“Social Media Wellness” sounds like a bit of an oxymoron. After watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix this weekend, I had a LOT of thoughts swimming around about the toxic environment we live in. I identify as a Zillennial since I was raised with a VCR in my house and did not have a smart phone until I started driving. I’m lucky that I grew up reading books and did NOT have an Instagram in middle school (honestly, I would’ve been bullied if I had). Try as I might, I am in no way immune to the Gen Z madness that is social media addiction. I’m hesitant in using the term addiction because it is a very serious topic, but so is this.
While I watched The Social Dilemma I picked up some simple ideas to help me form a healthier relationship with social media. I also realized that some of the habits I already have in place are better for me than I could imagine. I highly recommend this movie; I was truly scared to watch it, but it was definitely worth it.
These are a few habits that I am/have been working on forming to build a healthier relationship with social media:
Have sleep/silent mode on all the time
Especially since so many of us are home all day, the only connection to friends may be through your handy-dandy smart phone. Of course when I first got my iPhone as a sophomore in high school, I left the sounds on so everyone could hear me clickity clacking away as I snapped my BFF back to make sure we stayed on each other’s top 3 lists. But that got old preeetty quickly. Ever since, I almost always have vibrate and sleep mode on. This was partially because I was terrified of having it accidentally go off during class, but I also knew that I am someone who gets easily distracted.
This setting pissed my family off for a bit since their calls always went straight to my voicemail, but the nifty thing is if someone calls twice consecutively, the second call will be pushed through and ring/vibrate. This way, people can still contact you if it actually is urgent.
If you don’t want to go all in on the silent mode, you can allow your ICE contact or others to override the setting. Lastly, for the little time I actually have notification sounds on, I set my sister’s text tone to be distinct from the default.
Turn on airplane mode at night
My dad has been really into this recently and since getting into the habit, I really appreciate this idea. I download my sleepy-time podcast, set my alarm for the morning and hit airplane mode. Now, when I wake up I’m not bombarded by meaningless notifications. On a scarier note, a friend of mine’s mom works at a tech company and she suggests sleeping with your phone 6 feet away because of the potential negative health effects. I’m not sure I’m ready to take that step, but at least I’m not sleeping with it under my pillow anymore.
Zoom fatigue getting you down? Head over here for some remedies!
Mute people on social media you don’t want to see
I think this might be the best social media decision I’ve ever made aside from deleting snapchat for months. This feature is not super new anymore, but a lot of people still don’t know about it. If you don’t want to see someone’s content, but you don’t want to unfollow you can mute them!
No more feeds clogged with people from high school that make me question my body or worth etc. etc. The algorithm can NOT override this and it’s glorious. I wish it was as easy as “just unfollow them!” but this generation is so fixated on being “friends” online that an unfollow is betrayal. Also, sometimes you do want to see what that person is up to, but it’s not going to be pushed in your face every single day.
Don’t want to be a petty little bitch and unfollow/unfriend your ex on a platform? Mute them. (Side note: If you feel like you need to unfollow someone you were ~involved with~ then that probably is the best thing! You don’t need the temptation of hours of insta-stalking and your gut knows what she’s talking about.)
Unsubscribe or change preferences for one newsletter everyday
My unread message count on my Mail app used to be one that would make people exclaim, “oh my god HOW do you live like that?!?!?” As my best friend always says, “I’ve got bigger fish to fry over here.”
I wish I could say one morning I woke up and thought to myself how lovely and proactive it might be to declutter my inbox, but the truth is my cleansing happened in response to Google warning me: Inbox full. Please clear space or you will no longer be able to receive emails.
Well that certainly caught my attention! I searched through my inbox, checked entire pages of emails and threw those suckers into the virtual trash can. But first, I unsubscribed to anything that I just click on to mark it “read” and never actually read.
Rather than doing it all at once, I recommend unsubscribing to your stressful/annoying/negative emails. Not mine though! hehe 🙂 unless my content doesn’t provide you a little levity or value, then please do! Your inbox shouldn’t attack you in the morning; Marie Kondo that shit and clean out anything that is unnecessary or doesn’t spark joy!
If you’re looking for more suggestions on how to quell your digital dependencies, watch the Social Dilemma. As always please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments; this conversation is an important one to have!
Peace n blessings,