Why Cut Back?
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Ever since our forgotten MySpace days, social media has served as both a blessing and a curse. There is an infinite amount of inspirational quotes, funny memes and messages from loved ones around the world to keep your fingers moving across that iPhone keypad 24/7. But just quick as our internet addiction is to bring us warm feelings and laughs at that hilarious cat photo your friends tagged you in, it can bring stress, anxiety and major FOMO—which can make you feel burnt out when you least expect it. Being mindful about your everyday use can help you balance your real life from the one you've created. Taking small steps towards that mindfulness can make a big difference in the long run.
Take Advantage Of Notification Alerts
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You know how it is: you grab your phone as soon as you step out of that meeting or appointment and you frantically scroll through all your social media accounts to see if you missed that cool new recipe your friend tagged you in or a direct message from your boo. Although your notifications are something to look forward to, it's easy to get sucked into an endless scrolling session. To avoid this, set up notification alerts so you can know when the important people in your life tag and message you. That way you can avoid checking Instagram every five seconds unnecessarily.
Invest In A Tech Accessory
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Ever missed six calls in a row from an angry best friend trying to contact you? Sometimes we put our phones aside to spend some quality time away from electronics only to return to a couple of important calls and texts—something that ironically wouldn't happen if you did have your phone in your pocket. Smart accesories offer you the convenience of being notified with you have an important call, message, or calendar reminder, without the option to endlessly scroll through pictures of somebody else's day. You can even set up alerts for notifications from your most used apps, so you can know as soon as your Uber or food delivery is arriving... No need to fidget around with your phone while waiting for that important alert.
Take a 'Pinterest' Approach to Everything
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The overload of inspirational quotes, funny memes and restaurant recommendations on your feed can be extremely overwhelming to say the least. When you do find that special gem on Facebook or Twitter, screenshot it and save it in a special camera roll folder so you can go back to the content that truly moved, entertained or inspired you without having to virtually rummage through 50 selfies and sponsored ads to find it. On Instagram, you can also 'bookmark' useful posts so you can access them whenever you need to.
Take Small Breaks
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If you use your phone for work or rely on certain apps for getting your daily dose of news and information, its easy to feel guilty from taking a social media break. But not only is it essential for your mental and physical health to take a breather from your Twitter addiction, it's much easier than you think. "Put your phone in your desk when you eat your lunch and leave your phone in the car when you run an errand." suggests Cheryl Jones, keynote speaker, author and Behavior Change Specialist at The Mindful Path. "Breathe and notice how this feels. Discover how this changes your experience." So instead of commenting on photos while on line to pick up your dry cleaning, take the time to people-watch, think about the relaxing night you have planned, or chat with the person behind you.
Don't Use It As A Distraction
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We're all guilty of scrolling through our Facebook feeds or indulging in some much-needed Pinterest inspo whenever we need to kill some time. But using phone apps as a way to entertain yourself can easily turn into a bad, addictive habit. "What we don't realize is that every time we distract ourselves with the use of social media, we weaken our ability to focus," says Jones. "Spending so much time on our smartphones actually causes more anxiety and stress." So instead of turning to your phone every time you want to distance yourself from that upcoming assignment, schedule some time to read a book, meditate, or work out before turning your thoughts back to the tasks at hand. You'll feel recharged and ready to focus instead of drained and guilty.
Keep A Journal
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When you spend less time worrying about the amount of 'likes' you got on a photo, social can automatically become less important to you. Consider taking up a journal to record how certain aspects of using social media made you feel. Did you feel jealous seeing a model's photoshopped bikini photos? Did you come across an update from an old high school friend that you miss and want to reach out to? Writing down the whirlpool of emotions you feel can help you keep the important things in perspective and help you think of real solutions to any mixed feelings you come across.