7 Ways to Take a Step Away from Your Social Media

Social media has permeated every aspect of our lives, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. The way we present ourselves on social media can both open doors and close them, and it’s very easy to lose yourself in the game of “likes.” On the flipside, social media has created an infinitely more connected world. It’s never been easier to stay in touch with former classmates, family members, or to form relationships with people from all over the world. It can be difficult to strike a balance between the positive and negative impacts that social media can have on your time management and mental health, but it’s worth the extra effort.

Related: I Spent One Month Without My Laptop and This is What I Learned

1. Stop checking your likes.

This is definitely easier said than done, but it’s huge. Social media was intended for us to share content that we’re happy to put out into the world, but obsessively checking our likes or retweets everytime we post has a drastic impact on the kinds of things we were posting. It’s no longer about sharing the events we go to and posting cute pictures of dogs, but it’s about what kinds of photos would get the best reactions from our followers. Needless to say, this isn’t a healthy mindset. Once we resolve to only check our likes once a day,  posts no longer feel like a personal insult if the picture didn’t perform as well as other things we’ve posted.

2. Don’t go to events just for the Instagram.

The most important part of changing the way that we think about social media is making an effort to not live through our phone screens. Go to events without taking a picture, never go somewhere just because a picture from it might get a lot of likes, and know that you don’t have to post every picture you take. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to go out and live in the moment without worrying about taking the perfect picture.

Related: My Best Friend and I Went on a Social Media Fast

3. Go on social media as a reward for finishing your work, not to push off starting.

It might be just us, but we always seem to want to go on our social media as soon as we actually have something that we need to get done, and before we know it we’ve spent hours scrolling. One of the most important skills in college is the ability to manage your time effectively, and this includes leaving social media for after your work is done. Besides, we have much more fun looking at memes on the explore page when we don’t have the stress of a paper hanging over our heads.

4. Don’t be afraid to post pictures without people in it.

Admit it, we all think of ourselves as good photographers and we’re all constantly taking pictures of our pets or the way campus looks when you’re walking to your next class, but a lot of us rarely put these pictures on our social media. We’ve found that since we’ve started featuring more things than just ourselves on our social media, we feel just a bit more pride in ourselves and our skills -- and no one will complain about more pictures of our pets on social media.

5. Purge the people you’re following

It’s really easy to follow all of your peers, regardless if you really like them or not. One day we were aimlessly scrolling Instagram and had the realization that we hadn’t seen a single picture from anyone that we genuinely liked, just a lot of people that we felt like we should be following. After cleaning out the people we’re following, we found that going on social media became a more pleasant experience when we’re only seeing the people that we truly want to see.

Related: The Purge: 5 Reasons You Should be Cleansing Your Social Media for Your Sanity

6. Don’t just close the app, log-off altogether.

Comparatively, it’s much less of a hassle to reopen an app than it is to log back in. When you really have to crack down on your work, that extra step of logging in can really be a much-needed barrier between you and your tendencies for procrastination. This extra step, even though it’s very small, is extremely effective. We can only speak for ourselves, but every little bit of extra effort we have to put in just serves to discourage us (and sometimes we can’t help but use that to our advantage).

7. Turn off your notifications.

This one made the biggest difference for us. Many days it’s easy to get sucked into scrolling Instagram or Twitter for hours after clicking on just one notification or feeling the need to respond to a Snapchat as soon as you get the notification for it; which is admittedly terrible for our productivity. It’s much easier to let social media fade into the background when we aren’t constantly reminded of its presence, and we often find ourselves forgetting about it entirely until we’re done with our work.

While it can be easy to get lost in the social media machine and the alternate reality it forces us to buy into, there are steps we can all take to make it both less of a distraction and less of a chore.