- you can’t put your phone away while you are in a social environment
If you are trying to find excuses for any of these behaviors as you read this, then you are probably addicted to your phone.
Why you should disconnect yourself…
Sometimes, the negative effects of social media and overall screen time, outweigh its benefits.
Taking a break from your phone gives you the opportunity to focus on yourself and to invest your time in other activities that will help you grow and improve yourself.
Some of the benefits from unplugging and taking a break from social media are:
Social media and mental health
Doesn’t it happen that after you spend an hour scrolling on social media, you suddenly feel sad, stressed, anxious, or angry?
Well, that is because social media is home to hate comments, fake people, unasked opinions, and sensationalistic news.
All of it combined together can leave you feeling mentally exhausted.
Imagine if you repeat those scrolling sessions 3 or 4 times a day.
Use your time on things that are worth it
Your time is precious.
And your phone consumes way too much of it.
Unplugging from your phone allows you to prioritize other things in your life like self-care, your goals, contact with nature, and so on.
Live your life without worrying about likes
Are you aware of how horrible it is to live a life trying to fit everyone’s expectations?
Social media constantly promotes a culture of seeking people’s validation.
This often produces anxiety, self-esteem, and confidence problems.
When you unplug, you allow yourself to enjoy the privacy of your own.
Increase your gratefulness
Either because people boast on social media or because you are looking at them with jealousy, it is hard to be grateful when you are constantly looking at other’s lifestyles.
In fact, when you are taking as a reference other people who are apparently more wealthy than you, you can’t see your own achievements.
Taking time off social media is an easy way to focus on what you DO have and what you CAN DO.
Thinking you’ll be happier when you have more of something is a mistake.
If you are ungrateful with what you have, you’ll be feeling the same regardless of how much you achieve.
Stop comparing to others
Have you ever been watching someone’s picture on social media, and suddenly felt frustrated with your own life? Just because you are not in the same place as that person?
Everyone’s path is different. You don’t need to be a millionaire by 30 or have traveled the world by 25.
And no, you aren’t lagging behind.
Taking a social media break helps you to stop comparing yourself with others and to focus on your own goals.
Learn to be alone
You might be afraid of being lonely. But there will be times in life when you will need to be alone.
When you are on your phone all the time, you get used to being in contact with other people.
As a consequence, you feel anxious when you can’t use it.
By doing a social media detox, you allow yourself to embrace your alone time and to turn it into a “you” time.
Your smartphone is your biggest time waster.
The average person spends 3 hours daily on social media!
And that is only the average people.
Although being connected and hearing the news is a benefit, there is no denying that getting carried away leads to hours of scrolling in social media.
Unplugging from your phone is a great way to avoid the greatest time-waster: social media.
How to control your screen time and do a social media detox
Understand your habits and set your mindset
The first step after accepting you have a problem is understanding the depth of it. Basically, you are going to audit your social media and your screen time.
Track your screen time. You might prefer paper since the purpose is to get off the screen, but you can also use habit tracking apps like Habitify.
You can use this same app to make the notes. Otherwise, you can use a bullet journal or a digital file to record the answer to these questions:
- when do you use your phone?
- how long do you use it?
- how do you use it (is it for messaging, social media, phone calls, email)?
- are you using social media? Which one (s)?
- how do you feel when you use it? Which are the social media effects on you?
- were you looking at something specific or were you just scrolling mindlessly?
After tracking your activity for one week establish your new social media goals.
- understand your why: Why do you want to change your habits?
- is there anything behind your dependency on social media you need to address? Like: do you have trouble being alone? Feeling rejected or feeling failed? Are you a people pleaser and therefore you are always looking for other’s validation?
- do you believe social media is bad for you?
- what do you want to do with that time instead?
Write everything down. Be honest with yourself and set clear intentions.
Write it all down until you have a clear perspective about your strengths and your weaknesses.
Now, it is time to get to work.
Make a plan to unplug yourself
After understanding everything about your phone addiction, it is time to reduce your screen time and unplug from your phone.
For doing so, you must:
Set times for social media
Set a specific hour during the day to visit social media.
It is best not to do it too early in the morning or too late at night since it might ruin your day or your sleep.
How many times have you gone to sleep upset because of something you saw on social media?
Your social media time shouldn’t disrupt your morning vibes or your good night’s sleep.
Establish screen limits
It is easy to get carried away.
If every time your favorite influencer uploads a photo, your phone beeps, you’ll be more tempted to check it.
Use the settings in your apps to turn off notifications.
Leave only the important ones like your mom’s chat notifications.
Unplug your mornings
Are you one of those people that as soon as they open their eyes, they start scrolling?
Quit it right now.
Take a few seconds to breathe, to feel the sun through your window, and to be thankful because you are alive and a meteor didn’t crash your house during the night.
Implement a mindful morning routine. After all, your phone can wait.
Visit the site My Morning Routine to find some inspiration.
You should take breaks from screen time every day to avoid the negative effects of social media.
However, you should also take longer breaks every once in a while.
For example, you can turn off your phone for a weekend or go to a place where you don’t have reception.
Unfollow what makes you feel down
Honestly, open your list of friends or people you are following and make it burn!
Toxic person? Delete!
Superficial ignorant influencer? Delete!
Your feed should only educate you or make you happy. There is already enough drama in the outside world.
Turn off your phone
If you are too tempted, just turn off your phone and put it away.
Stop giving catastrophic scenarios in which your mother dies as an excuse to keep your phone on you ALWAYS.
Bad news will reach you even if you have your phone off.
Other things to do to unplug from your phone
Take a walk into nature
Nature recharges you. Look for a local park or a hiking spot and adventure out there.
Vitamin D is important for physical and mental health.
And honestly, walking will do you some good too.
If you are not sure where to go to unplug yourself, you can type in Google “parks near me” and that should give you options.
Listen to a podcast
From TedTalks to history podcasts, there is a podcast for every taste!
Listen for something that feeds your mind or soul.
Rest your eyes as you put your phone aside and use your ears instead.
You don’t necessarily have to do yoga to disconnect yourself from the digital world. There are different forms to meditate.
Le it be either by doing yoga, listening to music, or praying. The point is to take some time to slow down.
Let your senses rest from all the overstimulation you get from your phone.
You might disagree with me, but reading is fun.
And I don’t mean just reading a teen novel. I mean reading in general. Make sure to find a book or an article of your taste.
Read at least 30 minutes a day and make yourself smarter, exercise your brain, and disconnect from your phone all at once.
Go out with a friend
Meeting a friend is a great excuse to unplug!
Go to the movies or to the gym and make sure to turn off your phone and keep it away.
Have a real conversation without the need to take out your phone.
Do something for someone
If you don’t find what to do during your free time, you can always volunteer.
Find a local non-profit organization and spend some days a week volunteering.
And no, you don’t need to make it public in social media.
Keep it to yourself and enjoy the experience of doing something for someone else, while you do a social media detox.
A great website to find places to volunteer or internships in your area of expertise is Idealist.
Up to You! Unplug yourself…
Trying to unplug yourself in a world that is constantly connected can be a great challenge.
There are countless benefits to social media if you use it correctly.
However, your phone and social media addiction can quickly become harmful for your mental health and your wellness if it’s not managed properly.
For such reason, you should make a plan to limit your screen time.
Moreover, you can engage in other activities like going out for a walk, listening to a podcast, or reading a book.
You’ll be happier and healthier!
How else do you unplug yourself? Let me know in the comments!