How to: Start a Social Media Cleanse

How to: Start a Social Media Cleanse

Photo Credit: Angelin Thipahar, Illustrations Editor

Tips for limiting your social media use

Alessia Tenaglia, Staff Writer

Social media takes up a lot of our energy and time. If we all consider the time we have dedicated to social media since we first created our accounts, and you are like me, you may find the time lost to social media regrettable. The times we have spent searching for people that we used to know, feeling ‘stuck’ in a nostalgic past, and viewing pictures from other people’s lives while we feel like our lives are not as interesting, while we head off to work or school. Most people know the usual feeling that comes along with social media is always feeling like we must be doing something, and with someone. It is a draining ever-present obligation that you feel you must partake in when you have an account on social media. 

Whether or not you recognize this in yourself, are a regular, or irregular, social media user, we should all be aware of some techniques to distance ourselves from social media. This can range from hoping for increased productivity, to escape the feeling of being ‘stuck’ in the past and allow ourselves to grow, or simply setting boundaries between ourselves and our accounts when it becomes too much for us.

  1. Turn Off Your Notifications or Your Device

Often, notifications can be a source of distraction when attending to different tasks, responsibilities, or taking notice of what is around you. Turning off your notifications shifts your focus to the present rather than what is taking place on your device. If you think this would be challenging, you may even consider turning off your device completely, and turning it back on when you have accomplished what you had hoped to.

  1. Install Apps to Redirect Your Attention

If that fails, there are few apps that can either block or make you mindful of your social media use. This includes the ability to enable Screen Time through the settings on most IOS devices or downloading apps such as Forest or Flora to reward you for staying off your phone.

  1. Suspend Your Account, Delete Apps, and Redownload Them (or Not)

Suspend your social media account or delete apps for days, weeks, or even months. Be honest with yourself about what you experienced, noticed, or accomplished while you were on this social media break.

  1. Set Limits

Schedule a certain time or several brief periods of time during the day that you can check social media. By doing this, you can have more control over your time and can manage your day better. 

  1. Discover a New Hobby

Find a new activity or hobby that you had always wanted to learn or try out. Try to be present and appreciate real-life experiences. Such experiences are rewarding since they allow you to learn something about yourself and your talents, or they can simply be for leisure.

  1. Accept That You Are Not a ‘Poster’ and Are More of an ‘Offline’ Person

If you find that posting is not something that you particularly enjoy, accept that you are an ‘offline’ person instead of trying to be someone you are not. Accept that social media and your social network no longer allows you to move you forward but instead keeps you ‘stuck’ in the past, feeling nostalgic. Normalize having a limited number of posts or simply none.

  1. Find a Way to Make Your Social Media Experience Meaningful

Realizing that social media takes up a lot of your time, or that you no longer connect to it like you used to is not a bad thing, nor does it mean that you must avoid your accounts altogether. Find ways to make your experience meaningful to you by following or discovering people, pages, or accounts that post about things you find interesting. 

So, if you are deciding whether you need a social media ‘cleanse’, ask yourself: How much do you get out of your social media account? How do you feel after you have been on social media? Does it make you feel better or worse? Do you still feel connected to the users on your account compared to when you first started your account? If you are uncertain about most of these questions, a ‘cleanse’ can help you find perspective. If the answers to most of these questions are negative responses, it may just benefit you.