Thursday, May 19, 2022

How To Limit Your Time On Social Media (And The Mental Health Benefits)

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Social media is hit and miss – sometimes it makes you happy from laughter, other times you experience FOMO and play the comparison game.

Have you ever considered limiting your time on social media and the potential benefits?

Keep reading to understand not only how social media is affecting our mental health, but also 4 actionable ways to limit social media to improve your mental wellbeing and happiness.

Social media sign

How is social media really affecting our mental health?

Are all social media apps to blame?

Before you delete every single social media app on your phone, it might not be all of them that are causing harm.

A study shows users of YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat reported more body image concerns and eating pathology than non-users.

It’s important to become aware of your habits on each app and notice which ones are doing the least disservice to you.1

Is it the way we use it?

Are you a passive or active user?

A study has shown that passive usage (reading posts) is more strongly associated with depression than active usage (making posts).

This doesn’t meant to say you should start spamming everyone about your life, but instead being conscious of where you sit on that scale.2

Is it when we use it?

How often when you are upset do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media?

A study has shown that we resort to social media when we are dealing with difficult emotions, and if in a negative state we are then more susceptible to compare, feel jealously and bitterness.

Woman on Social Media app

How to limit your time on social media

Learning how to limit your time on social media means unwiring existing habits and rewiring newer and healthier ones. It’s not going to be easy, but if you want to rid yourself of FOMO, anger, bitterness and improve your mental wellbeing then it’s essential for you to learn.

Set app limits – In iPhones settings there is the option to look at your screen time and through that set app limits, so you only go on certain apps for x minutes a day.

When you turn this on you can choose which apps you want the limits on. When you run out of time to go on the app within that day, a pop up appears to tell you that you have no time left, it does give you the option to ignore that message but you’ll be much more mindful now with the limit on.

Measure your time – Another great iPhone feature shows you your daily activity on different apps. It might surprise you how much or how little you’re spending on them.

Decide how much time you’d like to dedicate to social sites per week and work towards that goal.

Disable notifications – Notifications have crept into our laptops as well as our phones now, it almost seems like we can’t get away from the constant alerts.

Disabling notifications can stop the distraction which comes from notifications.

Did you know, when you’re interrupted it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on track?4

Now think about how many times you receive a notification and get distracted and the quality of work that is leading to.

Use browser extensions – Away from your phone, you might scroll through Facebook or Twitter on your laptop frequently.

There are free browser extensions to temporarily block sites so you can focus on the tasks you want. Check out Strict Workflow for Chrome.

5 benefits to reduce time on social media

  1. Increase in productivity and time
  2. Improve self-perspective
  3. Improve your mood
  4. Improve sleep
  5. Avoid FOMO

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Final thoughts

To summarise, be mindful of what apps you use and your mental state when you use them and implement some of these tricks to reducing your time on social media. You don’t have to go cold-turkey on them all, just become more conscious of how long you’re spending on them and if you really need to be on it.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jclp.22936
  2. https://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(19)30763-3/fulltext
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0747563219303061
  4. http://blog.idonethis.com/distractions-at-work/#:~:text=It%20takes%20an%20average%20of,Multiple%20studies%20confirm%20this

41 COMMENTS

  1. There were days I found myself scrolling hours in Tik Tok. It’s frustrating when you think about it. Social media steals your time in which you be so productive and do something you love or invest in your future. Thank you for the great article 🙂

    • It’s so easily done! Social media is designed to keep us on the app for as long as possible, it takes so much discipline to come off. But it’s definitely worth it, as you say, there’s more time for things you love!

  2. Social media is highly addictive. Facebook or Instagram are the worst of me, as they take too much time away from another thing I should be doing. Thank you for a great reminder. Great read. ☺️

  3. I am working on getting better with this. I will keep your tips in mind. For me, I’d rather read so I’ll put down my phone to pick up a book!

  4. This seems to be the struggle for everyone of all ages. My excuse is that social media is part of my influence career, but I can always look for ways to tone it down, thanks for the reminder!

  5. Are you a passive or active user? When it comes to Pinterest I’m definitely too passive of a user. I’m taking a step back from Pinterest for a little while and I’m going to focus more on providing content to Pinterest rather than pinning other content. I read somewhere that the Pinterest algorithm penalizes you if the pins doesn’t point to your site so that’s my rationale for not contributing other’s pins to my boards. Scott | PinArtwork

    • That’s interesting to hear! Let’s see if this makes a difference to your Pinterest. I was a passive user but on Instagram, it’s something that I’ve been working on and I give myself 1hr a day to just scroll (I aim to bring that down more yet, but I want to keep it realistic so I don’t set my self up to fail).

  6. I definitely need to limit myself. I waste so much time mindlessly scrolling. I know we all do it but why? Why is it so addicting? My husband got rid of facebook and he said it’s been so good for him.

  7. Since become an adult and over the years of using social media. I started unfollowed and taking breaks from social media. It’s good to have time away from it and to stop comparing your life to other persons life.

  8. My 20 something son deleted all his social media from his phone because he felt like it was keeping from doing the things he wanted to do. He still has his accounts and check them via his laptop, but he rarely does. It seems like a great choice for him.

  9. It is so eeasy to get lost on social media. You pop on to check something and half an hour later your watching funny videos and goodness knows what else. Disabling notifications can help.

  10. Plenty of people feel they get little value out of social media, including me and yet wecontinue to use it more than they would like. These are really some awesome tips

  11. It is so easy to get lost in social media without even realising, these tips are really helpful reminders for us or our kids!

  12. I’ve always been planning to do this but I really don’t know what’s with the social media that seems so irresistible lol thanks for these suggestions

  13. This is such a helpful post! I believe that it’s so important to be conscious of how often we’re using social media and how it impacts our mental health. I recently started tracking how often I used Instagram and I was shocked at all of the time I wasted there with no real benefits.

  14. I really need to work on this. I absolutely hate getting that weekly screen report. It’s so embarrassing, lol!

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