Here’s how social media is making you feel helpless-and how you can fight back
How many times have you doom-scrolled through Twitter or Facebook because you have a few minutes to yourself, but not enough time (so you think) to do anything else?
Using social media has become everyone’s socially acceptable addiction. You know the feeling. You’ve just gotten the kids off to school or bed, or you’ve got a precious few minutes to yourself over the weekend. But instead of indulging in your hobby, or tidying up the living room, or even getting a few more minutes of sleep, you think it won’t hurt to treat yourself to a quick minute looking at your phone.
Thirty minutes or an hour later, you’re still swiping around on your phone, as you’ve combined your Twitter check with a peek at Instagram and Facebook and some quick text conversations with friends who are doing the same thing. And when you’re done? You don’t feel rested, or educated, or better. Instead, you feel jittery, wound up, afraid to log off for fear of missing out on the very next thing somebody posts.
You don’t have to feel this way anymore. It may not seem like it, but you are in control of your social media usage. You may need to use it for your work, particularly if you are a freelancer, but now is the time to start clawing back minutes of your own time and life. Follow these three strategies to step away from social media.
How Social Media is Making You Feel Helpless
1, Take a week to observe your social media use.
This is a time-honored technique to examine your bad habits. Sometimes people track the food they eat or the money they spend. For a week you need do nothing more than make a note (even if it’s just hash marks on a piece of paper whenever you turn to your phone to alleviate boredom) of how long you spend on social media sites. Do not use any apps or software to track your time. The idea is to look away from all tech and be aware of the time you spend with screens.
- Make a list of tasks you can achieve in five or ten minutes.
Checking in with people on Facebook and Twitter or in quick text exchanges is fun. Sometimes we even feel like we’re learning. But most time spent this way is just mindless wheel-spinning. Make a list of tasks you could achieve instead. Most of these tasks are going to be bummers.
Who actually wants to do the dishes or tidy up the bathroom cabinet? So help yourself and include some warm fuzzy items too. Read a book chapter. Check on what your kids are doing. Sit outside for five minutes just enjoying the sunshine. When you want to pop onto social media, look at your list of tasks instead. How many great things could you do in the actual world if you made better use of your free five-minute periods during the day?
- Take it one day at a time.
Swearing off anything for good (or even for a week) is really hard. Don’t vow to give up social media for a week. You’ll feel worse when you fail (and you will fail). Treat it as a win every single time you don’t check any of your personal accounts. Every. Single.Time. Set daily parameters. Grant yourself five minutes of Facebook after you’ve made your flu shot appointment. Give yourself a Twitter browse after you eat lunch with a book rather than your phone.
The truth is, social media is here to stay and we’re never again going to be able to completely give it up–it’s woven into our jobs and our personal lives and our school contact lists. But each day you wrestle any amount of your time back from the machine, that is a win. Celebrate it.
Seek Help Today.
Give us a call at High Expectations Counseling Center. We are trained professionals ready to help you get back your time and get off the phone. Isn’t it worth it?