Quitting Social Media Does Not Help – Learn How to Stop Your Social Media Addiction

“I will stop going to this place” – often, we resort to complete cut-off instead of slowing things down. There are so many things that we stop doing – we stop talking to a relative, to a friend, to a neighbour. We stop going to some places. We stop eating sweets altogether instead of limiting it. And these days, people are quitting social media altogether instead of slowing down or limiting its usage. That the problem exists is the truth.

But many do not realize this and others do not know how to resolve it. While some quit the social media altogether, others remove the apps from their smartphones and there are only some who actually limit the usage.

Why quitting social media will not help?

There’s this simple analogy. Think that you are on a weight-loss diet. And social media is like unhealthy food. Viewing social media is like binging. You do not understand where to stop. And literally, one wafer leads to another and so on. So, if you hide that packet of wafers, will it help? It will always be on the back of your mind that it exists somewhere and calling out your name. This means you have not overcome the habit of binging.

To really overcome it, you need to grab that packet, eat just one wafer, and keep it back at the same place in the pantry. Similarly, not buying that wafer packet at all will also not help. Purchase it, keep it in the pantry and then do not binge. Yes, it is difficult. But this is the real test. Similarly, when you realize that you are binging on social media, do not quit. You stay put and decide not to check it multiple times in a day.

Quitting social media will not help at all. When everyone around you is on social media, you would like to stay in the loop, especially when you have not overcome the habit. It is just that you have deleted the account. You will be tempted to know what is happening but you will have to channelize that energy. It is very difficult, you know that, right?

The directly proportional relation

I will tell you a secret here. The lesser you check the updates the lesser there will be the need to. Did you get this? For instance, you were not able to check your Whatsapp account for some reason for the entire day. When you actually get to check it in the evening, there would not be much in there to check. The reason being, that you might have talked to the people if it was urgent. And similarly, other people would have also called you instead of sending messages. And when this happens constantly for a week, people will realize that you are not much online and hence, they try to get in touch with you through a call. This is true for Facebook as well. When you do not check the updates regularly, you just skim through the messages quickly instead of analyzing each one of them.

Also Read: 10 Things to Do For a Better Life – Disconnect Internet, Reconnect Happiness

How to begin limiting the use of social media?

The very first step is to find out how much social media you are using in the span of a day or even an hour if you are addicted. Every time you take your smartphone in your hand and click on facebook or any other similar social media account to check the updates, you need to strike one in your diary. This will really help you find out how much are you addicted. The limit is to use social media just twice a day if it is for leisure and pleasure. Oh, this does not hold true if you are Mark Zuckerberg’s assistant and it is your job to keep a tap on social media. Jokes apart (I have to write this because sometimes my one-liners are hard to understand) if you are using social media many times a day, then you should do something about it. Once again, I ask you not to quit.

What I will not ask you to do to cure social media addiction!

  • I will not ask you to quit social media
  • I will not ask you to join some classes
  • I will not ask you to learn to balance
  • I will not ask you to meditate

My approach to getting out of social media addiction

Yes, on a smaller level I was addicted to social media. I liked checking whether someone texted me something funny. I did not check group chats or jokes but I got addicted to personal chats. I wanted to find out people with whom I lost touch with and text them. This sounds interesting and weird at the same time, right! But this habit made me quite antsy. Now, let us see, how we can change ourselves in this pro-social media world, one step at a time.

Skim the contacts on social media

This is the very first and the very important thing that should be done. So, you met a lady in the supermarket and you two gelled instantly. Both of you add each other on the social media account. And it has been years today that you two did not chat. You need to set rules on whom to add to your social media account and give an access to your personal life. And even if you do, you need to skim the contacts on a regular basis as well. This is not just for curing the addiction, but also for your safety.

What will happen when you skim the contacts? – the likes and comments on your posts will decrease drastically. This means that you do not have to reply to them individually. Dadang!!! Time saved. Further, lesser the number of ‘friends’ on your social media account, the lesser the updates are, the lesser you will have to like and comment. Interesting, isn’t this? Ultimately, you are less antsy to check the updates. Further, please do not remove those ‘friends’ whose posts light up your day in some way, even if you are not much in touch. Also, please make sure that you do not accept the request of anyone and everyone (even if you know the person for a long time, you should judge whether that person needs to be on your social media as well).

Skim the platforms as well

There are so many platforms and groups and communities that you follow on social media. Every once in a while, you need to take out some time and remove them from the list. This will make you feel lighter and the burden of checking their updates as well is relieved. I just did that while writing the post. It feels better, believe me!

Decide the time and duration

This is slightly difficult to do. For those who are checking it every now and then, this is next to impossible. However, you will have to decide the time slot when you will check the social media. You will also need to decide the duration for which you will be socially active online. Now, the catch is you cannot adjust the timings. So, if you decide that you will check social media for half an hour every morning and suppose, there are no new updates at that point of time, by no means, you can postpone this time. You cannot check social media account in the afternoon again for the same time duration. This will be counted as cheating. You will have to check the account only in the next decided slot. Do not crib, that is the deal!

Number of posts allowed

This is quite subjective. There are some who do not post anything at all and even then they are addicted to social media; then there are others who post thrice a day, yet they are not active on social media. The point that I am trying to make over here is social media addiction is not judged on the basis of the number of posts you do in a day. But if you are one of those who yearn to see how many people liked your posts, then you need to limit the post thrice a week rather than daily.

Checking the forwards

Forwards – this is how addiction begins. In order to make social media work, the owners make sure that the forwards aka funny videos, messages and rumors spread like a wildfire. Make sure that you do not download every video, read memes and messages. Also, do not forward them like it is very important for others to see those. What I have done is made settings that videos and images do not download automatically. This has helped me in skimming the messages. It also saves my time.

Online and real social life

The problem is that people treat online social media and real-life social media quite differently. While people are cautious in making real-life friends, they add people instantly online. And this gradually makes such people a different personality altogether. The catch is to treat online social life on the same terms as the real-life one. Do you comment on every person you meet in your neighbourhood? The same holds true online. It is not your responsibility to like and comment on every pic. Likewise, one should not be rude even online or post nasty comments. It is easy to advise online. So, unless and until asked personally, you need not advise people.

Checking social media in public

Ahaan! This is very important, folks! Our smartphones are like our pets. They accompany us wherever we go. And nowadays, people even carry their smartphones to their loos – so a step further to the pets. However, I have a rule here. I do not carry it to the washroom, bathroom or kitchen. I do not carry my smartphones on outings. I make sure that I do not check social media updates when I am in the park – I watch people chat, kids play and birds chirp. I do not check the updates in the mall or while waiting for the taxi to arrive. I also do not check when I am travelling. I do not allow even my toddler to watch videos while she is getting bored in a cab or a restaurant. Instead, I observe people around me during such times and make sure that my kiddo gets in a similar habit. I also make sure that my phone is many yards away from me when I am with my family. All this will assure that you have a good time without your smartphone.

And Finally…

Happiness is just around the corner, waiting for you with open arms. Happiness does not result from people liking you online. It is all about quality friends that you make in real life. Just like you assure that your real friends are maintained, make sure that your online friends are, as well. Instead of stopping the bad habit altogether, take stock of your life. Quitting social media will be foolish. You need to take control of your life, withdraw yourself from addiction and move ahead!

How New Moms Can Avoid Postpartum Depression and Stay Happy in the World of Social Media

New Moms Can Avoid Postpartum Depression

Shanon is a mother of a 2 year old. Being a working professional, she was not much active on social media earlier, but the last phase of pregnancy made her addicted to it. She had not much to do and hence, most of her time was spent either on Facebook or Instagram. Earlier, she used to stalk new mothers and how they were spending their time. However, gradually stalking became a habit. The situation aggravated when she delivered. The more she checked out other people having fun on Facebook, the more she felt bad about her situation. She started thinking that she would be left out of fun if she is not able to match her steps with the world. This made her a prey of postpartum depression. Not only she, but also her daughter faced the consequences.

Earlier, pregnancy and delivery was not quite taxing. With many families staying together, new mothers had lots of mental support. They could vent their feelings to other mothers, who in turn explained their phase and the hardships they faced during motherhood. Moreover, new mothers did not even get much time to rest due to the burden of work. This made pregnancy and delivery just a part and parcel of regular life. The most required thing that new mothers need is attention, not just physically but even socially. This thing is missing in today’s life, when most of the people get busy with social media, the moment they have some time in hand. Hence, postpartum depression has become a reality.

In this world of social media, how can a new mother stay away from negativity and hurt? Here are some revelations and ways that will help you cope better.

1. Think About the ‘Real Picture’

If you are asked to post a picture of your baby on ‘Facebook’, what would be the post about? Probably, it would be about her ‘first smile’, her ‘first step’ or how she winks. Will you post the pictures wherein she pooped while you held the camera? Without a second thought, no. Then, how can you expect other mothers to post about sad things. Social media has the idealized versions of real people. There is nothing bad it seems when we see their pictures. They are roaming around the world with the baby; their baby seems to be eating everything that the hotel has to offer and many such good things. However, while scrolling the accounts of these ‘happy mothers’, new mothers are not aware about their lives and the hardships they might have faced. Here, I do not mean that you start finding faults in their lifestyles. It is just a reminder that life is not perfect and comparison steals away precious moments of the present.

2. Too Much Exposure is a Bad Thing Too

Do you know everyone personally on your social media account? Most probably, you do not. However, you are aware of everything that is happening in their lives. You might have just bumped into that pregnant lady while travelling in a train. You befriended her on Facebook because you two had something in common. After this, you ‘friends’ never met again. In spite of this, you know everything that she does or eats or watches. At times, too much information about somebody too poses a problem. You should not delve deeper into the lives of others. Keep your scrolling to minimum. But the main advice is ‘not’ to befriend anyone or everyone you know, on Facebook. The limited friends will not fill your life with extra information, giving you extra time with your baby.

3. Expectations is the Root Cause of Misery

Your best friend is a new mother, just like you. The other day she posted a pic of the celebrations of first monthly birthday of her baby. Her husband surprised her with cake and they all had fun (or that’s what it seemed from the pictures). This incident made you expect the same from your husband. On your son’s first ‘monthly’ birthday, you waited for your husband to surprise you with a cake. Nothing of this happened. And this was the root cause of misery and sadness. Such incidents could lead you to postpartum depression. I know the other side of the story. The friend who shared a picture of cake with her one-month old daughter had herself ordered a cake, but described the picture as a ‘surprise’. What say? I remember the climax of ‘The Necklace’ story by Guy de Maupassant. Do not go by the ‘descriptions’ or the ‘happy pictures’ on the social media. You are not aware of the other side of their lives.

4. ‘Unfriend’ those Who Demean You

‘You look so fat in the pictures with your baby’ or ‘Ah! You got acne post-delivery!’ or ‘Your baby doesn’t look as beautiful as you’. Such comments are so common when you post pictures of your baby. While your ‘friends’ will say good things in the comments below the picture, they will personally message you to give you ‘honest’ reviews. Firstly, it is common that mothers put on weight post pregnancy. Many celebrity mothers have too. Do not feel bogged down by weight issues. When you deliver a baby, your skin, hair, nails, and overall health face issues on one level or the other. And initially babies do not look picture perfect. They are like a bud that is blossoming at its own pace. A bud cannot be termed ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’. So, do not pay heed to what other people have to say about you or your baby. All this is a trap to make you fall into postpartum depression.

5. Self-care is More ‘Important’ Now

This precious time will never return. You will not be able to hug your baby as much as you do now. Indulging too much social media drains away your time and energy. Invest this time instead in your baby and self-care. Social media is quite addictive. If you plan to spend just 15 minutes, it turns into a pretty half an hour, without you realizing it. Stop staring at that small screen and grab some essential oils and massage your hair. Next day, warm some water and soak your feet. You could do so many things if you chuck social media on some days. If you do not want to indulge in taking care of your beauty, just sleep close to your baby. You will love this time. It even minimizes your anxiety and keeps you miles away from depression.

In the end

I am not asking you to chuck social media all together. But, I am advising you to do it consciously. Keep a tap on your feelings. Do not get over-excited or over-hurt by others’ posts. Remember that social media is ephemeral. If you really like the picture of your friend’s baby, call her and enquire about her health. Plan a rendezvous and talk about your babies. There is nothing like face-to-face chats. Happiness is just a call away. You can be the support system you expect from others. Be the ‘happy mother’ you always desired to be.

What are your thoughts on this? Let’s discuss it on the comments section.