It’s time for the talk. We love it, it’s everywhere, it’s basically the central hub of the world. It, admittedly, has a lot of great uses. Small businesses use it to network and advertise, people use it to connect over common interests, and artists get to freely share their creations with the world.
However, social media has also been at the eye of controversy. Its effects on society haven’t been entirely positive which has spurred a lot of debate about if and how social media should be used. Regardless, it’s continued to be used everyday by billions of people around the globe.
Should you limit social media with minimalism?
All minimalists at one point have to decide how they’re going to regulate their social media use. The reasons behind this have a lot to do with its effect on our mental health.
Spending a lot of time on social media has drawbacks that can negatively affect your life, if you’re not aware of them. And as the roots of social networks in society only grows and more people become addicted, it’s urgent to know how to manage your use.
Why limit social media?
It’s exhausting constantly comparing our lives to others. But we do it so often that we don’t even notice how emotionally draining it is anymore until it manifests as depression or anxiety. Social media is packed from wall to wall with edited photos, arranged sets, and the best aspects of people’s lives.
We spend all day looking at people’s best attributes: big houses, fit bodies, caked-up faces, unique talents, vacations, and we watch people enjoy everything that we don’t have. Not only that, but we watch them get overwhelming admiration for it. Then we try our best to imitate those people.
A direct consequence of this imitation is the intense desire for others to admire us—just like we admire (or envy) those people in the pictures. When we don’t get that admiration, we come to conclusions that there’s something wrong with us.
Really, these standards that social media sets just aren’t reasonable or applicable to real life. Yet we’re constantly pressured to push ourselves farther, harder, higher in order to achieve and maintain that admiration.
Artists are pressured to constantly push out work so they don’t lose attention from their fans. Instagram models are going to unhealthy lengths to maintain their figure.
If a single element in that picture is off, someone is going to comment and call everyone else’s attention to it. We have to be on our A game.
Usually that means being on our A game all the time, because that’s how often we post. Why do we do that, again? We want people to know what we’re doing, where we are, and the best parts of how we’re living life. All the time.
This has come to mean that we can never actually live in a moment. We’ve become so concerned with capturing the moment to show others that we forget to look. That manifests as us snapping pictures at inappropriate times; a general disconnect with the world around us; and us only being motivated to do things that we can display for others.
Not to mention the flurry of the “extreme” things people have done for social media fame.
Social media is a controlling entity. Trends influence how we dress and what products we use. A single bad review, comment, or rumor on a social network can be someone’s downfall.
The networks manage what we’re exposed to, what we do, and, at an extreme level, what we think. Their reach lets them create and push certain narratives that we, not knowing what else to think, go for.
We witness the power of social media through its ability to keep us locked into it ceaseless plane of entertainment for long periods of time—literally hours. We spend family outings, dates, important events or trips staring at our phones.
It’s also become the biggest key in promoting consumerism. One part is regularly being subjected to other people’s possessions and lifestyles, and the joy associated with them which we crave.
The other is the bombardment of advertisements that await around every corner of the internet.
Not only can you view an ad for a product, but you can see other “real life” people or influencers we follow using the product with, very often, unrealIstic results. But that makes us want to buy it.
Needless to say, the task of limiting your social media usage should be taken seriously. If for nothing else, just to save us time and money. But there are pros, and some people just genuinely use social media to reach people, be productive, or exhibit what they’re proud of.
It won’t always be the case that social media affects you in an unsavory way, and there are certain minimalists that can be like a fish in water on social media.
There are minimalists on social media
We know there are minimalists on social media because we research the hashtag, tutorials, and inspo all the time! There are minimalists who are eager to share their perfectly achieved aesthetic in their first minimalist apartment, their sharp minimalist outfit, or their abstract minimalist art style. And they have a name!
Aesthetic minimalists are most likely the culprit behind those perfectly lit photos of their living room or their new minimalistic tattoo. Aesthetic minimalists only showed up for the minimalist look.
They might not even declutter their home—they might just clean up, swap out some furniture, and procure some simplistic decor to achieve that minimal home aesthetic. They’re not generally down for the cause, but they want all their visual elements to be crisp, clean, modern, and fashionable.
By posting on social media, these design artists are just publishing their style to be seen by the world.
How To: Limit Your Social Media Time
You don’t necessarily have to quit social media altogether. Social media can indeed be a fun way to connect with friends and family. It also might be vital for work if you’re in marketing or own a business. It could be your work.
In that case, it might be a little more intensive trying to patrol your exposure to things that are unhealthy. No matter how invested you are in social media, you can apply these steps to manage your time on these channels appropriately.
1. No phones at dinner time
This is an especially good rule for parents that gives kids a supervised break from their devices. But it’s just as good if you live alone. Stick to the rule that there are no phones at dinner time. Neither in your hands or on the table until you, or everyone, is finished eating.
This break isn’t long enough to make you antsy but just long enough to give you a solid break from it, if you’re one of those people who keeps their phone in their hand all day. Plus, this is a time when your hands are doing something else entirely and they’re less likely to end up wrapped around your device.
2. Don’t sleep with your phone
A lot of us tend to sleep with our phones under our pillows or on the nightstand/bed next to our pillow. This way we can hear and feel it when it rings and have easy access to it.
Instead, charge your phone overnight across the room or somewhere where you’ll remember to grab it in the morning. Then you can’t scroll in the middle of night, which has been proven to make it harder to go back to sleep after.
3. Remove your social media apps from your home page.
Apple iOS 10 allows you to remove apps from your home screen without deleting them completely from your phone.
Hence you can’t see them when you unlock your phone and swipe through your home screens, but if you search for them (by swiping to the leftmost screen and typing them in the search bar at the top) they’ll pop up and you can access them as normal.
What’s important is that you won’t see them every time you open your phone, ergo you won’t be tempted to tap them every time you open your phone. (Pro Tip: Remove all the apps from your home screen that aren’t health-, work-, or hobby-related.)
4. Delete your social media apps completely.
That doesn’t mean that you can use them. But in order to access them you’d have to go to your web browser, type the URL in, possibly log in, then browse in a format that is, honestly, a less attractive than the app.
Taking away the convenience of accessing social media makes it much less appealing and less likely that you’ll go through the trouble of pulling it up.
5. Draw some lines.
More people are finding work on social media platforms like modeling, affiliate marketing, advertising, brand-building, and product-testing to name a few.
It’s especially important for these people to allot time away from their devices, but everyone should. It’s easy to get sucked into everything that’s going on on the Internet. There’s always something going on.
You can start by imposing an hour-long fast (outside of dinner time) from your phone every day.
Limit your social media usage in order to maintain a balanced mental health and healthy self-image. It’s hard to live a minimalist lifestyle when we’re constantly being pressured by outside influences to indulge in the more lifestyle.
Cutting down on your exposure to these influences reduces temptation to engage in a consumerist lifestyle, as well as the amount of time you spend comparing yourself to others.
Don’t let the edits and filters on social media fool you. Networks are full of people who go to great lengths to construct and capture appealing moments. That doesn’t mean that behind the 1080 pixels they’re happy.
Unfortunately, a growing number of prominent social media figures, celebrities, and average people are coming out about suffering from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and even drug use in relation to the high expectations set by these social platforms.
The mental freedom that comes with the minimalist experience is a big part of why people choose to adopt it.
Minimalists are aware that these things have an effect on our minds, hence we take steps to detach ourselves from these powerful influences so we can continue to think independently.
You don’t have to quit social media completely—it’s great for inspiration, how-to’s, and knowledge about subjects you’re interested in.
But make sure to be honest with yourself about how much screen time is probably too much time; and about when what you’re seeing is giving you bad vibes and you need to step away from your device.