lockdown 3 and breaking my social media addiction

As we are plunged into lockdown 3 almost a year after the first one, with many of us not getting much of a chance to reintegrate into society; it’s becoming really hard.

This year I came to the realisation that my relationship with my phone and social media is an unhealthy addiction which has negatively impacted my life.

I wrote about this after watching the social dilemma, in my ‘tips for lockdown 2’ blog, and in a few others since then.

Lockdown 2 was the first time I was challenged to change my relationship with my phone/social media while being isolated. This was 10x easier in comparison to lockdown 3, as during the last lockdown I was at uni which is like a commune. It was difficult to be socially unstimulated or lonely while living with 10 flatmates on a huge campus which acted as a bubble away from the rest of society.

This lockdown, I am at home in a sleepy and isolated town.

I noticed that my screen time was going up within a week of being here, so I got a job to stimulate myself socially while actually being in the world and having something to do.

Well now I have been let go… and I am struggling to meet people or socialise in a way that stimulates me.

The other day my screen time was the highest it had been in a very long time. 6 hours of my life that day was spent scrolling aimlessly, and in that time I felt my brain and my body react negatively.

My body literally felt heavier as the day went on and I became more pessimistic and unmotivated. My head felt fuzzy, full of noise, and my attention span decreased an insane amount. I had a feeling that I wasted the day entirely.

Even when I tried to snap out of it later in the day by coming off my phone, cooking a dinner, and reading a book- I felt absolute chaos in my brain from watching so much tiktok and consuming so much useless media.

I spent the whole day trying to connect with the outside world only to feel more lonely and depleted as the day went on.

So today, I have taken some steps to prevent this addiction getting out of hand again.

I deleted any remaining social media from my phone and now only have messaging apps and apps for a specific purpose (such as my uni apps or email).

I will now access social media solely through my laptop, by which I mean Instagram and facebook. Twitter is no longer a platform I want to engage with.

I do not like that I have an addiction to interaction with people, and a lack of control over who has access to me. If someone doesn’t message me back in a certain amount of time I become anxious and frustrated- and that is not normal! We as humans are not entitled to having access to people at all times, nor are they entitled to having access to us. We as people have lost security in our own company.

Having social media from such a young age I didn’t consider what a vulnerable position I was putting myself in by allowing people to have such easy access to me. Caring so much about people’s perception and wanting to share my life for validation.

I don’t like that people can access me with such ease without knowing me.

I deleted as many photos as I could bare to. My boyfriend said to me the other day “you spend so much time living in the past”, and as defensive as I wanted to be, this is true.

I can’t imagine that people with healthy, happy and productive lifestyles spend half as much time looking through old photos as I do. They live in the present and look towards what they can do with their time to invest in the future.

 I backed up my photos to google photos, made an address book of phone numbers, and manually filed any information I rely on my phone for.

This gives me assurance that I have everything I need if my phone were to smash or break- which automatically lessens the addiction. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling dependent and reliant on your phone. Know what you use it for and know how to be okay without it.

I then rearranged by phone, so mundane apps are on one page and messaging apps are on another page. I deleted all folders from my phone, any ‘default’ apps that I don’t use, and turned my phone to grayscale. I’ve read about how this helps your addiction somehow.

There are benefits to social media, and I don’t believe it will go away. But I want to learn to use it intentionally. ‘social media is good for these (3 or 4,i dont know) purposes. If I am not using it for that, I am not acting in my best interest.

The main issue I am facing now is learning to build relationships free of social media. Literally just exchanging numbers and making a connection that way, free of the fear that someone will forget about me and my existence or forget to reach out.

I believe I will build more meaningful and authentic connections this way, which is all I have ever wanted in life. I don’t need many people, just a solid community. My little tribe.

I hope to find the answers as I go on.

These are some affirmations I will be using to try and rewire my brain:

  • I have no obligation to grant people access to me 24/7
  • I am secure in my own company
  • My worth is not connected to my presence in the world
  • My worth is not connected to what I produce
  • I am connected and aware of myself and my thoughts
  • I get fulfilment and enjoyment out of learning and practicing hobbies
  • I do not need to do more than one thing at once
  • I am not wasting any time by not doing anything and being bored
  • My time is used more effectively
  • I am making more fulfilling connections by following my own intuition
  • I know where to find communities
  • I am doing this because I enjoy and value my time

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