image credit: William Iven via Unsplash
In an era where our lives are often so deeply entwined with our social media presence, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to be available to anyone and everyone at all times. The truth of the matter is that outside of family, work, and a handful of close friends… you don’t owe anyone shit.
With so many outside forces constant interfering with our innermost lives, it is important to truly take stock of what is a healthy choice versus what is an easy choice or a choice that is simply made because it has become a habit.
There are a few steps that you can use to work on lessening the grip of technology and social media habits. Here are a few tips that may help you:
1. Identify Your Feelings
After naming the problem, the first step to figuring out the core of any behavior patterns is to figure out how it makes you feel.
Habits can take many forms. Do you bring your phone with you everywhere? First of all, take stock of why you can’t take five minutes of quiet time or privacy even in the bathroom. Is your default to have your computer or a television screen on or near you two-thirds of the day? What is it that compels you to feel the need to be constantly connected, especially if much of that connection is a source of stress or anxiety?
2. Take A Time Out
Give yourself a half hour time-out for starters. Put your phone on airplane mode and go outside for a walk or simply sit in the sun for a bit.
Write down how you feel when you try to disconnect. Is it a sense of relief? Conversely, how anxious are you and how many times did you catch yourself trying to engage in the behaviors which you are trying to break?
3. Make A Deal
It’s hard to set limits for yourself if you have a live-in partner and they are engaging in the same behaviors that you are attempting to cull from your life. While you cannot force them to make the same choices for your life, you can assess how it impacts your relationship.
It can feel as though you are under attack if you are not careful. We’re not telling you to walk on eggshells, merely be mindful of your language when you engage in a dialogue about behaviors and their effects on the relationship. Use “feeling” language instead of “blaming” language.
THIS: “It hurts my feelings and makes me feel alone when you don’t make eye contact with me while we’re talking about something important. Please prioritize me over whatever is happening on your phone.”
NOT THIS: “Quit being a jerk and ignoring me.”
4. Set Limits
Set limits for yourself and keep your promises. If you say that you are only going to be on Facebook for an hour and then go to bed, do it.
Buy an alarm clock and keep your phone out of your bedroom. Give yourself an hour to wind down away from blue light technologies and the buzz of social interaction before you go to sleep. Pick up a new, healthier habit like reading or journaling in an actual book at the very end of your day.
5. Purge and Cleanse Your Feeds And Friends
Are there certain people that constantly bait you into arguments and seem to thrive off of conflict? People who surround themselves with people that are social sharks and emotional succubi? Folks that you have nothing to do with outside of the internet that demand way more emotional bandwith than the people that are actually in your everyday real world?
To hell with them! You don’t owe anyone your emotional and physiological health.
This being said, it is important to draw a line here: are these people upsetting you because they are calling you out for privileged behaviors or is it something totally different? It’s important to surround yourself with different experiences, otherwise social media just becomes one big echo chamber, a reflection of self x 1000.
After meditating on this and identifying why these chosen people are stressing you out, do your deleting. Just make sure you are truly holding yourself accountable and don’t just dispense of people because they make you do some soul-searching and uncover things you don’t like about yourself and the world around you.