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How To Distract Yourself From Social Media

Its true – social media can be useful for a variety of purposes (connecting with old friends, sharing news, and staying up-to-date with current events). I even received a wedding invite on Facebook once! However, it can also have a negative impact on our mental health.

Woman on phone and on computer

Sometimes, it’s important to take a break from social media. I understand, it’s pretty difficult to do considering we’re all pretty much addicted to it. However, if you find social media is affecting your mental health negatively, it’s probably time to take a step back.

Here are five signs that you might need a social media detox:

  1. Social media is affecting your sleep quality

If you find yourself staying up late at night scrolling through your timeline or constantly checking for new notifications, it’s time to take a break. Social media can affect our sleep quality by causing us to stay up later than we should be. The blue light from screens can also suppress our melatonin levels, making it harder for us to fall asleep. Try making a hot cup of chamomile tea and reading a good fiction book before bed. You may even notice that you wake up in a much better mood!

  1. Social media is causing you anxiety

If social media is causing you anxiety, it may be time to set the phone aside for a bit. Checking your phone constantly to see if you’ve received any new likes, comments, or messages can be extremely anxiety-inducing. Social media can also lead to FOMO (fear of missing out), which can cause anxiety and depression. You may get yourself all worked up over something that’s not even worth your time and energy. Instead of checking your phone, try spending time with loved ones or doing something you enjoy.

  1. Social media is causing you to compare yourself to others

Social media can be a breeding ground for jealousy and self-comparison. Remember, people only share the highlight reel of their lives on social media, so don’t compare your life to someone else’s highlight reel. Social media can be a major source of comparison and self-criticism, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. It’s easy for us to scroll through beautiful feeds and find ourselves triggered with envy. There are plenty of things to be grateful for daily, and social media is a distraction from real life.

  1. Social media is affecting your work or school performance

If you find that you’re spending more time on social media than you are on your work or schoolwork, it’s time to take a break. Social media can be very distracting, and it can affect our ability to focus on tasks that are important to us. If you find your productivity suffering because of social media, it may be time for a detox.

Woman scrolling on cellphone

How To Distract And Limit Yourself From Social Media

1. Set a timer

One of the easiest ways to limit your social media consumption is to set a timer for how long you allow yourself to be on each site. Once the timer goes off, close the app or tab and move on to something else. You can use the built-in timer on your phone. However, this method requires some discipline. If you find yourself constantly going over your allotted time, it may be time to try something else.

2. Take breaks throughout the day

Instead of sitting down and mindlessly scrolling through your feed for hours at a time, take breaks throughout the day to check in on social media. For instance, you could allow yourself to check Twitter for five minutes every hour. This way, you’re not completely cutting yourself off from social media, but you’re also not letting it consume your entire day. Having scheduled times to check social media can help you be more mindful of your usage.

3. Unfollow or mute people and brands

If you find that certain people or brands always seem to clog up your feed with content you don’t care about, unfollow or mute them. This way, you won’t have to see their posts anymore and you can focus on the content that interest you. The same goes for any accounts that make you feel bad about yourself. It’s important to curate your feed in a way that makes you happy.

4. Use an app to limit your usage

If you need a little extra help staying off social media, there are several apps that can help. For example, Offtime and Freedom allow you to block certain apps and websites so you can’t access them during certain periods of time. This is a great method if you are trying to focus on work or school and don’t want to be distracted by social media.

Social Media Distraction Apps

  • Offtime – Extremely customizable and simple to use.
  • Freedom – Helps improve productivity by allowing you to block distracting websites and apps. You can also schedule it to run at specific times. Paid and free options are available.
  • Stay Free – Uses nifty graphs to monitor your social media usage.
  • App Detox – Track your app usage and also schedule specific times to take breaks.
Woman holding cellphone

5. Find something else to do

If you find yourself getting bored and reaching for your phone out of habit, try to find something else to do. Go for a walk, call a friend, journal, or read a book. Doing something else can help take your mind off social media and give you a much-needed break.

6. Delete the app from your phone

If you really can’t seem to stay away from social media, delete the app from your phone. This way, you won’t be able to access it at all unless you go out of your way to find it. This is a drastic measure, but it may be what you need to kick your social media habit.

7. Plan a social media vacation

If you find that you’re really struggling to stay off social media, consider taking a social media vacation. This means temporarily deleting your accounts or taking a break from them for a certain period. This can be a great way to reset your relationship with social media and help you focus on the things that are truly important to you. You can set the vacation in advance and even let your friends and family know ahead of time so they aren’t worried about you.

8. Do something else at the same time

Another technique for staying off social media is to find something else to do at the same time. For example, if you’re on your phone scrolling through Twitter, listen to a podcast at the same time. This way, you’re still getting some enjoyment out of the time you’re spending on social media, but your focus will also be on something else.

Woman sitting in chair and looking at cellphone

Although social media can be a great way to connect with friends and family, it is also important to take a step back every now and then. Spending too much time on social media can have negative consequences for both our mental and physical health.

It’s important to find a healthy balance between using social media and interacting with the people around us in person. Have you found that social media has had any negative effects on your life? How do you strike the right balance between online and offline interactions?