Have you ever wondered why the majority of people in our society have become so captivated by various social media sites? It has become a habit for many to check it constantly, worrying about what is trending or what people think of them. Social media is a great source of communication, for the most part, but the impact on mental health can be severe. We must emphasise why it does not have to control your life and how you can, in fact, control it yourself.
Be honest with yourself and answer this: how long do you actually spend on social media per day? What do you turn to when you have completed your daily routine and need to wind down? Is it fair to say that your mobile phone may be holding you back? It is not a negative thing to be socially active on the Internet, but as a teenager, you may find it refreshing to take a step back. I know that may sound cliché but I have found that it is true and it is surprising how much productivity increases when you take more breaks.
Thinking back to a few years ago, I remember coming home from school, sitting down with my phone and spending so long on it until the battery was practically dead. Some days I would even sit there until it was 7 PM and it was time for dinner. Honestly, I can’t comprehend how I coped with homework and my mental well-being. Perhaps I did find some enjoyment in scrolling through Instagram and Twitter, but now I have come to realise how consuming that lifestyle really was. Now, when I come home from school, I don’t even think about going on my phone for hours. I have learned to adopt the mindset that allows me to stay motivated and complete tasks, not just because they’re necessary, but also because I want to.
I read somewhere that “humans will do more to avoid pain than find pleasure.” Therefore, procrastinating becomes second nature, because we have trained our minds to think this provides us with an escape from pain. But, what if we can find pleasure in being productive instead? Think of an essay you need to write and instead of thinking “I have to write an essay”, think “I get to write an essay”. It is a great feeling reminding yourself of the reward of finishing homework, or the result of spending time revising for a test. So, that’s what I focus on instead. So, by focusing on what is good for you, you are already reducing the hold social media has on you. I honestly feel it is so refreshing.
My advice to readers would, therefore, be to control social media and prevent it from controlling you. Trust me, scrolling through Instagram for 30 minutes a day is so much more interesting than scrolling mindlessly for 3 hours, desperately searching for new content. It can be quite scary to think about the future but preparing for it productively will provide you with much more satisfaction than social media ever can.
To remove the habit of checking your phone, the most obvious way would be to put it in a drawer in the other room. However, there are other options:
To summarise, reducing your time on social media is not only beneficial to your mental health in the short term but helps you in the long term. After learning to stop checking it, I have found that my life has become much more productive and I feel happier as a result. Removing it from your life completely is not always necessary but taking a break can be crucial! Remember that social media does NOT control you if you do not allow it to. Be your own master!
Apps/websites that can help you stay off social media:
Self-control- an extension for your computer and an app that stops you from checking customised websites that you add yourself
Pomodoro tomato timer- allows you to spend 25 minutes working and then 5 minutes on a break on a loop. This means that you manage the amount of time you concentrate and it allows you to enjoy time away from your work without sacrificing precious time! I also love the to-do list feature so you can know exactly what you need to do.
Hold- an app that times the amount of work you do and grows a tree while you do it- this is quite satisfying!