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Taming Your Social Media Habit

2 min read
Here are a few ways to limit your time spent online.

The Internet and social media have opened up new horizons, giving us access to information and allowing us to connect with people around the world. Unfortunately, many have become hooked on social media. Their phone is the first thing they look at when they wake up and the last thing they see before their heads hit the pillow. Social media has become such a huge part of their lives that they may spend more than three hours a day scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Tumblr and Twitter.

But spending so much time on social media can be detrimental to one’s well-being. Studies have linked excessive social media use to increased depression and anxiety. More screen time can also result in disrupted sleep and less physical activity, increasing the risk for obesity.

Limiting your social media use, therefore, makes huge sense. Here are five suggestions to get you started.

Notifications distract you from the task at hand, so turn them off. The information will still be there when you are ready to go on social media.

Move your apps from the home screen into a folder to avoid overindulging in them.

Decide on a regular time for checking social media, and don’t log in at other times. For Instagram, go into ‘Your activity’ in account settings to check the amount of time you spend daily on the app. Reduce usage bysetting a daily reminder to notify yourself when you’ve reached the time limit you’ve given yourself to spend on the app. If you are an iPhone user, turn on ‘Screen Time’ for reports on your phone usage and to set limits on your use.

Instead of scrolling through your smartphone in bed — a sure way to interrupt sleep — leave your phone outside your bedroom. When you wish to take a break from social media during the day, put your phone away (in another room or your cupboard) so you are not tempted to check it every few minutes. You will find that, when you do log in, you didn’t really miss much at all.

If social media has become an addiction, going cold turkey is the best medicine. Go offline for a few days or even a week. When you do so, you may discover your mornings are less hectic and your evenings calmer.You can then use your offline time to read a book, listen to music, or go for a walk. Remembering the benefits of taking a digital break will steer you away from your addiction; it may even inspire you to turn it into a habit.

Limiting your screen time will free you up for other things, reduce social anxiety, and prioritise in-person connections. It will also help you prioritise a healthy lifestyle and get the appropriate amount of sleep.