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is social media addictive

Social media is such a large part of our everyday lives, so much so that we don’t always realize how much time we spend daily browsing through posts, videos, and articles.

Our phones are glued to our hands, our eyes are glued to our screens, and we lose sleep, patience, and time trying to stay caught up on everything going on in the world.

Worried you might be a little addicted to all things social? Here are 10 signs it might be time for a social media detox:

1.  You’re having trouble sleeping…because you can’t stop checking your feed.

If you check your social last thing before going to sleep, scrolling through the endless information on your Facebook feed, the glow from your mobile device is actually working against you, telling your body it’s not time to sleep yet.

Solution: Put your phone in sleep-mode, or even better, don’t touch your phone (or tablet, or laptop) an hour before bed.

2.  You’re waking up and checking your social media. 

Checking your social media the minute you wake up can have a big impact on your mood and outlook the rest of the day. A rude tweet, a frustrating news article, or a pointed post can make your mood plummet before you’ve even gotten out of bed.

Solution: Wake up to music, or the sweet silence of an early morning with no distractions but your thoughts. You’ll feel more peaceful and ready to face the day, without the clutter of social on your mind.

social media addiction

3.  You check your social sites multiple times a day.

Whenever you’re bored, or whenever you have a spare minute, you’re opening one of the many social sites on your phone. You shoot off a reply to a post, share a tweet, like a couple of pins, an move on…until the next time you have a few spare minutes. Your interaction isn’t really meaningful, because you’re not really giving yourself time to enjoy the purpose behind social: being social!

Solution: Set daily limits for when and how long you’ll spend on social. Make it a mindful experience, that doesn’t consume your day, but instead is an enjoyable activity you participate in with a purpose (which is up to you to define, whether that’s connecting with friends, or catching up on global news).

4.  You have notifications that chime every time something happens on your social sites…and you stop what you’re doing to check them.

This is a huge time suck. Not only do you get distracted from sending texts, talking on the phone, or reading emails when something is always popping up on your screen, but it also distracts you from off-screen activities like spending time with your family or having a meaningful conversation with the person you’re with. It always drives me nuts when friends pick up their phone mid-conversation to check their phone – don’t be that person!

Solution: Turn off notifications for your social sites. You won’t miss out if you aren’t plugged in 24/7; the posts, tweets, photos, etc., will still be there in an hour or so. If someone actually needs you in real-time, they’ll call or text.

5.  You’ve become a mindless consumer.

There’s nothing wrong with a little mindless consumption every now and then, but this relates back to point three, and the way you interact with your social sites. Do you do so with purpose, or do you just scroll through the never ending posts, skimming and liking as you go, with no real goal in mind?

Solution: Take a minute and ask yourself: What do I use social media for, and what is its purpose in my life? Once you define what social means to you, you can be more mindful in how you consume it.

addiction to social media

6.  You talk to your friends through social more than you do in real life.

This might not seem like such a big deal with your long-distance friendships, but if you talk to coworkers, locals, and even your family through social media more than you do face-to-face or on the phone, you need an intervention.

Solution: Before you post, ask yourself if you could call them to talk instead. Or, do both: post something to your friends wall and tell them to call you when they’ve read or watched it so you can discuss. Get into a lengthy discussion over bridesmaid dresses, that cute turtle video, or the trailer for a new movie you both want to watch. Reconnect offline!

7.  You are always checking your phone screen, often feeling “phantom vibrations”.

It’s not a technical term, but we’ve all been there: we think the phone in our back pocket has vibrated, but when we retrieve it, the screen is mysteriously blank. It’s part of the social addiction, always wanting to be plugged in, interacting, and relevant.

Solution: Put the phone down and walk away. If you’re afraid of missing important calls, just make sure the volume is all the way up. Otherwise, everything else can wait.

8.  You have an account on every single social app.

Do you even use them all? Probably not. But what if one day you want to create that cute tiny video clip to post to Instagram, or need that one app to figure out what filter would look best on Facebook?

Solution: choose your favorite apps, and delete the rest from your phone. If you want to make drastic changes, delete all the social apps from your phone, and only check them on the computer. The ones you care about, you’ll make the effort to check on your computer. Otherwise, you’ve saved yourself some time and space on your phone.

  cell phone addiction

9.  You feel pressure to post something.

If you aren’t posting, are you missing out on something? The answer is of course, no, not at all, but the social media culture has cultivated the idea of FOMO (fear of missing out) by making us feel like we have to be constantly plugged in and part of every conversation.

Solution: decide which parts of your life you want to share, where, and when. Maybe your followers don’t need to see every food photo you’ve taken, but they might love a recommendation for a good local restaurant.

10.  You follow so many people and brands you can’t even keep up with them all.

Someone follows you, and you follow them back. And then other people or brands are suggested. Your cousin’s friend’s boyfriend adds you as a friend, and you feel bad not accepting the request, even though his posts put you to sleep. You have so many people on your social sites, you can’t find the good posts you care about, and you’re exhausted looking.

Solution: don’t try to keep up. Instead, trim down on the people you follow. Be ruthless, because this is your time your spending, and time spent looking at your second-cousins vacation pictures is time you can’t get back. Hide them from your feed, delete, unfollow, or block them. It’s your choice to be social, and you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed.

As with any detox, these are suggestions that you can tweak to fit your own life/lifestyle, with the end goal being your health and happiness.

Whether you stick to your new goals or fall back into old habits, just know that you never have to be social; putting your phone on silent and hiding it in a drawer is also a really good way to detox (just don’t forget where you’ve hidden it).

Feature image via Stocksnap, all other images via royalty-free stock photos
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