Are you fighting a technology addiction? With more time spent at home these days, your phone may just be your new best friend. Studies show that too much social media usage can have negative impacts on our mental health, spurring anxiety, depression, and FOMO. It can be difficult to train yourself to stop immediately reaching for Instagram, TikTok, or Snapchat every time you’re bored, but follow our tips below for limiting your screen time and focusing on meaningful activities this summer.
Set clear boundaries – both physically and mentally
Instead of reaching for your phone and checking Instagram the moment you wake up every morning, you can set physical boundaries to limit your phone use. Each night, place your phone face-down across the room (or even better, in another room entirely). Try charging your phone every night plugged in across the room. When your alarm goes off each morning, get out of bed to turn it off, but try not to get back into bed to scroll through social media. You can also set mental boundaries for your social media usage. While you may need other forms of technology to communicate or work, you can set a reminder to check social media once or twice per day. For example, every day at 1pm and 5pm, allow yourself to check Instagram. Once you’ve implemented these practices for just a few days, they’ll become habits and feel like a natural part of your daily routine.
Optimize your technology
Technology is a part of our lives, and there’s no changing that. Instead of constantly fighting technology, we can optimize it. Head over to your phone’s settings to change a few things, such putting your phone into “Do Not Disturb” mode or changing your notifications. Only allow text notifications for important conversations that need your immediate attention, turning off everything else. You can always check on those other conversations in the evenings or during one of your social media breaks, but they won’t bother you throughout the day. Move apps around on your phone to avoid seeing them front and center. By putting apps into folders on the second or third screen of your phone, you’ll actually have a more difficult time finding them and be less likely to use them. If you’re brave enough, you could even delete tempting apps like Instagram or Facebook off of your phone. There’s no need to delete your account entirely, but you’ll just have to get onto a computer when you really want to check social media.
Download other apps to lessen screen time
I know this is counterintuitive, but you can actually download other apps to motivate you to put down your phone. Forest, for example, grows a virtual plant when you’re not using your phone. If you use your phone when you’re not supposed to, Forest will send you reminders that your plant might die! Daywise schedules times for notifications to be sent to you so that you’re not constantly inundated with pop-ups and reminders.
Find other activities to focus your attention
It’s incredibly important to find other activities or hobbies off of the screen that capture your attention. Without the constant allure of social media, you’ll find yourself wondering what to do with your time. Often, that time consists of just a few minutes throughout your day in between other activities or work periods, so you’ll want to find something that’s simple and accessible to focus your attention. You might consider carrying a book with you and reading a few pages whenever you have a moment. Other ideas could include coloring books, knitting, stretching, playing an instrument, going outside, or playing with an animal. Just make sure that the new activity is easy to pick up so that you don’t find yourself drawn back into your phone!
Technology has made the world better in many ways, but it has also created unhealthy addictions. By setting boundaries, optimizing your technology, downloading other apps, and finding other activities, you can limit your screen time. These practices can be challenging at first, but over time, you’ll find that they simply become daily habits. If you can remember your motivations for limiting social media and focusing on other important aspects of your life, you’ll be able to control technology and enjoy its benefits.