While most of us were introduced to the online sphere of socialization through the relic that is now Myspace, it was Facebook that redefined our generation’s interactions.
The benefits are undoubtedly there — staying in contact, news updates and figuring pop culture in general — but the drawbacks are also significant. For the regular user, it’s common to find that an hour has been wasted away scrolling or to feel the urge to check your page regardless of what you happen to be doing at that moment.
What makes Facebook and most other social media sites so alluring is that it brings leisure to any time of the day, many of which are stressful enough for college students. It’s also what makes the habit so counterproductive.
If social media is hijacking your life, here are a few tips to help you limit your consumption.
1. Delete the app
You might not be ready to quit social media cold turkey, and that’s ok. You can still make an improvement by accessing your sites only through your laptop or at-home computer. This change will allow you to focus on what’s around you while at school, work, or waiting in line.
For phone-specific apps like Snapchat and Instagram, try turning off your notifications. This way, you will only check in when you remember or actually have the time.
2. Buy an alarm clock
It’s hard to cut back on social media when the first thing we check every morning is our phones, right after turning off our alarms. For many of us, Facebook is a ritual when waking up that often tends to keep us in bed much longer.
Force yourself to get up before even touching your phone by using a good old-fashioned analog alarm clock. Then go make yourself some coffee.
3. Take a break as trial time
Sometimes we do better at things for which there is no commitment. So, try stepping back completely for at least 24 hours — half of which you’ll probably just sleep through.
If you can spend an entire waking day without social media, that should be enough to give you an idea of how much you may be missing.
Try a week without and you may just realize it’s not so necessary!
4. Pick different distractions
Social media is more than just something to relax to, it’s also something to occupy your mind with. Nowadays we get pretty easily bored and our first instinct is to pick up our phones.
With the apps gone, try instead to engage in something else. Start carrying a book with you, a magazine or a newspaper and get your reading on. If it’s easier to stick to your phone, try downloading a virtual copy of whatever you want to read.
For more daring individuals, try starting a conversation with somebody around you.
5. Reach out in real life
The biggest reason for so many people to stay on social media is to have quick and easy contact with family and friends, but then remember there was a time before Facebook and messaging when people actually called each other.
If the people you wish to stay in contact with truly mean so much to you, mark down their important information (such as birth date), and give them a call. It’s the modern-day equivalent of receiving a handwritten letter and the action will likely go much further in growing your relationships than simply having them as a “friend” or “follower” on social media ever will.