Why you Should Declutter Your Social Media
I never thought I would do a social media declutter but this is one area of my life I completely overlooked. Ironically, I have never been someone addicted to my phone or consuming social media, I even wrote my Masters Dissertation about the causes of internet addiction because it worries me so much! However, recently I have found myself spending hours of my time, staring at my phone, wondering where my day has gone. I also find my feeds on Instagram and Facebook are affecting my mental health at times. The inspiration for doing a social media declutter came after reading “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero; here she explains how the media you consume has an impact on your self-esteem and the vibrations you let out into the world.
I don’t want this to turn into a, I am so enlightened and better than you because I did a social media detox. I’m definitely not, I also wouldn’t call this a detox. I simply want to be a bit more productive and self-aware of how I am spending my time. I am also trying to rediscover myself, my hobbies and excitement for life. I want to show you how I am doing this.
Setting Boundaries with Others and Yourself
Conversely, when it comes to social media and being on my phone, I am infamously that friend that never picks up a call and I am a bit lazy with social media. Being an introvert made me an expert in setting these kinds of boundaries! So, I can tell you, if you feel a lot of pressure to always pick up a phone call and reply instantly, don’t. No one ever gets upset with me for getting back to them at a later time; just don’t flat out ignore people. If you treat yourself and others with respect, they will do the same for you. If you have a friend or relative that expects you to get back to them straight away, you may need to set some boundaries.
Where I need to set boundaries are with myself; I don’t want to keep wasting my day doing activities that do not make me happy. I do now have to spend a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram researching for this website. However, I would like to do this in a more purposeful way, by scheduling time for research, not mindlessly scrolling Instagram reels.
Your phone in general can be a major distraction, I have created a phone declutter checklist and guide here to make your phone less distracting.
Consider the Content you are Consuming
The News, Influencers, music, TV shows, Facebook groups and pages, blogs and emails are constantly bombarding us with information. It is vital to be aware of what we are consciously or subconsciously consuming for our own wellbeing. Consider following this media declutter challenge for a week.
Social Media Declutter: Facebook
One of the things I took away from You are a Badass is that I really need to stop self-deprecating humour; I can’t deny that I find it funny to laugh at myself, but I don’t think it is helping my self-esteem and belief in my abilities. I follow so many groups on pages on Facebook, that share memes, laughing at my several diagnosis’ – it made me feel understood. I am not reprehending these as I believe they are great for normalising mental illness and can be helpful for self-esteem. For me however, they feel like a constant reminder of the bad parts of my past. I don’t want to keep putting myself in a box and making these diagnosis’ my identity.
I want to replace these pages and groups for other things that I find funny, hobbies that excite me and people who inspire me. Look through your feed and intentionally think about how the page’s content is making you feel. Consider unfollowing them if it is not a good feeling.
Social Media Declutter: Instagram & Youtube
There is a fine line between an influencer being inspirational vs being toxic for beauty/productivity standards; and these standards differ for everyone. If someone makes you feel bad about yourself because their standards are completely unrealistic to your life, or you just don’t believe in their standards, consider unfollowing them. However, if you find their content motivational and inspirational that is great, keep following them.
News & TV
Be conscious of reading the news, particularly when you first wake up or are about to go to bed. Consuming News at these times have been linked with anxiety, stress and sleeping problems; it doesn’t help to think about terrible events before you go to bed. The same goes for TV shows, I find I watch way too much TV lately and I don’t like it. I love a good documentary but sometimes, I could do without the 5-hour binge of an unsolved crime case, it just puts me in a weird place. You could think about cancelling some TV subscriptions to reduce the temptation of binge watching.
This research cited that the average person spends 82 hours per week consuming information, which is about 69% of our waking hours. This is 90x more than the average person in the 1940’s. When I read this, I’m not surprised I can’t remember a conversation I had yesterday. Any opportunity to quieten the noise of pointless information is a good thing. One easy way to do this is to sort out your emails and unsubscribe from promotional emails convincing you to buy things you don’t need. Keep only mail subscriptions from services you need, find useful or interesting.
This is the part I was excited about. I have had a Spotify account since 2011 and a playlist that I started back then. It is filled with all genres that have followed me through my various phases. I have playlists designed for moods, like sad and manic. I couldn’t wait to delete my sad music playlist, aptly named “Pity Party” – I think that says it all really.
I am over feeling sorry for myself; I am ready to fill my life up with things that make me happy and excited to be alive. I went through all my playlists, removing songs that made me feel low and made new playlists with songs that gave me energy and motivation. It might sound excessive but it is really working.
What Makes you want to get out of Bed in the Morning?
Unlike other declutters, where it is important to not let other things back into your home, I feel this is different. Social media is an excellent tool to explore the world, your interests and identity. I think it is important to really think about what gets you excited in life and start filling your timeline and feeds with content that makes you feel great. This is not so you spend even more time on social media, it is to inspire you to get off of it and do something worthwhile.
Write a list of things that interest you and get very specific: music, fashion, sports, careers, arts, philosophy, health, food, cooking, literature, nature.
Design your life; If you want to be a baker, start following bakers and pages about baking. Surround yourself with inspiration and put yourself in the circles of people that are doing the things that you want to do. Intentionally watch TV shows that inspire you, read good news stories, fill your Pinterest boards with inspiration. You get the idea, lets get excited to get out of the bed in the morning!
Restrict Your Media Use
All this being said, be conscious of the time you are spending in front of a screen. In the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, one way he explains you can become aware of habits you want to change is by logging your activity throughout a day; Write down everything you do in a day on a timeline to see how many hours you are spending in front of a screen. Think about what you could be doing differently and what positive activities you could be replacing that time with.
If anyone has any music, TV and movie suggestions that make them feel happy, please share in the comments!