There is no denying that social media has completely changed the world. From the way we consume information, stay up-to-date with news and current events, communicate, and even shop — it’s become intertwined with our daily lives.
Social media has created completely new business opportunities for many, myself included. I have several companies and every single one of them relies on social media, so I know first-hand how incredible it can be as a discovery and distribution platform.
With that being said, I also understand the importance of disconnecting from social media in order to live a healthy balanced life. Far too many people are consumed with social media, addicted to scrolling their feeds from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep in the evening.
While it can be very difficult for some to “shut off,” I’ve developed a routine that has helped me unplug and disconnect from social media. It has played a tremendous role in improving my mental well-being, focus, and clarity.
I hope that my experiences can give you some guidance and ideas to develop your own routine to disconnect. It’s not easy and it takes time to develop new habits, but once you learn how to do it the benefits become extremely noticeable.
Remove Distractions from Your Bedroom
Being well-rested is very important. The amount of sleep someone needs will vary from person to person, but regardless of how many hours that number is, those hours need to be quality sleep.
For example, six hours of deep uninterrupted sleep is going to be more beneficial than nine hours of sleep that is constantly interrupted by mobile phone notifications and waking up in the middle of the night to check social media.
I’ve found that the easiest way to eliminate those distractions is to completely remove them from the equation. I do not bring my phone or computer in my bedroom. This allows me to fall asleep without distractions and I never have the urge to check social media as I have completely removed it from my bedroom.
It will take a while for this to feel normal, as crazy as that might sound, but we have become so dependent on our mobile phones that we almost feel naked without them by our side. Leave your phone in the other room and shut your bedroom door — your sleep quality will improve so much. Waking up well-rested has many direct impacts — from your mental clarity to productivity throughout the day.
Create a Morning Routine That Doesn’t Involve Your Phone
The very first thing most people do when they wake up is to grab their phone and check social media. The sooner you can kick this habit, the better. You have to make an effort to change, so develop a morning routine that is phone-free.
When I wake up I’ll brush my teeth and wash my face and then make a small breakfast — all without reaching for my phone. I make it a point to eat my breakfast slowly, appreciating each bite.
Rather than wake up and rush to my phone, I go through this part of my morning routine with no urgency. I feel that this little bit of time sets the tone and mood for the entire day so I make it a point to remain disconnected from social media during this time.
Try to Exercise First Thing in the Morning
Daily exercise is very important and I have found that doing it early in the morning after my breakfast works the best for me. I have a workout and breathing routine that works well for me, putting me in the correct physical and mental state to take on the day.
The fact that my day involves such a high level of social media and being connected to my computer and phone is what initially led me to make an effort to start my day completely removed from it.
From managing full-time content teams for the brands my companies own, to taking back-to-back calls throughout the day and emailing business partners and advertisers, I’m “plugged in” for the majority of the day.
Whether you are deeply involved in social media for business reasons, or if you are one of the billions of worldwide users that are constantly checking your messages, notifications, feeds, remaining disconnected first thing in the morning is a gamechanger for your overall mental well-being.
Take “Technology Breaks” Throughout the Day
My day-to-day is hectic, with nonstop phone calls, emails, and other various business-related tasks. I used to feel that I had to remain plugged in throughout the day and instantly reply to every email that hit my inbox.
I make the decision that I would take “technology breaks” throughout the day, and this has proven to be very helpful. For example, when I am eating lunch I will silence my phone in order to eat in peace.
I focus on enjoying my meal, and never eat while on a call or while multitasking. Doing this might seem like a way to get more done throughout the day, but the long-term effects of this habit will wear you down.
Find a way to disconnect during the day. Whether you adapt my tip and enjoy lunch without your phone or if you leave the phone at home or on your desk and go for a walk around the block, be sure to enjoy parts of your day without being glued to social media.
Something as simple as 30 to 45 minutes of “you” time to reflect on your day can help to reduce stress and improve your mental focus.
Disconnect from Social Media an Hour Before Bed
Have you ever found yourself laying in bed with your phone two inches away from your face scrolling through social media for hours upon hours? If so, you probably also know how hard it can be to fall asleep after that.
While I don’t bring my phone into my bedroom, I also make an effort to disconnect from my phone an hour before my bedtime. I found that I am able to fall asleep much faster when I spend at least an hour relaxing without checking my phone.
You need some time to unwind and decompress. Oftentimes checking social media can trigger certain emotions — excitement, stress, etc. — that can negatively impact your rest. I found that my evenings are more enjoyable when I disconnect for an hour to just relax before bed.
Checking your phone at night can be a difficult habit to break, so do it in baby-steps if needed. Try 15 minutes first, then 30 minutes, and then 45 minutes, until you can effectively disconnect and relax for a full hour. Also, be sure to silence your phone — it’s easier to ignore it and stay disconnected when you aren’t being tempted by notification alerts.
Hold Yourself Accountable
This is the most important tip I can give you. The only way you will be able to implement this is to hold yourself accountable. It starts with you and it ends with you. I have found that keeping a daily journal helped me develop these habits.
I journal at the end of each day. This helps me identify issues that I need to address in order to stay on course. If you see that you are falling into a bad habit make a correction. If you notice that you are making progress be sure to celebrate that accomplishment.
We live in a time where we are attached to our phones constantly, and while always being connected can be convenient, it can also have negative effects on our mental health. Learn to disconnect from social media and you will see drastic improvements in several areas of your life.