Today I thought I’d talk about what to do instead of social media. Most of us get caught up scrolling through our phones all too often, and a lot of the time that’s because we’re bored and don’t know what else to do. Social media has a habit of reeling us in, and all too often that quick 5-minute check of Instagram turns into a 2-hour dive down a rabbit hole.
Does this sound familiar?
Wake up. Reach for your phone. Spend 30 mins scrolling social media. Get annoyed with yourself for not starting your day more productively. Get up & dressed. Make breakfast. Scroll your phone while eating. Go about your day, checking your phone approximately every 10 minutes in case something new has happened. Throw your phone on the sofa because you’re so furious that you can’t stop looking at it. Watch a movie in the evening but don’t pay any attention to the movie because you’re checking social media and getting lost in pointless Tik Tok videos. Wonder what to do instead of social media tomorrow because you’re sick of spending all your time on it.
In 2020, the average user spent 144 minutes on social media EVERY SINGLE DAY. That’s 2 hours and 24 minutes. A lot of us feel like we don’t have time in our day, and use this as a reason why we can’t do the things we know would bring us joy, or start new hobbies that we’ve been wanting to start for years.
Imagine what you could do with almost 2 and a half hours extra every day. As if that wasn’t bad enough, get ready for the really grim news. A study found that on average we spend 5 years and 4 months of our lives scrolling on social media.
These findings make me want to run over my phone continuously and then chuck it off the edge of the world. Unfortunately, the earth is round and I need my phone for work. BUT, even if those options aren’t practical, there are plenty of other things you can do instead of comparing your life to other people’s highlight reel online.
Why Spending Less Time On Social Media Is Beneficial
Social media is amazing at connecting us with like-minded people from all over the world, that we probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet otherwise. It can also be a great place to get inspiration and hear different perspectives from our own on various topics.
But, social media can also be pretty damaging, especially to our mental health, which is why we need to use it mindfully. Multiple studies have linked the use of social media with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
We all play the comparison game online at times, worrying that we’re not as high up in our career as this person, or worried that everyone is getting married except us. We envy people’s lives, appearances, relationships, and even though we know that people only upload their highlight reels online, it doesn’t stop us from comparing lives and wondering whether we’ve hit the milestones we should have by now.
Secret: Life doesn’t have age limits. We all do different things, at different times, with different people. Some people get married at 19, only to get divorced at 30, while others don’t have a single relationship until they’re 35, but spend 50 years with that person. No way is right, and no way is wrong, we are all different and we should celebrate our life’s journey for what it is: Our own, and that starts with putting your phone down and living life on your own terms.
How To Spend Less Time On Social Media
It’s all well and good wanting to spend less time on social media, but these apps are highly addictive, and not just by coincidence.
When you log onto Instagram or whatever your favourite app is, dopamine signals in your brain increase. Dopamine is the ‘feel good’ hormone. When you experience dopamine using social media, your brain identifies this activity as a rewarding one that you ought to repeat.
These feelings can be heightened if you post content yourself that gets good feedback, such as likes or comments.
Here are a few things you can do to help keep yourself off of social media:
- Set time limits on your apps
For both iPhone and Android phones, you can access ‘screen time’ in your settings and set individual time limits for apps.
- Don’t look at your phone first thing in the morning
How we start our day sets the tone for our day. Try spending 30 minutes reading, meditating, or stretching, or laying there thinking about what you’re grateful for instead. Likewise in the evening, try to set your phone aside at least an hour before bed, to ensure you get a great night’s sleep.
- Delete apps from your home screen
You can delete an app from your home screen without deleting it from your phone. Just make sure you choose ‘remove’ instead of ‘uninstall’. Even though you can still access the app if you need to, if you can’t see it, it’s easier to ignore it.
- Put your phone on airplane mode
If you’re struggling with notifications distracting you, airplane mode could be a good one to stop you from checking your phone every 5 minutes.
- Leave home without your phone
In this day and age, leaving home without your phone can literally feel like you’ve left your arm at home. But, the more you do it, the less alien it will feel. Leaving your phone at home is especially great if you’re going for a nature walk and are wanting to unplug from the world.
100 Ideas of What to do Instead of Social Media
1.Bake a cake
This Carrot Cake recipe from Loving It Vegan is a winner every time.
2. Practice Mindfulness
3. Try a Zumba class
4. Listen to a podcast
5. Plant something
6. Declutter your closet
Try on everything in your closet and separate everything into 3 piles – keep, maybe, donate. Once you’ve purged all your clothes, you can reward yourself with a little shopping trip. Who said chores have to be dull.
7. Volunteer at a local animal sanctuary
8. Start a blog
9. Do a puzzle
10. Create a piece of art
You really don’t need to have an artistic flair here. Grab yourself a canvas and some paints and just enjoy the process. If it comes out looking like a child did it, you can always blame it on your niece or nephew!
11. Make a weekly meal plan
12. Clean out your car
14. Meet a friend for lunch
15. Learn a magic trick
16. Create your own cocktail
17. Head to a botanical garden
18. Plan your next holiday
19. Make an early start on your Christmas shopping
My mum does most of her Christmas shopping in January, so it’s never too early to start!
20. Read a book
21. Take yourself out for a coffee date
22. Go see a grandparent
23. Explore your local town
24. Make a to-do list for the week
It might not sound like a fun task, but your week will be so much more productive and less overwhelming
25. Learn calligraphy
26. Get an adult colouring book
27. Have a 1 person dance party to your favourite album
28. Declutter your sh*t drawer
Everyone’s got one!
29. Take a walk in the countryside
30. Go to a museum
31. Have a movie marathon
32. Build a fort
33. Make a tie-dye t-shirt
34. Gratitude journal
35. Start a series you’ve been wanting to watch
36. Look through your childhood photos
37. Create yearly goals for yourself
38. Go through your finances
If you’re saving for something, but are struggling to find the motivation, here’s something I did when saving to go travelling that really helped. I went through every single transaction made in the last year on my online banking and wrote down the expenses based on category, for example, bills, entertainment, shopping, and here’s a big one – extra, unnecessary food shops AFTER I’d already grocery shopped for the week. When I added up the totals, it shocked me into being smarter with my money and saving better.
39. Learn a language
Duolingo is a fantastic free tool for this.
40. Visit a national park
41. Do a watersport
If you’re new to watersports, paddle boarding is so much fun and pretty easy to pick up. It’s also great if you don’t live near the sea as you can do it on a river or lake.
42. Do some weeding in your garden
43. Create a new playlist
44. Make a time capsule
45. Cancel unused subscriptions
Still paying for an app you’re not using? Or do you have Netflix, Disney Plus, and Prime Video but only find yourself watching one? Save yourself the extra bucks and cancel those suckers.
46. Go geocaching
Geocaching is basically an outdoor scavenger hunt between strangers. You navigate GPS coordinates to find the geocache container someone has hidden. You then open it up, sign the logbook, and start looking for the next one. This activity would also be great with kids.
47. Go swimming
48. Play a game you loved as a kid
49. Start Couch to 5k
50. Delete apps you don’t use
51. Have a picnic
Even if it’s solo. Take your favourite book, find a pretty place, and spend your afternoon just hanging out.
52. Volunteer at a local food bank/ homeless shelter
53. Sort out your inbox
My current unread email count is over 3,000 (I know, shameful). Don’t be me, sort yours out before it gets that bad, and unsubscribe from all the marketing emails you never look at.
54. Deep clean your home
Yep, I mean getting down and gritty with those dusty skirting boards you’ve been avoiding, or the laundry cupboard that’s seen better days.
55. Practice your makeup skills
56. Do a DIY project
On Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, there are always free pieces of furniture. Grab one and set yourself the task of doing it up. You could even sell it on after for a profit.
57. Do a boot fair/ garage sale
58. Donate blood
59. Participate in a beach clean up (if you live near the ocean)
60. Plan a road trip
61. Make a product you normally buy from scratch
Jam is a great one, as is ketchup, mayonnaise, or curry pastes.
62. Call a loved one
63. Host a dinner party
64. Join a sports team
65. Meal prep
66. Have a nap
Naps get a bad rep, but is there anything that feels more luxurious than a mid-afternoon nap when you have nothing else you need to get done? I think not.
67. Organise your photos
68. Go to the cinema
69. Find things to sell around your home
Games consoles you don’t use anymore, old phones, kitchen gadgets that sounded like a good idea at the time, your kids outgrown clothes, the list goes on. Once you start looking for things to sell, you might find the urge takes over you and you become a ruthless declutterer (is that even a word?)
70. Redecorate a room
71. Go on a date
72. Wash your makeup brushes
73. Make your partner a handmade gift
Play to your strengths – if you’re great at cooking, some homemade chocolates will go down a treat. Good at gardening? What about building a planter with their favourite flowers or vegetables in? Brilliant at digital art? Create a personalised print for them. There are so many things you can make your partner just as a little token of how much you appreciate them.
74. Learn to sew
75. Do a face mask
76. Write a book
These days you can self-publish a book easily enough and sell it through Amazon. Everyone’s an expert at something, so write what you know.
78. Do the thing you’ve been putting off
There’s always one task in the back of your mind that makes you groan. For me, it’s calling the dentist, what’s yours?
79. Create a bucket list
80. Play a board game
81. Reorganise your workspace
Tidy space, tidy mind as the saying goes.
82. Help a friend out
Whether that’s by babysitting for them, helping them decorate their bedroom, teaching them to cook, or just a bit of company.
83. Play with your pet
84. Go for a drive
85. Learn about a historical event/ person
86. Get a manicure
87. OR learn how to do a manicure yourself
88. Unfollow people
Ok, so technically this is on social media BUT it’s not aimlessly scrolling. Pop onto your Instagram just to have a good clear out or anything that doesn’t inspire or sit well with you, so that when you do check your social media apps again, you’ll only have content on there that really aligns with you.
89. Have a bubble bath
90. Check out a new band/artist
91. Play a card game
92. Take a free e-course
You don’t need to look hard for these, just Google whatever topic you’re interested in + free e-course. You usually have to sign up to the person’s email newsletter which is free but you get access to a completely free course.
93. Do that pile of ironing
94. Style your clothes in new ways
95. Read a magazine with your feet up
96. Get your hair cut
97. Create a vision board
98. Learn how to do a new hairstyle
99. Organise your computer files
100. Create a scrapbook
Next time you’re wondering what to do instead of social media, whip out this list and do an activity that will bring you more joy than your phone will. I guarantee you’ll feel better when you do, as you’ll feel more in control of your own time.
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