Wish you could just put down your phone? Feel like you’re addicted? I’m so excited to welcome Jennifer Landis to the blog today with tips to destroy your social media addiction.
Social media wasn’t a thing 15 years ago, but it has quickly become an integral part of our daily lives. We check our phone for retweets or reblogs as soon as we wake up in the morning, and it’s the last thing on our minds before we close our eyes at night.
No one wants to call it an addiction, but what else would you call it? You’d say someone who had two or three mimosas in the morning, drank beer all day and hit the hard liquor in the evening was addicted to alcohol, right?
Hi, my name is Jennifer, and I’m a reformed social media addict.
(As I wait impatiently for the chorus of “Hi, Jennifer!”)
The chances are high that you are addicted to social media. Don’t worry — this doesn’t mean you need to book yourself into the nearest rehab program. They’d probably laugh you out of the building, but that’s beside the point.
What can you do to overcome your social media addiction? Here are some steps I’ve been working on that might help you, too.
My Average Day
Before I had my little social media epiphany, my average day looked something like this:
6 a.m. — Wake up, grumpily. Shut off my alarm — on my cellphone, of course — and start scrolling through my phone before I even got out of bed.
6:15 — Drag myself begrudgingly out of bed, make a cup of tea and think about something for breakfast. If my youngest daughter — Squish — has stirred, plop down on the couch and nurse her.
6:30 — Drink said tea while I check emails on my phone.
7 — Wake my big girl and get her ready for pre-K. You know the usual morning routine — and the inevitable fight over SOMETHING — usually putting on pants.
7:45 — Pack the kids up, take the oldest to school, come home and get the little one settled in her playpen.
8 a.m. – 3 p.m. — Write. I work from home as a freelance writer, so when I’m not tending to my tiny baby, my fingers are flying over the keyboard until I get distracted and start scrolling through Twitter or catching up with old friends on Facebook.
3:15 — Pick up my child from pre-K, and half listen to her description of what she did while I check my work emails.
5 — Dinner! I try to cook something healthy while my phone is propped up on the counter so I can watch the latest scroll through Pinterest simultaneously.
6 — Time to chill. My big girl gets a few minutes of screen time so I can check Instagram in peace for a few minutes.
7:30 — Bath time! This is the one time I put down my phone because I’m terrified of dropping it in the tub. Unless, of course, one of my parents decides to FaceTime me and see the little ladies.
8:30 — Bedtime! I try to push Squish down too, but she’s 5 months old, so God only knows whether she’ll go to sleep or not.
10 — Bedtime for me. By bedtime, I mean I lay in bed and scroll on my phone until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.
Wow. Typing that out, it’s easy to see that I had a serious problem with social media. It interfered with my work, my family and every aspect of my life.
Here are some of the things I’ve found that help me deal with my social media addition and might do the same for you.
Buy a Damn Alarm Clock
I know, it’s so convenient to have your phone right there next to you — you can set your alarm, check social media, respond to emails and even throw angry birds at pigs, all from the comfort of your own bed.
Ban phones from the bedroom. Period. Buy a damn alarm clock and plug it in where your phone charger is now. Removing the temptation to pick up the phone first thing in the morning was the first big step I made to reducing my social media addiction. It’s not easy, especially if you’re used to taking your phone to bed with you, but it can have a dramatic impact.
You don’t have to get an annoying ringing clock, either. This clock wakes you up to the sultry sounds of Stephen Fry’s voice, while this one runs away so you have to chase it before you can shut it off. OK, that last one might be annoying, but it’ll get you out of bed!
This might not seem like it has a lot to do with a social media addiction, but bear with me. I said I’d try to cook something healthy. The key word there is try. There were more nights than I care to count that I was so enthralled that I’d realize my daughter ate nothing but cheese for dinner.
I know. I’m a horrible mom. Go get your pitchforks and torches, and I’ll wait here.
Making the conscious decision to eat healthier meant I had to spend time in the kitchen and learn how to cook. I will admit that my phone was still with me, but only so I could check recipes and measurement conversions.
Even my snacks got healthier. Instead of grabbing a muffin or some chocolate, I’ll grab a handful of my favorite mixed nuts and a piece of fruit. In addition to having fewer calories than a muffin, I was snacking less because the healthy fats in the nuts mean you feel full longer. I might even have dropped a few pounds!
Delete the Apps
My biggest problem with social media is its accessibility. No matter where I am, I can pull up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat with a couple of taps on my phone’s screen. So I took an extreme step and deleted the apps from my phone.
I didn’t delete my social media accounts — I only access them from my computer now. The only exception to this is Instagram, but that’s because it’s a pain in the ass to post pictures from my computer.
One Closing Thought
You may think that the only way to beat a social media addiction is to quit the sites cold turkey.
Don’t do that. You wouldn’t quit cigarettes or drugs cold turkey, so you shouldn’t try it with this addiction, either. If you really want to get away from social media entirely, do it in incremental steps. Start by deleting apps and putting down the phone.
You can beat social media addiction. I won’t delete social media from my life entirely, because I use it for work as well as keeping up with old friends and new ones, but these small changes have kept me from spending all day staring at my phone instead of watching my girls grow up.
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, writer, and blogger. She enjoys yoga, tacos, and drinking all of the tea she can find. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis and check out her blog, Mindfulness Mama, where she shares her expertise in parenting, healthy living, and food!