Take a Break From the Big 4 Each Day This Week
- Limit your time on the Big 4 social media platforms — Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook (not including Messenger) — to one visit each day.
- You may visit all of them, but you may only make a single visit per platform.
- Once you leave in any way — close the app, navigate away, even switch browser tabs (that’s right, you can’t keep it open in a tab and revisit that tab repeatedly and count that as a single visit) — your time on that platform is done for the day.
- If you need to visit social media platforms for work, those visits do not count against you, but be vigilant about making these visits work related only.
- If there is a social media platform you use regularly and repeatedly that is not among the Big 4, you should include in this practice. For example, Pinterest or LinkedIn.
Watch this video for an explanation of this Well-Being Practice from Whole Life Challenge co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck.
Why Is This Practice Important?
It’s sometimes hard for us to sort out where social media helps and where it hurts. It has become so prevalent in our lives that it’s easy to forget that kind of connection — at that speed, with all that feedback, present all the time — can distort a lot of things. It can impact our expectations, fears, and self-esteem. We get accustomed to checking in, using social media to validate the quality of our connections and even our experiences.
It’s not that social media isn’t good for anything. Like all media, it can be a way to learn, communicate, and connect. It can also become a major distraction that gets in the way of all its own best uses.
Setting limits on how you use social media can be an enlightening practice regarding its impact in your life. You may discover by day three that you feel a sense of relief or are generally less pressed for time. You may feel less anxious because you’re no longer reading the stressful stories that get shared. Or, you may indeed find you’re missing certain connections in your life.
By limiting your exposure, you’ll become more aware of the positive and negative influences of social media and then be able to decide for yourself how much of your time you want to spend online. Creating time to mindfully and purposefully use social media can bring out its best aspects and give you more control over how it affects you.
For More on This Practice
In an episode of the Whole Life Podcast, Andy spoke with with Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, about the dangerous side of technology and the hold it has on us through a mechanism Nir calls the “hook cycle.”
Nir has built a method for breaking our technology compulsion so we can regain control of our behaviors and reclaim mastery over our lives. If you want to examine or change your relationship to social media, click through to listen to the podcast.