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Friday, May 10, 2024

Fighting The Urge To Swipe Social Media Alternatives For When You Go Cold Turkey

Photo by mikoto.raw Photographer from Pexels

We often joke that we’re addicted to our phones and, in particular, the social apps we have on them. But, even as we joke about these things, most of us don’t see them as a real problem. After all, social media isn’t actually an addiction. Is it?

While social media might not look like the majority of addictive substances we know, these apps, which are built to hook us and keep us online, are becoming increasingly addictive. Experts now believe that around 210 million people worldwide suffer from social media addiction. That’s a shocking statistic, but when you consider the escapism, positive reinforcement, and ongoing draw of social platforms, social media doesn’t look as different from drugs and other addictions as you might have previously believed.

That fact, in itself, is enough to pull many of us away from our phones at last. But, even if you didn’t think social media was a problem for you, it may surprise you to discover how lost you feel without it. You’ll likely reach for your phone countless times before remembering your socials ban and may feel a real sense of restlessness.

As worrying as these symptoms can seem, they’re normal signs of social media withdrawal. Get through them by fighting the urge to swipe in the following ways.

# 1 - Take up Hand Crafts

Most of us know that keeping our hands busy is key to giving up an addiction like smoking, as it replaces the physical habit of the smoking act. While you might not think it, social media is also greatly based on physical habits. From the act of reaching for and unlocking our phones (which some of us do more than 150 times a day!) to the simple act of scrolling, it all happens in our hands. So, the best way to busy yourself when going cold turkey is to keep your hands occupied with something else. Preferably something you can’t put down without a concerted effort!

Handcrafts like knitting, crochet, and embroidery are great for this purpose, as they’re fully involved processes. As well as literally tying your hands up, these crafts can keep your brain busy. If you’re learning this skill for the first time, the need to fully concentrate on things like your stitches can stop you from even thinking about social media. Even if you already have basic skills in, say, knitting, taking on a more complex project, like knitting the heel flap on a sock, could help you get through the worst moments of your social media withdrawal.

# 2 - Dive into Involved Games
Games like brain teasers and card games can be great for requiring patience and attention. They also need the use of your hands throughout play. Together, these benefits can make games the ideal replacement for social scrolling. Simply choose a game that challenges you, such as solitaire played on the highest available level, or a complex word game like Sudoku or Wordle that requires your full attention.
At the beginning of your social media ban, you might find it useful to play these games using physical tools, as these keep your phone out of the picture. Once you get better at avoiding social media when you unlock, you could also download apps, or play these games using websites online. This way, they can become great stand-ins that still scratch that ongoing itch to reach for your phone. 

Physical Movement

Physical movement is always beneficial for individuals who are in the clutches of addiction, and this is equally true when it comes to stopping your social media usage. Whether you take up walking, running, or weight lifting, the ability to move your body each time you feel the draw to scroll is a great way to get past those urges.

Physical movement also has the benefit of being great for your body, and getting you out into the world. This can altogether remove your social media triggers, which might include sitting down in the evening or using your phone in any way. To begin with, it may be worth doing gentle exercise whenever you’re tempted to sign on. Over time, you should be able to find healthy ways to incorporate an ongoing exercise regime that has nothing to do with your social media use at all.

Social media addiction is real and it’s growing at an astounding rate. If you find cold turkey too difficult to manage, try to break out of that addiction once and for all using these top tips.
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