Social Media is one of the greatest phenomena’s to date. The interactive platform gives us the opportunity to share our day to day lives on the Internet. Privacy is unheard of as we post where we’re eating, what we’re wearing and who we are with. If you’re reading this, I’ve no doubt that you have come from a social media platform to read it, so you’ll know what I’m about to discuss. Instagram Likes. Only recently, Instagram altered their app, to limit “likes”, for the supposed safety of our mental health. Although I don’t believe this was their sincere method of action, I’m all for it. Our lives are soon to become a public photo album, where likes no longer determine the “popularity” of our photographs. Having said that, this platform will still give everyone the chance to compare themselves to others.
I have recently reduced the amount of time I spend online, to live as I mean. We often become so consumed by social media platforms that we accidentally spend more time than we’d like, scrolling aimlessly. I have compiled a list of things which will help you to reduce your screen time, and improve your mental health. We need to remind ourselves of the times where Android and Apple ceased to exist, and all we had was a little Nokia brick.
Pick Up An Old Hobby
Social media generally creates laziness. Instead of spending our time playing football in the nearby field, or bake a cake for our own leisure, we watch videos of others engaging in their passions. More often than not, we allow this to disrupt our positive well being, and we nearly feel sorry for ourselves. Instead of sitting around like a couch potato, looking for an escape to change, just do it. Go outside and go for a run. Leave your phone in the back burner, forget about it’s existence. By replenishing old desires and passions, you’ll soon regain confidence to pick up talents and hobbies you once had and loved.
Allow Yourself To Be Bored
I was on a public bus a number of weeks ago, and my battery died. I felt extremely helpless, as though the world was going to crash down and eat up my boredom. It got me thinking about how much I depended on my phone to keep myself entertained. I looked around me, to see that nearly every single person had a phone in their hand. The only person who wasn’t staring into social media space, was an elderly woman sitting near me. She preoccupied herself by engaging with fellow passengers, living her life. Since seeing such a colosal difference, I decided that any time I rode public transport, my phone would go into the bottom of my bag. I’ve since begun to chat to my fellow passengers. It’s one way to make acquaintances, or even friends. It’s also a great confidence builder for anyone who may find themselves a little bit reserved.
Instead of spending your time reading the Irish independent online, choose the paper. Sit at the kitchen table and embrace life offline. I’ve started to read the newspaper when I have time, not only to avoid social media, but to feed myself with information, to educate myself. If you’re not a newspaper kind of person, head to your nearest book store and pick up a book of your choice. Reading a book is extremely healthy, and instead of burning precious cells by scrolling online, you will improve your IQ. If you’re feeling really traditional, play a game of sudoko at the back of the newspaper! It’ll pass valuable time.
Go & Meet New People
Whether or not you have dozens of friends, or consider yourself to have very few friends, take the opportunity to get outside and meet new people. I recently took up Yoga as a means of mindfulness, which has given me the opportunity to meet people of all ages, races and backgrounds. By going outside and breathing in positivity, you’ll allow yourself to meet new people. Go outside and talk to your neighbours. Go for a walk and talk to a stranger. More often than not, people love meeting new faces, so be that new face that welcomes them into your life! It’ll improve how you look at people, and if you’re anyway succumbed by the negative assets of social media, you’ll regain a little hope and positivity. Your outlook on people will improve your mental health.
Screen Time: How Much?
Remember the days where our parents would allow us to go on MSN for an hour in the evening? Can you remember just how excited that made you? I know that I can. By stepping back from social media and remembering the days where we weren’t so consumed by the likes of Instagram and snapchat, before they even existed, you’ll appreciate the life you have in front of you. You won’t feel the need to control your life, you won’t feel the desire to post a photo to feed your ego. You’ll accept life as we know it, and begin to better yourself. Take 2 hours a day on social media. Whether you spend 2 hours in the evening online, or whether or not you wish to break this up throughout the day, limit your time. Leave your phone at home when meeting people. Allow your phone be the company you need when texting your family back, or when ringing someone. Ignore the hums of social media, echoing in your ear. Live your life as your grandparents did. Because I bet they have 100,000 life stories which don’t compare to yours. Start your story by shutting yourself away from social media, and watch yourself evolve.