Achievements, Musings

Social Media – Mission Withdraw

I wouldn’t quite say I’m addicted to social media, although it is (was) the first thing I do every morning after getting up. I don’t do it in bed like many of you, but that’s probably only because I can’t.

Addiction is something you have to do everyday, it’s often the first thing you do and the last thing you do. Was it drink wine, eat cake, smoke a cigarette or anything really, we would call it an addiction. Something you can’t function without doing. But with social media it’s the norm. Wake up and scroll through Facebook, check out the latest tweets or how many hearts last nights Insta shots got.

I’m just as guilty.

I’m addicted to social media, I’ve said it. I’m sure many of you reading this are too. It’s thought to be as addictive, if not more so than drugs. A prince said that, so it must be true.

A drug we can all freely get hold of, and one that’s acceptable to do in public.

As you know I’m a little bit crazy and like to deprive myself of something every year for Lent. Previously I’ve given up bread, chocolate, cheese and sugar.

This year for Lent I decided to try something different, I would dramatically reduce my social media usage. Something possibly harder to live without than cake.

This led me to ponder what social media is, and what it is to me. Being a blogger means that social media plays an added role in my day to day life. It is used for communicating, promoting and discovering within the blogging world. Although I’d happily be disconnected from mindless scrolling and what people had for lunch, I didn’t want to completely withdraw from this aspect of being a blogger. I see these as different things.

So I decided to limit all social media to between the hours of 6pm-7pm.

Also, I considered what platforms are social media to me, and which would be limited. I take these things seriously, I’m stubborn, so having guidelines to follow works best for me!

I came to the conclusion that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat were most definitely social media and would be limited to the total of one hour per day.

Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp however are methods of communication that I only use when I have the need to communicate. So these are allowed.

Pinterest was a tricky one. I mostly use it for blog stuff, in all honestly I don’t use it that much anymore. It’s also not full of people’s random outbursts. I felt it was ok to continue normal usage.

These are all my platforms, the rules are set. I must not forget and just start scrolling.

I used to pick up my phone to answer a message or check my emails and before I knew it 30 minutes had passed. Eight people had wished someone happy birthday, somebody had checked into hospital with no explanation, two people were annoyed but didn’t want to say why, I’d learned three new Slimming World recipes even though the Tasty recipe video looked much more appealing, and someone’s holiday snaps had made me feel like I haven’t seen the sun in way too long. These are the things that didn’t affect my life in a positive way. Except for the Tasty cheese and bacon dip. That was yum.

My usual morning routine involves a brew and catching up with the goings on. Checking social media, replying to messages, scrolling through the nights news. It’s weird not opening those apps. The first few days I had to consciously make the effort not to automatically pick up my phone. My hands felt a bit empty, lost, I’m quite the fidgeter and not very good at doing nothing. That’s why I’m better watching movies at the cinema, there’s nothing to distract me. My tea was too hot to drink straight away, what would I do with this sudden dose of extra time?

Sometimes I read, books or blogs, watched morning tv, chatted to whoever was here. I quickly learned to enjoy this quiet time, not worrying about what’s happening in everyone’s lives, nor scrolling through breakfasts that look much better than mine.

I did nearly slip up at various moments during the first few days. It’s habit really, muscle memory, unconsciously going to press apps for social media. Those tempting red notification spots glaring at me, wanting me to catch up on the gossip.

I tried to enjoy a relaxing cuppa or BBC drama rather than automatically going for the phone at every chilled moment.

My iPhone battery was pleased with the limited swiping. Those things weren’t made for that!

Reading more in my downtime rather than mindlessly looking at people’s pets is a bonus. (Although I do love cute pet photos. I share plenty of mine!) I’ve read three books within Lent, that’s more than my usual and a plus for me.

I did go to pick my phone up, well not pick it up because I can’t, but you know, unconsciously go for a browse. It’s like we can’t just do nothing. Is that what we are turning into. I say we like I assume it can’t just be me.

By week three I found I became bored of social media. I’d have a little browse for 10 minutes, answer any tags or messages and be done. I don’t read the banal nothings. I’m not even nearly using my full hour.

It’s been a liberating experience, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t missed out on anything. All the people are still there. I’ve spoken to the people that matter, kept up with the goings on that concerned me.

Social media has its place. Pretty and creative Instagram images can inspire me, hearing of someone’s tasty dinner at a new restaurant can influence me. That’s the bit I like. It’s still useful for the blogging, sharing and discovering. It’s the nonsense I don’t miss. The mindless stuff.

Mornings are the best bit. That’s something I’m going to continue. A peaceful brew while reading a book, stroking a cat or just staring at nothing. It’s a much fresher way to start the day, with calm.

I’ll be flexible on myself with timings, though that doesn’t mean absentmindedly scrolling again. I don’t want it to be scheduled like setting an alarm. Time in a way makes you just as obsessed.

They say habits are something you just have to break, and this is one I’m going to continue with.

Are you a social media obsessive? Do you have time out?

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58 thoughts on “Social Media – Mission Withdraw”

  1. I significantly reduced how much time I spent on social media five months ago. it was the best thing for my mental health at the time. With the daily changes that we are currently dealing with due to covid-19 I am finding I need to be online more to stay informed. I look forward to life getting back to normal and going back to limiting my time on social media.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s like an automatic reflex, us reaching for our phones when our hands are empty. I’m guilty of it. Like we feel lost. I’m still trying to avoid social media until after midday.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If I start first thing in the morning, I’m doomed. I’m trying to check briefly, especially blogs and Instagram. I need to get myself going more quickly than what I’ve been doing. Your time limitations seem like a good idea! Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think you’re right about being doomed if scrolling in the mornings. It’s like your mind goes to a different place. My mornings are definitely where the most improvement is.
      Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have become more and more hooked- blogging did it really. I have made a point of halving swipe time in the last year and reading instead. I have racked up a ton of reads! I don’t go on the phone in bed at night but every other time I can – I do! Well done Gemma, you got us thinking and talking.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes blogging has definitely increased my phone and social media usage. Halving swipe time is a great idea. I’m trying to stick with limits now. Answering comments and messages for a certain period of time. Only swiping for a few minutes. I find I get bored now, so that’s a good sign.


    2. Yes, my blogging has increased my social media attendance and interaction. Guilty as charged and currently finding my way in doing non-social media stuff within the day. I mean there’s a lot of things that need to get done and new things to do. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know, Gemma…It is just getting too much…I mainly just comment and share on the blogs I follow …All these groups are getting to be a nightmare and yes funnily nothing does change except I get more done…:) xx

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel much fresher not constantly checking on the world. I’m more focused when I’m doing something. It took a while to break the habit of just clicking those apps, but definitely worth a try.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done. For the month of April my challenge was no social media / email / texting free for 24 hours one day a week. It is amazing how much more time we have to read, write or do housework. Social media can and does draw us in and WHAM few hours later.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am trying to cut down on my social media time too. I use Software called Rescue Time which tracks how long I spend on different types of websites, like social media for example. I have set myself a goal of spending no more than one hour on social media each day, and so far this week the average is 54 minutes. So it’s going okay!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Well done. I use it more than I should but nowhere near as much as most people. Like you say it is necessary as a blogger. Must admit I’ve just joined Instagram and I’m loving it. I’m only following those that post pics that appeal to me, rather than blog promotion, and it’s been a positive experience so far. Of course I’d love new followers on there but that’s another side to SM addiction all together 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am a lover of instagram too, it does give me ideas of places to go locally. So that’s a bonus. It’s so easy to get hooked. I’m sticking with my limited usage so far, although not so struck since lent ended.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I had a similar experience when I first looked at the new iPhone stats. I was APPALLED at how often I was picking the dang thing up. I then went on a mission to reduce my time. It worked. But, I still crave the dopamine hit and it’s still a challenge. Removing the apps from my phone and only being able to use the internet for accessing has helped slow me down. So that’s a good little trick.
    I think it’s wonderful that you’ve found the mornings to be a sacred time. I have read numerous articles that point to the importance of this “setting up” of the day. It’s just like the whole, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” idea. Those first few hours are the most important part of setting our brains up for success.
    Kudos in your achievement!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, those iPhone usage stats are scary. But a great reminder.
      Removing apps is a good idea, I would be less likely to go into autopilot and just start scrolling if I had to do it via the browser.
      Mornings are definitely the best bit, so it’s interesting you say that starting the day has an effect. I shall try and stick to this!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m a total addict, but it social media also forms a large part of my job… I have started to just focus on my checklist and walk away after I have completed it when I can and it has made a huge difference!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, and as a blogger I didn’t want to step back from social media completely. That’s a great idea, to have a list of tasks but trying not to get distracted. Then leaving things when you’re done. Thanks for your input.


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