By Home and Lifestyle Editor Helena Zachariassen
You matter. I matter. People matter.
I took some time off social media this summer. It wasn’t really intended, it just happened and to be honest, it was needed too. It was for the best of reasons. Real life meetings. We went home to Finland for a full month and celebrated life. Meeting, (re)connecting, laughing, crying, sharing meals, saunas and sunsets, drinking way too much bubbly and catching up on all things crazy human and beyond. At first I felt a rush of guilt shower over me for leaving my business account unattended until one day when I couldn’t feel anything but calm. I had silenced the constant chatter and created space in my mind and my heart for what matters most.
The usage of technology and social media is a huge benefit as well as an enormous challenge for our society as a whole. I really enjoy being creative on Instagram, connecting with people and inspiring others and being inspired in return, but at the same time it’s a love-hate relationship too. I hope this short guide below inspires you to declutter, setting limits and boundaries for your own health and wellbeing in times of constant digital availability.
#1 Setting limits and boundaries for your own wellbeing
If we want technology to be helpful instead of painful, we need to set clear boundaries. Both for ourselves and our kids. Lead by example and show your offspring that you’re making real life connections a priority, every day. Use screen time limiting apps or any other solutions that you feel comfortable with.
Which areas of your life and home should be off limits for any tech devices? In my family it’s the dinner table and all bedrooms. An old fashioned alarm clock works just fine for waking you up anyway. Instead of checking emails first thing in the morning, give yourself permission to spend that first special golden hour without any devices and you’ll notice how gratefully your mood and body react to the calm start of the day.
Another healthy option is to set up a joint charging station and a shut off time for screens every night at a certain time to give way for more in-person connectivity time. At least my kids start talking like crazy when they’re tucked in and about to fall asleep, no external stimuli disturbing their deepest thoughts and feelings.
#2 Declutter: deactivate, delete and downshift
When was the last time you did a digital clear out? If it’s been a while the following check list might be worth looking through. And remember, digital and social media decluttering needs ongoing maintenance, like any household. By incorporating a few habits into your schedule you’ll be able to reduce your digital footprint and get an organised and easy to care for digital life.
- Reflect on your ideal network. What kind of social media network do you want? What kind of connections make you feel your best? Keep only the good ones and those you really like.
- Deactivate and delete any unused and forgotten accounts. Hint: search your email for any welcome emails to see if you’re subscribed to sites you don’t use anymore. You may also do a check for (compromised) passwords, these passwords might be very old, and often belong to unused sites and platforms.
- Delete any followers/profiles who look like scam or are uninteresting to you. Check them out and delete relentlessly any suspicious ones.
- Turn off social media notifications. The lack of beeping will instantly improve your concentration and quality of work and life.
- Downshift your social media usage. For example: limit the amount of platforms you’re active on to max 2. No more social media after dinner and only 30 mins per day in total. Make sure you get a sparring partner to help you out and to hold you accountable for your choices.
#3 Be aware of the biggest time thieves and take action
Mindless scrolling doesn’t make anyone happy, it only triggers feeling of guilt. There are functions on your phone where you can check your usage as well as limit your usage for a certain app, give these a go so you know exactly which apps are the biggest thieves. If you already know, great!
Self discipline is your best friend when it comes to freeing up time from social media. Check and be aware of how much time you’ve “lost” in the past week, month, year and make a choice for an alternative activity and time limit plan.
#4 Log off social media completely for a few weeks
This is the ultimate detox tip for you who are ready to challenge yourself to make sustainable habitual changes and get out of the hamster wheel in one go. Letting it all go and trusting that everything you need will still be provided outside of social media. Let your friends know in advance and enjoy the freedom. The first days are the hardest, then it becomes easier day by day. Slowly you’ll reach a state of inner calm, where all the mental clutter has vanished.
#5 Use social media with intention and clarity
Reflect on your social media use. You don’t need to delete all social media apps in one go (unless you want to!) but be conscious and aware of what eats up your time every day. Ask yourself why you want to check social media? And if you had x hours more, what could you possibly spend those hours on instead? And why?
If you have your business on social media make a detailed and clear plan of how to use it, when and why. Having clear intentions of how social media should work for you, and not the other way around, contributes to a greater sense of contentment and happiness. And it spreads into any area of your life when you allow your intuition to speak freely to your intentions.
Welcome back to work and school – enjoy getting back to routines again!
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To read posts from July, click here