We’re all guilty of spending way too much time on our phones endlessly scrolling through Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok. While the hours pass and we’ve consumed (mainly) pointless media, we rarely give a thought to what that does to our brains. Before we begin, this isn’t one of those guilt posts ramming the dangers of social media down everyone’s throats and saying how we can all do better, trust us, we’re the last people who should be giving advice on this topic. But maybe, since we’re all in this together, we can help.
Here at The Mental Health Makeover, we’re all about positive mental health and how we can improve our minds to make us mentally healthy, when we’ve had discussions about this, social media seems to be one thing we continuously come back to. We knew this would be a topic we wanted to discuss on the blog so at the end of 2020 we decided to set ourselves some social media boundaries to test and hopefully help you guys have a better relationship with social media and ultimately, our minds. Here’s how it went:
Let’s start at the beginning: to make the digital detox have the most impact we unfollowed any accounts that didn’t make us feel good about ourselves. Some of us found we had friends whose accounts and posts just didn’t make us feel positive about the world or ourselves, in this case we muted the accounts, so we didn’t have to unfollow them. This stage can take a while, it can be scary to actively dismiss the things that make us feel bad when they’re so used to having a hold over us, the only way to break this is to get them out of your life. When we’d got rid of the bad, we wanted to focus on the good, we found accounts and people that were a positive impact on us and gave them a follow (post coming soon on these accounts!)
After we’d cleansed our social media and it was a sea of positivity, we had to set ourselves some rules around when to use our phones and limit the amount of time spent on them. As we’re sure you can appreciate, this was really difficult to stick to at times, but it can take around 21 days to form a habit, and we were so passionate about sticking to our rules. Sure enough, each day we found it becoming a little easier to detach ourselves from the online world.
Let’s start in the morning, think about how much time you waste by scrolling on your phone in bed feeling worse and worse as the time ticks by. We’re not saying you have to get up not look at your phone, have a productive morning without even thinking about what’s going on in the world. For a few weeks, just try getting out of bed and making it, getting your breakfast or morning drink, doing your morning journal, meditating or reading. Having the time to relax in the morning before seeing what everyone else is doing and how ‘perfect’ their lives seem can give you much more perspective on what’s real and important that will last throughout the day.
During the day, our best tips are to leave your phone on Do Not Disturb so you aren’t tempted to check every notification as soon as you receive it (again with having boundaries it’s SO important), turn your notifications off on social media apps so you only go on them on your own terms, not anyone else’s. Finally, carve out time in the day for yourself to spend on your phone, try to keep this limited, but we do think it’s important to enjoy the benefits of social media and using down time however you please, not guilt tripping people into thinking even your chill time needs to be productive, having a scroll on your phone is a perfectly good use of time! We just wanted to limit time on there as it can affect our mental health plus you can start to be more present in everyday life and enjoy the little things more.
Lastly, at least half an hour before bed put your phone on night mode and out of sight. In this time, you can still watch tv or go on your laptop we don’t want you sat twiddling your thumbs! But whatever you do with this time make sure it’s relaxing and gets you in the right mindset for bed (we always recommend a herbal tea for this).
Stick with us on this, we know it can be tricky as we’ve been so conditioned to think our phone should be constantly glued to our hand but honestly, the benefits you’ll feel from simply setting boundaries around the time you spend on your phone and when can be life changing.
Have you tried a digital detox or feel inspired to do one? Let us know in the comments!
Love, The Mental Health Makeover team x
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