If you have coworkers who are constantly checking their phones, they may have an unhealthy high-tech obsession. Weaning off social media and personal devices can make them healthier, happier.
Be honest. At least some of your employees (and maybe even you) have a serious problem—an addiction to personal devices and, specifically, social media. Starting 2020 with a group or individual resolution to break the tether to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms can make everyone happier and healthier.
Social media addiction isn’t just distracting and time-consuming; it actually can negatively impact mental health. Numerous studies have documented that social media use contributes to depression, anxiety, sleep loss, and other issues. For instance, one study showed that people who limited their social media use to 30 minutes per day were significantly happier after just three weeks. Other studies suggest that heavy social media use hurts self-esteem and confidence.
Consider four steps to help break social media addiction:
- Get to the root of the addiction. Understanding why someone spends so much time on social media can help that person break the habit and find healthier ways to cope. For instance, if the reason is that someone is bored and unfulfilled at work, that person may benefit from an exciting new project or becoming a mentor to a new employee.
- Reduce the temptation. Deleting social media apps from one’s phone, using a newsfeed blocker on desktop computers, keeping one’s phone at a remote location, and setting the phone to “Do Not Disturb” can all make it less tempting to constantly check for new posts and updates.
- Find alternative ways to spend time. The triggers may not go away, but the person’s response can change. Substitute social media time with other enjoyable activities such as walking the dog, having coffee with friends, or reading a book.
- Use multiple layers of accountability. Repeating the new habits over and over is a key but often difficult step. Self-discipline is necessary to succeed here. Having a partner or buddy to help a person overcome social media addiction can help. These individuals can call each other for support and get together for healthier activities when they are tempted to resume old behaviors.
- Think about rewards. A special treat for living up to one’s new habit can serve as an incentive and enable him/her to connect new habits with positive feelings. For instance, for every day the person is social media-free, a latte, a yoga class, a bubble bath, or other treat can be motivating and enjoyable.
If social media addiction is widespread at your organization, a group effort can make it more fun and productive for everyone. It also can contribute to team-building and improve relationships across the company.