18 May Dealing with Social Media Addiction
I don’t know how I got myself into this zone. Take me back to the time when I had no idea what Facebook was or when I was just basically disinterested in Instagram and its companions. I don’t know if that’s really what I want to be honest because I think my life has gotten better with these social media apps. I mean there’s some joy to it. First of all and probably on the list of important reasons why I don’t want to take it away should be that it has allowed me to stay in touch with friends who claim to be busy but yet spend literally half of their day online. Well, I can’t complain. I have saved a lot of money on calls. Hehehe.
Once, I read an article that came up with a report that suicide rates are likely to be high among heavy social media users. At first, it sounds ridiculous but I’d like to agree with them. There are times when I feel extremely depressed after staying on social media and that’s not necessarily because I am worried about people’s lives and comparing my life to theirs. While this may be true for some, it isn’t for me. I thank the living God that I am a passive individual so your life has to be extraordinary for me to be pricked by it. But! I still feel sad. I dunno why. It feels like a heavy sense of dullness overwhelms me and just affects my mood. Nothing makes sense afterward. From then on, my boredom increases until I just sink into real nothingness. That thing can’t be good. In short, it is not good.
I was struggling so badly with this thing because once I wake up, the first thing I am looking for is my phone. I want to check my Facebook, emails, Instagram and every social media account I have. I am already thinking of the next post I’ll do. It begins with an innocent checking then it moves to me settling down to reply or like back one post and then before long, I have spent hours on there. That place has the power to suck your life. Best believe that.
For me, I think it started annoying me properly when I realized that it was affecting my routine with my quiet time in the mornings. I would wake up, rush to my phone and be on it before I think of studying my bible. Some days would catch me merely saying a very short prayer as if to mark attendance before God and then I would zoom off to other matters. It was killing me slowly. I couldn’t even spend time with my family in the way I used to. Everyone noticed. It was a big deal. It got so bad that I started leaving important tasks for many “laters” and by the time I got to it, I would be overwhelmed by the enormity of the tasks and then frustration will set in and finally aggression. Damn! It wasn’t funny. I was getting messed up. Sooooo I decided to do something about it. I’ll tell you.
- I decided to unsubscribe from the internet
- I decided that I would remove my battery from my phone before I go to bed and keep it in my cupboard so that by the next morning it’ll take me some time to set up and hopefully while I am doing that, my brain would reset and I’ll realize how stupid it is to begin the day with being on social media.
- I decided that once it’s 9:00 pm or 10:00 pm I would turn off my phone and be with my family.
Anyway, I made those plans. I was serious about them for about a few days before I was literally shaking when I got out of bed. I opened the cupboard, got out my phone, fixed the battery and waited patiently for it to come on. My brain refused to reset or I probably just ignored it. I only gained satisfaction when I got online and saw the notifications rush in. ha! I was back! I don’t need to explain that I had paid for my internet subscription again. The thing eh, issa real struggle.
So lemme get to the ‘cliché’ part of how I managed the addiction. I won’t tell you that I have overcome completely. Nope! I continue to work hard at breaking free. I suppose it’s just like letting go of every other bad habit formed. But these are a few things that have helped so far.
- I got serious about wanting to let go: I mean it. You have to come to the point where you are just fed up and genuinely want to stop. I was extremely unhappy because it was messing up my entire system. I realized I wouldn’t go far without dealing with it.
- I spoke to God about it: I did. I felt useless because I felt the disconnection spiritually. Like I was losing grip. I was stuttering in my prayers, I was struggling to hear from God and understand the scriptures in a way I used to, I was getting bored with my quiet time. Look, basically I was slipping away.
- I set realistic decisions: This is still what I use till now. I add more as I go but I have just one basic one for now. I get up, leave my phone turned off and I take my bible and study. I decide to zone out for 15-20 minutes with the realization that the phone will not travel. I made a decision that I would not talk to or greet anyone online or offline first before I talk to God. Some days are hard and sometimes because I have set that rule I just say “Good morning Jesus” “Good morning Holy Spirit” or “Good morning my father” and jump to my phone. But these little habits ultimately add up to something. Now it’s easier. Now, when I pick my phone before I pick my bible, I am gently reminded that my bible should come first so I drop it and do the needful. Like I said, I don’t get it right always but as the days go by, I am getting it right more and more.
I have come to realize that the first activity you do in the morning really sets the tone for the rest of the day. So as a Christian, I like to start my day with God but to really break past this social media addiction, I think that the first thing is realizing the power of self. If you make up your mind about it and stay realistic, you are more likely to get out of it.