Addicted to the scroll, like, and share? I feel you. It seems that checking our social media has become as habitual a routine as brushing our teeth. But who can blame us? It’s hard to escape. Regular wellbeing columnist, Charlotte Willis, contemplates how we can use social media sustainably.
We are bombarded by notifications, trends, and the almost Pavlovian-conditioned subconscious urge to check our phones in case we’ve missed something. We’ve become an image-obsessed society, as we self-inflict pressure upon ourselves to post an immaculate perception of our days, all in hopes of maintaining the façade of keeping up with this ever-changing, toxic-tainted, multiplex universe that we call an online presence.
And wow, it’s so all-consuming.
Are you consuming social media, or is social media consuming you? This is a question I like to ask myself sometimes, just to do a self-check-in on my habits and screen-time. Most of us will find ourselves flitting between the two responses, but if you haven’t taken a look at your social media habits lately, here are some pointers to steer your answer.
Do you feel nervous, anxious, or stressed when checking your social media apps? Do you spend more than two or three hours on your social media apps every day? In the morning or evening, is your routine not complete without checking social media? Do you experience a feeling of pressure to post something? Do you feel a rush, spike of joy, or anxious feeling when a notification appears?
Answering yes to any of these questions might indicate that your relationship with social media needs a revamp, putting your time and energy at the forefront of your app use. It all begins with setting healthy boundaries for yourself to use social media sustainably.
Monitor your screen-time
Take stock of how many hours of the day, week, and month you use social media apps. Consider how best you could re-allocate this time to passions or projects you say you seldom have the time for. Reclaim your hours for your fine self by scheduling alternative activities for your downtime moments.
Turn notifications off
Yep, turn them all the way off. Notifications have a bad habit of drawing you back into the app, regardless of the fact you simply logged on to reply to a DM. After all, these apps have intricately intelligent algorithms to keep you hooked for hours and hours. Try disabling pop-up notifications, notification lights, and mute your app announcements.
Schedule regular breaks
Taking a social media break is like pressing the reset button on what’s important to you in the physical world. The number of breaks you choose to take, as well as how long they last, is completely up to you. But be strict with yourself. Log out from your app, or even delete it altogether! This is your time to reflect on your habits, health, and work on a sustainable energy distribution across your daily life.
Get woke to filter use
Thanks to technology, just about anyone and everyone can be a Photoshop pro with a few taps and clicks. The worst thing? You’ll never know who’s editing and who’s not. When you’re online, make sure you arm your self-esteem with the knowledge that everything you see might not reflect reality. Never compare your life, body, or image with that of anyone else. You are uniquely you, and your life uniquely yours. And that’s a beauty no one could edit.
You can read more of Charlotte’s contemplating series and for more tips to use social media sustainably in each issue of the Creative Impact Digital Magazine.