Last year I decided to take a week off social media. That week turned into a year. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
And what did I miss? Not much, as it turns out. The world didn’t fall apart without me. (I know, I was shocked too!)
I was done with it all – the relentless pressure of emails, the endless stream of social media posts, the continuous bad news updates interrupting my day. I was over it.
So I switched off. Muted notifications, deleted apps, got out in nature, met up with real friends in real life, and spent time with my family.
And what did I gain? Less stress, better sleep, more peace of mind, less FOMO and best of all, less debt as I was no longer constantly bombarded with online shopping temptations.
My accidental switching off from social media is actually pretty timely, according to the latest Sign of the Times survey by Behaviour & Attitudes for The Irish Times.
While it revealed 46 per cent of us check our email before we get out of bed in the morning, this is actually down from 60 per cent in 2017. The survey also reveals that almost two in five of us check work emails on holiday. Sad, I know, but I was once that woman!
However, quitting emails and social media, or at least reducing your screen time, is easier said than done. In my year off the grid, I had to enforce a strict 9pm phone switch-off and, most importantly, didn’t log back on until after my breakfast and morning walk the following day.
And instead of constantly checking and posting to social media, I took time out to meditate, exercise and cook. I also learned how to practise EFT (emotional freedom technique) as a form of stress release from my manic day job.
For the uninitiated, EFT or tapping uses the energy meridians from traditional acupressure (see image below) and is combined with calm breathing and a mantra. You simply breath deeply and tap the points with your fingertips while repeating some comforting words. In time, the tapping becomes associated with feeling calm and can be accessed anywhere or any time you are feeling anxious.
It’s a simple but incredibly effective technique and I credit it with helping me cope with my daily stress.
So if you’re feeling a little wrung out by life, here are five tapping tips to avoid digital burnout.
1. Make a list of family or friends who are most important to you
Family and friends in real life should be your priority so set a limit on the amount of time you will give to digital interactions. According to the Sign of the Times survey by Behaviour & Attitudes, we still spend over 10 hours a week on Facebook – that’s 10 hours we could be giving to our friends, partners or children.
Tapping Mantra: “Even though I give too much of my time to my digital devices, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”
2. When spending time with friends and family, put away your phone
Be present with the people you care about by putting away your devices when in their company. Value your friendships by actively staying in touch with real-life friends rather than living for virtual “likes” and comments.
Tapping Mantra: “Even though I feel like chasing likes instead of calling a friend instead, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”
3. Spend time in nature, exercise and nourish your body
Use the time you would have spent on social media to learn how to cook healthy, nourishing meals for yourself. Listen to uplifting music. Learn how to mediate. Start a gratitude journal. Basically, do good things for your soul.
Tapping Mantra: “Even though I feel like wasting time, scrolling through Instagram, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
4. If you’re with a friend or working on a project, resist the urge to answer text, emails or notifications the moment they appear
Social media can wait. Take a deep breath and tap the distraction away.
Tapping Mantra: “Even though I want to read my notifications right now, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”
5. Stay the course
Mute and delete any apps that are taking over your life. Stick with your new resolve to log on less.
Tapping Mantra: ”Even though I want to log back on, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”