First off, kudos to you for wanting to step away from your screens and have a bit of a social media detox. For most of us, stepping away from our devices is tough because we are keeping up with clients, friends and family on social media. However, no matter who you are or what you do, we can all SLOW OUR SCROLL and be more present in our lives!
5 Tips to Slow Your Scroll – How to Complete a Social Media Detox
Tip 1: Bring awareness to when and why you scroll
The first step of slowing down your scroll and detoxing from social media is to identify where and why you struggle with your scrolling. This will look very different from person to person, so the best first step is to get an overview of your personal screen time use.
There are a few different ways to learn this information:
- On an iPhone, go to Settings –> Screen Time to view your data and set your daily limits!
- On an Android you’ll head to Digital Wellbeing
- If you want more info or data to explore, you can download a free app such as Moment or ZenScreen which will track your use for you and give more reporting insights!
Bonus tip: Set a realistic goal for yourself and share it
I highly, highly, highly, encourage you to set a usage goal for yourself for this social media detox. Your phone has been tracking your use for a while, so take a peek at the trends and set a goal from your own data.
For me, my phone use was right at 6 hours/day before I did my first detox, so my goal was get it under 5 hours. To do that, I knew I needed to make my “downtime” about an hour longer so I changed that setting in my “screen time” app to be from 8:00 pm to 7:00 am! This was a tangible step for me to take, and it helped to get my daily use down.
I suggest you get specific when setting your goal, and be sure to share it with someone (or write it down) in order to be more successful! If you want me to be your accountability buddy, I would love that!
Shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tip 2: Create space from your device
Now that you’ve started to identify where and why you struggle with your scrolling by taking a closer look at your usage yesterday, it’s time to start implementing some changes. The room in which you sleep should be a relaxing and calming space. It should be free from distractions and things that induce anxiety or stress.
Your bedroom is MOST LIKELY a place where you are doing a lot of your scrolling (either mindlessly or purposefully). We are going to change that and here’s why…
In addition to causing extra stress depending on the type of scrolling done at bedtime, the blue light that is emitted from our devices (phones, tablets, TVs) has been shown in recent studies to inhibit the production of melatonin.
Melatonin is the “sleep hormone”, and we need plenty of it to fall asleep at bedtime and stay asleep through the night. Your phone use is actually biologically changing the production of the hormones being produced by your body… UMMMM YIKES!
Remove the device(s) from your “trigger space.”
If your screen use is happening in your bedroom, it is most likely because your device is always within reach. Even if you tell yourself you AREN’T going to scroll tonight, it is too tempting to have your phone charging on your night stand! It takes a lot of self-control to leave the phone by your side and NOT pick it up, and who has self control at 10 pm?!
Rather than tempt yourself, let’s remove the device(s) from the bedroom completely by creating a charging station in a different room in your house.
Some ideal charging station locations are:
- home office
- laundry room
This new location for charging will mean that you aren’t working, scrolling, posting OR stalking while in your bedroom. This is going to be a BIG change for us — but we can do it!
If you rely on your cell phone as an alarm, either get your hands on a digital alarm clock OR set your alarm on your device as normal. Then get yourself OUT OF BED in the morning to turn off your alarm when you retrieve your phone from the charging station.
This example assumes that a lot of scrolling is done in your bedroom, but maybe the primary scrolling space for you is your car or your couch. If this is the case, implement the same tips by getting your device out of that space!
Tip 3: Find 2 screen-free times during the day.
I hope you are feeling good about tracking your use (tip 1) and removing your device(s) from your trigger space (tip 2).
Now we are going to focus on daytime use and feeling less dependent on the devices that you have come to rely on heavily.
Part of the reason that you are on your phone so much is that you have been conditioned (by yourself, your job, your social circles and society) to feel like you HAVE TO BE available and connected.
The amenities and conveniences of your devices are truly incredible, but them being glued to your hands and rarely out of sight is what prompted your increased usage.
I challenge you to find TWO times during the day (before you leave your device(s) at their charging station for the night) that you will not use your phone for one hour each.
Ideally this 120 minutes would be broken into two long chunks. If you need to piece together the time to make it work, that works too!
Examples of social media break opportunities
Here are a few examples of when these hour breaks may fit into your life… Pick two or make up your own:
- Wait to look at your phone until you’ve gotten ready for the day + had your coffee
- Have a device-free lunch hour (or quiet time while your little one naps)
- Turn your phone off while on a walk, at the gym or doing your at-home workout
- Turn on “do not disturb” mode while you are driving and leave it in the back seat
- Set it in the laundry room while you prepare and eat dinner
- Heck, you can even put your phone into your purse while in a work meeting on airplane mode
Remember that you are looking for 2 hours today of device-free time. I know you can find the place and space to make this happen even if it means pushing outside of your comfort zone.
Depending on what your day-to-day life looks like, I realize that this may be VERY hard. In my own life I have found myself wondering how I am going to do this one when my calendar is booked with client calls, IG stories, Voxer walkie talkie messages to support my team, social media planning and blogging… It’s a true challenge sometimes!
BUT I make time because I don’t want to be on my devices all day. I don’t want to feel completely consumed by and dependent on them. Are you ready for the freedom that will come from less screen time? I know you are! Let’s detox!
Tip 4: Turn off your notifications
I know it’ll be tricky to step away from your device for 2 total hours during the day. I hope you can make the time today. And if not… There’s always another chance today.
This next tip is pretty straight forward but can make a BIG difference in cutting overall use. Consider this one “easy” compared to the tips above. If you were ready for a simple task from me… Here ya go!
Take a few minutes to go into the settings on your device(s) and TURN OFF your notifications/alerts.
Here are a few of the “big hitters” that might be worth removing from your list:
- Social media (IG, FB, Twitter, Snapchat)
- Search apps (Google, Pinterest, Yahoo)
- Messaging (Texts, FB Messenger, WhatsApp)
And if you are feeling REALLY motivated (or needing some more restrictions to get started), try removing the most time consuming apps from your phone or tablet and just using full-site mode when on your laptop or desktop.
This is one of those “out of sight, out of mind” exercises. If that little red alert isn’t popping up so much, you will be MUCH LESS LIKELY to open the apps unnecessarily.
Tip 5: Create a power-down hour list for yourself
I would LOVE for you to take some time now (or over the next couple of days) to create a list, chart, graphic, drawing, etc of things you can do in the ONE HOUR before bed that we will refer to as the Power Down Hour.
It is recommended by adult sleep experts (that’s me!) that we spend the one hour leading up to bedtime screen-free.
Remember above in tip 2 when I shared with you some facts about the impact that blue light from devices is having on the production of certain hormones?
Well… If you can remain device-free heading into bedtime, you have a shot at your body being MORE READY FOR BED than if you are on your device up until you close your eyes.
So, let’s make a little list of things you can do before bed (in the hour without your device) as part of your bedtime routine.
Just like with your detox goal, if you write this one down, you will be more likely to follow through and to remember the things you want to do during this time, which will make you more likely to NOT pick up your phone and aimlessly scroll. Plus, it’s been a while since you pulled out your markers, stickers and other crafty stuff.
Here are some ideas for your screen-free bedtime routine list:
You are now ready for a social media detox!
I am proud of you for putting down your device every now and again!
Cheers to getting good sleep as a result!
Brittney Stefanic is a whole-family certified sleep consultant and founder of Sleeper Teachers Sleep Consulting. As mom boss building a virtual business, she gets that it can be really hard to step away from the devices. But as a sleep educator, Brittney knows the importance of social media breaks and screen-free time! Brittney and her team love educating and supporting families around the world in finding sleep solutions through their customized sleep plans. You can follow the teachers on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook @thesleeperteachers for access to their sleep tips + tricks and opportunities for free sleep Q&A sessions.
Wow what an article. I have to make sure I follow the rules myself! I’m sort of imposing a social media shut down after 9.30pm. I am managing my sleep better so fingers crossed I can keep this up!