How to Create Intentional Boundaries with Social Media
I love social media. Social media has afforded me so many things like the courage to start this blog, free advertising for my photography business, and some amazing friendships. As funny as it sounds to say, I can't imagine my life without it. At the same time, I've realized that it's important to establish boundaries with social media because too much of anything (even a good thing) is not good. When I don't monitor how much time I spend online, I often find myself wondering where the rest of my day went and I'll sometimes get in a crabby mood from looking at everyone else's "amazing" online lives. Social media is a great tool, but a poor master. If you want to create a healthier relationship with social media, read on.
Here are five ways to create intentional boundaries with social media:
Become aware of how much time you're spending on your phone. If someone asked me how much time I thought I spend on my phone per day, I might say an hour and a half or so, but boy did I underestimate my screen time. On the iPhone, you can actually see how much time you spend on average on your phone each day. If you go to your Settings and click Screen Time, you can see exactly how much time you're spending on this addicting little device. I just checked my screen time and my daily average right now is 3 hours and 14 minutes! Yikes. Which brings me to my next tip...
Set time limits on your social media apps. Did you know that if you have an iPhone you can set limits on how long you can be on social media? Simply go to Settings, Screen Time, and App Limits. You can set a time limit for any app you want. If you only want to be on Instagram or Facebook for 30 minutes a day, for instance, you can set that time limit. Setting time limits will help you take your time back to spend on other things in your life.
Don't post in real time. I used to believe that I had to post on social media as things were happening otherwise it didn't count or something, but this is definitely not the case. Feel free to take photos or videos of your experiences, but then put your phone away and actually be in the moment to enjoy the experience. You can post on social media after the fact and no one will know the difference (or care).
Marie Kondo who you're following. Have you heard of or read the bestselling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo? In this book, Marie Kondo encourages her readers to let go of any possessions that no longer bring them joy. For example, if you have a pair of pants that don't fit well and you're not happy when you try them on, ditch them! I completely agree with her philosophy and I think it can also apply to social media. If you notice your mood negatively changing when you see photos or posts from a certain account, you might want to unfollow them (AKA: Marie Kondo them). If you have people in your life who you don't want to unfollow because it seems too drastic but you also don't want to see their content right now, you can always mute them on Instagram.
Take one day off social media per week. This is probably the hardest tip to implement, but it's so worth it because it's truly life-changing. I started taking Sundays off social media at the start of this year, and I've found myself feeling lighter, more present, and I have more time to do other things I really care about like reading or writing blog posts like these! If you give it a try, I don't think you'll regret it.
Creating new boundaries can be difficult and uncomfortable at first, so don't give yourself a hard time if you slip up and find yourself mindlessly scrolling at times. The important thing is to do your best at catching yourself when you're spending more time than you'd like on these apps, and make a conscious decision to put your screen down and focus on something else that you care about.