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Take Control of Your Social Media Habit: 10 Signs and Tips

Social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are designed to keep us coming back for more. The endless scroll, the notifications, and the fear of missing out play right into our human psychology. But for many of us, our social media use has spiraled out of control.

Person Holding Iphone Showing Social Networks Folder
Source: Pexels

We reach for our phones first thing in the morning and last thing at night. We can't make it through a meal, a meeting, or even a few minutes waiting in line without checking the apps. This constant connection takes a toll on our productivity, mental health, relationships, and more.

If this sounds familiar, it's time to regain control of your social media habits. Here are 10 signs you need to take a break—and 10 ways to start scrolling less right now:

10 Signs You Need a Social Media Detox

A person anxious looking at their smartphone

  1. You feel anxious when you can't check your feeds. The fear of missing something important has you on edge. The horror!

  2. You lose track of time once you start scrolling. You intend to spend just a few minutes, but suddenly, a few hours have passed.

  3. Your productivity takes a nosedive whenever your apps are open. Those notifications are just too tempting! So much for those tasks you were supposed to get done.

  4. You have trouble enjoying real-world activities without documenting them online. Concerts, meals out, time with friends—it's not fully real until you've posted about it.

  5. Your sleep schedule is out of whack. The blue light emitted from your devices at night delays your bedtime. Or worse, you can't tear yourself away and end up staying up all night. So much for getting some sleep before work!

  6. You feel irritated if you have spotty internet access, a low phone battery, or an event where you won't be able to use your phone. How will you get your fix?

  7. Your friends and family complain about your social media distraction. You're physically present but mentally checked out and not spending time with them. So sad!

  8. You feel inadequate when you compare your life to the carefully curated highlights you see others post. You do know that 90% of that is fabricated, right?

  9. You've tried cutting back before and have maybe even uninstalled the app altogether, but the fear of missing out always sucks you back in.

  10. Your phone is the first thing you look at in the morning and the last thing you look at before bed. No day feels complete until you've scrolled. Congratulations, you're officially a robot!

If several of these signs resonate with you, it's time for a reset.

10 Ways to Regain Control From Social Media

A person reading a book by the ocean

  1. Delete tempting apps from your home screen. Out of sight, out of mind.

  2. Turn off all non-essential notifications. Only allow necessary apps like texts or phone calls to notify you.

  3. Set your screen to grayscale. Removing all colors makes apps less tempting to scroll through.

  4. Designate tech-free times. Such as during meals, one hour before bed, or your first hour at home after work.

  5. Leave your phone across the room while working. You'll take fewer breaks to check it.

  6. Find an engrossing offline hobby. Get into a good book, take up puzzles, or start a new DIY project.

  7. Hang out with friends who don't just scroll. Do activities together that keep your hands busy and your eyes up, like hiking, games, bowling, or concerts.

  8. Go for notifications-free streaks. See how many days you can go without non-essential pings.

  9. Delete social media apps for a period of time. Try a week, two weeks, or a month without them. I promise you'll feel so much better!

  10. When you reinstall, remove feeds that don't serve you. Unfollow accounts that make you feel envy, anxiety, or inadequacy.

You Can Do It!

A smartphone getting run over by a car

Regaining balance and control with social media starts with awareness. Pay attention to when and why you reach for your phone. Are you bored? Stressed? Lonely? Seeking attention from irrelevant sources? Finding healthier alternatives can prevent mindless scrolling.

While occasional digital detoxes are great, this isn't about cutting out social media altogether. Used intentionally, these apps can have value for keeping up with friends or discovering new ideas. It's all about being more mindful, so tech supports your life rather than constantly distracting from it.

You have the power to develop healthier social media habits that work for you. Don't let these platforms control how you spend your precious time and attention. Take back your power to live—not just scroll—through life and be the best you possible!

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