Never without your phone? Constantly scrolling? Separation anxiety if it’s been more than 30 minutes since you checked your likes? If this sounds all too familiar you might find some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Over the last few years, countless digital-free retreats have popped up promising to help us break-up with our phones, and recently Pinterest has reported a 314% rise in searches for ‘social media detoxes’. But for those of us who want to cut back on our scrolling without going completely cold turkey, where do we start?
Invest Your Time Elsewhere
One of the best and easiest ways to reduce your scrolling time, is to invest your time into something else. Ever wondered how much time you lose to your phone? Look at your screen time in your phone’s settings. Yep, it’s quite shocking, but disengaging with your phone can open up new opportunities.
If you find yourself aimlessly losing time in the mornings, try booking a gym class to get you up and out. For those who whittle away a long commute flicking through Instagram, listen to a podcast or pick up a book. Reclaim your evenings by trying out a new recipe or light a candle (try Clean Reserve’s Fresh Linens Candle) and enjoy a long soak in the bath – Olverum’s Bath Oil is our current fave. You could even try taking a little longer over your skincare regime. The Allies of Skin 1A Retinal & Peptides Overnight Mask works wonders for recharging the complexion overnight, as does Fresh’s Rose Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask Not only will you this new pre-bedtime routine help you sleep better, your skin will thank you for it too.
Set Time Limits But Be Realistic
Going cold turkey rarely works. Instead, set some realistic limits or goals for how long you would like to be spending (or not spending!) on your phone each day. Think of it like a workout plan to get you to where you want to be. Monitoring your usage is now easier than ever as you can set time limits on each app. Or, you can even try downloading an app specifically for this. Try Space, Flipd, AppDetox or Freedom.
Start by reducing your screen time gradually and there’s no need to go cold turkey. “Long periods of time off social media really aren’t the answer unless it’s a planned precursor to you giving it all up for good,” explains Tanya Goodin, digital detox expert and founder of ‘Time To Log Off’. “It’s a bit like going on a drastic diet and then bingeing on carbs and junk food. We need to work out how to live healthily and happily with the digital world so it’s best to build in ‘micro detoxes’ each day. Baby steps everyday will have you developing a better way to live with social media over time. A year from now, you’ll be pleasantly impressed with how far you’ve come.”
Switch Off Notifications
“One of the best ways to reduce your time spent on social media is by turning off your notifications,” says medical doctor and brand founder Dr David Jack. “That way you aren’t getting prompted to open these apps and hearing your phone constantly pinging.” Stopping these reminders will mean you’re less likely to constantly be checking these apps. Instead, try limited yourself to checking the app at a time that suits you – maybe over your morning coffee. Oh, and that other notification that wakes you up every morning? Try switching to a real alarm clock. “Leaving your phone in another room while you sleep will help to stop you from feeding your addiction before you go to sleep and stop you from checking your phone as soon as you wake up in the morning,” advises Dr David Jack.
Be Mindful Of The Apps You Are Choosing To Use
While social media apps such as Instagram can be great for sourcing inspiring content and keeping up to date with friends and family from afar, they can also encourage us to compare ourselves to others. “There’s plenty of research showing that our happiness is impacted by too much time idly scrolling on everyone else’s highlight reels, but the best measure is how it makes each of us feel,” says Tanya. “Make a point of noticing this before and after your social media sessions.” If it’s not making you feel good, stop it. Try downloading an app which will make you feel good. There are plenty of meditation and mindfulness apps (try Headspace) that will take you away from the ‘real world’ and encourage you to take a break.