The only diet you need in 2018: a social media diet
We all lead super full lives, there's no question about it. And maybe, there's a priority in your life that you'd like to spend more time on. Maybe it's your family, your partner, or your friends (or all of the above!). Maybe it's a hobby that you absolutely love but never have time to devote to. Or maybe it's a whole new activity- you'd like to take up yoga or sign up for a local art class. But you just never seem to have the time.
What if I told you, that you could literally increase the number of hours in the day? Just kidding. I'm not magic (my Hogwarts letter got lost in the owl post!). But what if I told you that you could gain hours a week of your life back and then devote those to one or many of these amazing priorities? You'd probably think that's crazy and can't be done. Your schedule is already full, and there's nothing more you can do. Trust me, I've been there too. And I'm sure I'll be there again, stuck in the time trap : )
In this post, I'd like to invite you to try out a social media diet in 2018 aka mindful use of social media and watch how it transforms your life! The intention is to reduce mindless social media use, and use these platforms only if they are bringing connection and happiness in that exact moment. And I think you'll find, as I have and MANY others have, that when we reduce mindless use we literally gain back hours of our lives and improve our health and happiness.
I can 1000% say that for me, this practice has changed my life. When I'm using social media mindfully, I have reduced: anxiety, comparisonitis (a term from my fave author Melissa Ambrosini meaning the icky feeling we get comparing ourselves to others), perfectionism, insomnia (gotta love reduced screen time for better sleep!), and feelings of loneliness or disconnection (crazy how the platforms that are supposed to bring us together can often make us feel completely alone). I connect deeper with everyone in my life because I don't (usually) feel the need to pick up my phone during a conversation or at a meal. And on top of all those benefits, I have more time to devote to everything else in my life that I actually WANT to do and I gain all of the benefits from this as well.
OK so hopefully I've convinced you. But now how do we actually DO it? Social media can be addictive, and remember that there are whole teams of people whose sole job is to make the use of these platforms addictive, so go easy on yourself. Here are my top 10 tips for your social media diet:
- Curate your feed. On any platform, consistently unfollow and unfriend any page that doesn't make you feel amazing. Even if you don't want to unfriend, you can often use a hide function. And no guilt on this- your feed should serve you, not the other way around.
- Turn off notifications for just about everything. Turn off push notifications so that you physically have to go and check notifications within an app. On IPhones, go to settings, then notifications, and you can toggle which apps you allow to send you push notifications. I get text message notifications (BUT I have the sound of these off, which has been life changing!!) and notifications from my banking app. Basically everything else has no push notifications for me and this has helped me tremendously.
- Delete apps and accounts all together. Check in with yourself- do you genuinely want to use all the social media platforms you use? If the answer is yes, go for it! But if the answer is you use them because you feel like you should, then delete any app or account you don't want.
- Delete the app on your phone or temporarily deactivate. If you're not ready to commit to fully deleting an account, or you want to use it sparingly, you can delete the app from your phone so you don't use it throughout the day. You can also temporarily deactivate most accounts (Kelly uses this for FB!) and then reactivate when you actually want to use it.
- Log out of your mobile apps and websites. This means every time you want to check your feed, you have to actually log in with your password. It will make you stop for a second and think for a second- and this is the key to mindfulness. You can even make your password a mindful phrase or something very long so you really have to think about typing it in.
- Track or even just view your time on mobile apps. On IPhones, go to settings then battery. Scroll down and you can see the battery use of each app. Over on the righthand side, click the clock icon. And look for "on screen" minutes. You can toggle back and forth between the last 24 hours and the last 7 days. Warning- this can be REALLY shocking. When you look at how much time you may have spent on an app in a week, it is super confronting. But awareness is truly the only way we make change. You could do something as simple as track your time on your go-to apps once a week using the 7 day count. And seeing it reduce over time can help motivate you because you'll see in real time how many hours you're gaining back. And if you have an off week where you use apps a lot mindlessly, you can think about why that might be and learn for the future.
- Make a list of all the things you'd love to have more time for. Post it somewhere you can see. Or even make it your phone background! Use it as motivation and gently remind yourself that reducing social media use means more time to live the life you want to live (instead of curating a perfect, but fake one).
- If you're tempted to check mindlessly, ask yourself why? Are you bored? Tired? Feeling down in the dumps? Craving connection? Whatever it is, let it come to you and think on what you really want to do in that moment for that feeling. If the answer you land on is you want to use social media, go for it! But if it's not a hell yes, it's a no. So if not, choose again and pick something that you truly want.
- Instead of saying "I don't have time for that", try saying "It's not a priority". I learned this again from the amazing Melissa Ambrosini. When I get caught up in saying I don't have time for something (which trust me, I still do all the time), if I catch myself I re-frame it. Saying that something is not a priority can bring you back to reality and thinking, well why ISN'T this a priority? At the end of the day, what we spend our time on IS our list of priorities.
- Accept that you will sometimes use mindlessly and that is OK. It's cool! No worries! Sometimes I fall off the wagon for months at a time. I can easily get stuck in feeling guilty over this, especially feeling like I'm wasting my life. But in the long term, I see that this is a concept I keep coming back to and that I'm going to get sidetracked. But each time I come back, I learn a little more about myself and my life too.
Social media is not the enemy, but the way we use it can be. I absolutely love social media in some ways- it helps me connect with family and friends and it helps me share things like this very blog!! But social media should work for you, not against you. In 2018, I hope you'll join me in mindful social media use!! In the comments on this post or on Facebook, I would LOVE to hear what you want to make more time for in 2018 or if you have an amazing tip on mindful social media use. My wish for all our readers this year is an abundance of time to do what we truly love in this life, and I know we can do it! XOXO.