The Royal Society of Public Health has found that social media is more addictive than alcohol and smoking.
Using social media for more than 2 hours a day is associated with poor self rating of mental health, increased levels of psychological distress and suicidal ideation.
Many of us are becoming more aware these days about the effect social media can have on our mental health. But where do you start when trying to take some control over the amount of time you spend on these apps that have become such a part of everyday life? I have 5 tips for you to try that can help you cut down on the time you spend scrolling on social media, keep reading!
1 – Set up timers, track your usage on your phone to limit time on social media apps
Our phones these days often have inbuilt apps that help you monitor the time you spend on your phone and can even break it down app by app. The first time you access this info can be a shock as I am sure most of us spend more time than we realise on social media.
Most phones also have settings that will make certain apps unable to be accessed at certain times and this can be really helpful to limit the time you spend on social media. You may choose to turn off social media apps at certain times of the day – perhaps for a couple of hours before you go to bed – or you can set a time limit and once that time is reached, you will be unable to access the apps again that day.
2 – Get a watch
We often pick up our phone just to check the time and then end up mindlessly scrolling. One way to stop this behaviour is to get a watch! By not needing to pick up our phone to check the time, it also helps lower the time we spend on social media.
3 – Turn off notifications
I found this really helpful as my phone was constantly beeping and buzzing with notifications and this would lead me to check and see what was happening. Instead, I can choose a time to go on and will then go through my notifications, replying to comments and messages as needed.
4 – Set boundaries eg. no phones at meal times
I am sure parents whose kids have phones are used to setting rules such as no phones at mealtimes. This applies to adults too!
5 – Stop using your social media before bed and first thing in the morning
I used to have a timer which turned off social media at 9pm, so I would have time to go on after the boy’s went to bed, but it would not interrupt my bedtime routine. As I have had a new phone recently I haven’t set this back up, but I am now in the habit of not using it before bed and will instead watch some TV and then read my book. Not only is this helping my mental health, it is also ensuring I have a much better sleep too.
I used to also spend a long time in the morning after waking up on my phone in bed, but now, I check for messages and emails and then get myself up. I will then check on social media while I make my cuppa. This has really helped me make a better start to the day and I feel much more awake and refreshed doing it this way, as well as it reducing the time I spend mindlessly scrolling. I think the fact I am sleeping better due to not using my phone before bed also makes this easier, as I wake up feeling more rested than I did before.
They say it takes 21 days to make a new habit, so if you implement some of these into your life it won’t take that long to become your new normal. Do you worry about your social media usage? Let me know in the comments below and whether you will use any of these tips to help you cut down.