Conquering Social Media Addiction {+ 50 Things To Do Instead of Facebook}

One {of my many} passions is the study and pursuit of productivity.

Not productivity in the sense of doing more in less time just so you can fill your precious waking hours with more things. That is the old paradigm of success and I no longer subscribe to it. I’m talking about deep focus. When you can complete what’s most important so you can fill your hours with other vital components to your life—like naps, dinner parties, dates, massages, and dabbling.

Recently, I have been thinking about social media addiction—particularly Facebook. So many of us waste hundreds, if not thousands of hours a year scrolling through our newsfeeds distracting ourselves from the present moment.

I’m guessing that studies on technology and social media addiction are currently being conducted in universities around the world, and I’ll be interested in seeing their results in the coming years. But, even without official medical diagnosis {yet}, the lure of Facebook can border on unhealthy. I have found that Facebook can have the same emotional triggers that drinking, drugs, and food can—a need to numb out.

A recent study reported that the social network’s addictive qualities are linked to low self-esteem and poor body image, particularly in women. So the combination of a need to numb with feelings of comparison against other people’s highlight reel {because, let’s be serious, what we put on Facebook is not 100% real life} creates a confusing, sad spiral that we just can’t get out of sometimes.

When I was bored or stressed at my corporate marketing job, I found myself constantly checking my Facebook feed {literally every 5 minutes} throughout the day.

I remember coming back to my keyboard after a meeting and watching my fingers reach for the F and A button without so much as a thought of what I wanted to do first on my computer. And, thanks to browsing history and password caching, my internet browser would take me to that familiar newsfeed in a flash. It freaked me out, but I felt like I couldn’t stop. And it often triggered feelings of comparison, frustration, and sadness.

Even in the last year, I’ve been noticing when I go to Facebook to numb out. On a road trip with Tim, I would find myself reaching for my phone and clicking on that familiar blue app button whenever there was a lull in conversation. Luckily, I have a man who holds me accountable to what I want and told me to put the dang phone down.

I am not the type of person to quit Facebook.

I get to interact with a lot of you on there and am able to keep up with what’s going on with friends and family all across the world when they post photos of their weddings, babies, and major accomplishments. I love the connection it brings to my life. But what I don’t love is the way I allow Facebook to help me escape from my own amazing life.

Some steps I’ve taken to declare freedom from Facebook (without deleting my profile) are:

– Removing the Facebook app (and groups, pages, and messenger apps) from my phone so it isn’t as easy to log in.

– Signing out every time I leave Facebook so, if I happen to pull up the page, I’d have to manually sign in. This gives my brain enough time to catch up and say “No, thank you! I honor my desire to not numb out on Facebook at this moment” or “Yes, I intentionally would like to log on to Facebook right now because I have something I want to accomplish that requires me to log in.”

– Installing the kill newsfeed app on my Chrome browser, which prevents me from seeing the newsfeed when I log in and says “Don’t get distracted by facebook” which I love.

– I also have friends who have taken “Facebook Sabbaticals” – 1 month away from Facebook to reconnect to themselves and what’s true for them.

Conquering Social Media Addiction

  1. Read a fiction book outside on a blanket under a tree
  2. Write a gratitude letter to an unsuspecting person
  3. Pour yourself a glass of water and add some fresh herbs or fruit to it
  4. Make a playlist of your favorite dance music (or use Spotify’s mood playlists to inspire you)
  5. Take yourself on a walk around your neighborhood for just 15 mins, leaving your phone at home.
  6. Do the dishes and light a candle in your kitchen
  7. Make a cup of tea with your favorite teacup
  8. Watch your pet sleep (seriously, it’s so heartwarming)
  9. Blast your favorite song and sing it aloud into a hairbrush or stapler (I’m loving this song lately)
  10. Bust out your calendar and plan 2 date nights (with your love or with your girls) in the next month
  11. Buy a small piece of really good quality dark chocolate and eat it very slowly, savoring every nuance of flavor and feeling
  12. Make some art for a wall or corner of your home
  13. Grab the top 3 books you’ve been intending to read and make a beautiful pile of them on your bedside table
  14. Buy a journal and write the first entry
  15. Email a colleague or coworker and tell them what a great job they did on that project last year
  16. Look through catalogs and lookbooks mailed to your house and cut out what inspires you.
  17. Spin a globe (or open an atlas), close your eyes and point your finger on a country, then make a 3-day itinerary of things you would do when you visit
  18. Take a walk outside and make a bouquet of wildflowers and greenery you find
  19. Give yourself a homemade facial
  20. Do 5 jumping jacks followed by a downward dog and finish by laying on your back with your legs up the wall and breathing deeply
  21. Pick 5 things in your space you want to donate
  22. Dust off your bicycle and go for a 20-minute ride
  23. Plan your meals for the following week
  24. Grab a glossy magazine and ready it lazily with a glass of wine or tea
  25. Make your bed (bonus points for changing the sheets and a spritz of linen spray)
  26. Make some homemade cookies for your neighbors. Leave it at their door with a note that says “just because!”
  27. Book a massage or haircut appointment
  28. Set a timer for 15 mins, and make an Etsy favorites list
  29. Go to calm.com
  30. Change the background image on your computer by googling images, Pinterest, or searching national geographic
  31. Call your best friend or record and send her a voice message
  32. Go to the library and check out a book
  33. Try making a green smoothie
  34. Go see a movie by yourself
  35. Make a coconut water face mist
  36. Buy a book in a language you haven’t spoken in years and read it aloud to yourself. I love to read Le Petit Prince 🙂
  37. Look up a makeup tutorial video online and practice in the mirror
  38. Make a natural air freshener
  39. Clean your makeup brushes
  40. Grab some colored pens and draw a picture
  41. Write a love letter to yourself, stamp and address it, and give it to a friend to mail to you in a month
  42. Buy fresh flowers and arrange them in your workspace or bedroom
  43. Go to a museum or art gallery for the afternoon
  44. Buy yourself a new pair of underwear (bonus points for matching bra)
  45. Lie in the grass and watch the clouds
  46. Grab some sunglasses, sit by yourself on a bench and people watch
  47. Walk down the street and see how many compliments you can give out
  48. Make a beautiful salad with edible flowers on top
  49. Try a guided meditation
  50. Take a nap

When we can take care of ourselves without the need for a device in our faces, we are remembering that we belong to ourselves and can self-soothe the way our ancestors once did.

Weekly-ish wisdom to your inbox

Sign up to receive emails about our longing to belong, living with the seasons, and connecting with ancestral ways to enjoy with your favorite beverage.