by Mikey Rox
We all love social media – myself included. But if checking in, updating statuses, taking photos of your food and scrolling through the bubble butts of Instagram are taking up too much of your time – and thereby leaving less of it to actually enjoy life – perhaps it’s time for a break. This summer, get back to basics – and remember what it’s like to live real life in real time – with these ways to wean yourself off Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the like for a more memorable summer.
- Set a Time Limit For Daily Social Media Use
If you’re constantly checking social media for new likes and comments, and scrolling through every-other-second posts from your friends, the easiest way to stop relying on your favorite platforms to cull your boredom is to set a time limit for usage. You don’t have to go cold turkey straight out the gate but rather condition yourself to hop online for, say, one hour a day. You can use the hour up in one fell swoop, or you can break it down to 15 minutes four times a day. However you want to portion it is fine, so long as you stick to the limit you’ve set for yourself. If you need help, set a timer to hold yourself accountable.
- Change Your Notification Settings
To avoid getting sucked into a downward spiral of wasted time, change the notification settings on your phone so you’re not pinged whenever somebody posts their pearls of wisdom. When you’re not alerted to their musings every time you blink, it’ll be easier to put social media on the back burner in a Ron Popeil kinda way.
- Schedule a Trial Run For Being Free of Social Media
Whenever I’ve tried to cut something out of my life – like smoking, for instance – I’ve had greater success in setting reasonable, achievable milestones, like eliminating the habit from my daily routine for a week opposed to adopting a mentality of complete abolishment forever. The problem with the latter is that if you fail – and you likely will because the endgame is too harsh to accept unless you have serious discipline (and if you did, you wouldn’t be reading this article) – you’ll get disappointed and head straight back into the habit for comfort. Give yourself time to adjust and evaluate how you feel about the change in a trial run before committing to a longer-term hiatus.
- Delete the Apps From Your Phone
Last year, I self-imposed a social media ban for about a month and a half when I was dealing with a lot of stress in my personal life, and I found it much easier to stick to my guns when the apps weren’t on my phone. By removing them altogether, they’re out of sight, out of mind. If you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms, their nonexistence on your phone will give you pause so you can collect yourself, think about whether you really need to access the apps while (hopefully) choosing to continue the hiatus.
- Block Your Favorite Platforms On Your Computer
If you’re afraid that you’ll succumb to weakness when you’re on the computer – especially since the apps are no longer on your phone – block the platforms on your browser. This is accomplished differently on each browser, but a quick Internet search will walk your through the steps. This is probably more important at work than it is at home, so put the provisions in place on your office computer first then try it on your PC.
- Ask a Friend to Join You in Your Moratorium
We’ve been taught about the buddy system since we were kids for good reason – it works. If you don’t think you can implement a social media moratorium on your own, ask a friend if they’ll join you. Certainly it’s not the most attractive proposition, but I bet you can find someone in your circle who’s secretly lamenting their own social media use. Put a plan in place that you’ll both follow, and help support each other through the process. You’ll find it easier to accomplish when you have a crutch – and you might even develop a strong bond with one another because of it.
- Start Living For the Moment
Shunning social media for the summer is not all for naught. The reason for going dark is so you can let more real life happen. Fill the time you’d normally spend on social media with more productive activities, like exercise, concentrating on work or enjoying the company of your friends and family without having your faces buried in the blue light of a smartphone. Sounds like an impossible feat in this day and age, but it wasn’t that long ago that we all used to talk to one another face to face without worrying about what digital strangers are up to. Which may pose a deeper question for your reflection: Why do you even care?
Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He splits his time between homes in New York City and the Jersey Shore with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Twitter @mikeyrox.