If the thought of a scroll free September simultaneously makes you feel inspired and terrified, I hope this blog post will give you the tools and the support to enjoy the benefits of taking a social media break without fear and anxiety getting in the way.
I will show you why you should consider taking a break, and more importantly how to do it. Together let’s commit to a Scroll Free September, so you can unplug, reset and feel great.
It’s not your fault. Social media is supposed to be addictive.
It is estimated that globally, there are 4.2 billion social media users and currently more than 330 million people suffer from social media addiction worldwide. Every person I speak to has a love/hate relationship with social media to some extent, and the most common thing I hear among fellow business owners is, ‘I’d love to quit social media but I don’t think I can.’
Please know that if you’re struggling to take breaks from social media or quit altogether, there is nothing wrong with you, it’s not your fault. Social media apps are engineered this way on purpose to keep you hooked, scrolling, and coming back for more. However, now that you know this, it is your responsibility to do something about it and you can, you absolutely can.
A calmer life and business
Making the effort to go for a scroll free September is a brilliant step towards a more intentional, focused, aligned and calmer life and business. I do believe that taking a break from social media is life changing and will lead to something magical.
Ideally we want to have a totally scroll free September and while the thought of this is probably the scariest, the benefits you will experience will be worth it. Your mind will try and stop you from going all in but trust me, you can do this and a month, in the whole scheme of things, is nothing at all.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” — Anne Lamott
If you really can’t face a whole month without social media then committing to being social media free at certain times of the day will help you scroll less. Here are some ways to unplug.
No social media at work
If your social media use is getting in the way of your productivity at work, then stay off it during working hours.
Scroll Free Family Time
If you find your scrolling is taking you away from your family time then say no to the socials between 6 and 8pm. Don’t bring your phone to the dinner table and leave it in your bag when you are out with friends or family.
No phones in the bedroom
Scrolling just before you sleep and as soon as you wake up are the worst things you can do for your sleep, mental health and overall enjoyment of life, yes really. If you do only one thing this month, then please leave your phone out of the bedroom and do not look at social media before 9am.
Take a full 24 hour break
If you can work towards a full 24 hour break from social media, you will really reap the benefits and start to experience what it is like to be social media free. In just 24 hours you can expect better sleep, more time to yourself, being more present with friends and family and less FOMO. You might also realise just how many times you automatically pick up your phone to check, scroll, refresh.
Going all in is the most transformational
I am an addiction therapist, alcohol free since 2018 and social media free since February 2022. I know that with the best intentions, moderation just does not work. If you want to see a real benefit to your mental health, energy, focus, productivity and overall physical and mental wellbeing then a complete break, for an extended length of time is the only way you are going to experience a real transformation.
If you’re struggling with your social media use, then get support and accountability to help you scroll less in the Life Not Likes membership space
Time away from social media will give you the opportunity to try new things, revisit old things you’ve stopped doing, and give yourself a much needed step back to work out how you want to be spending your time.
What to do on your social media break
You will find it so much easier to take proper time off social media and make the most of it, if you do a little preparation before hand and keep checking in with yourself as you go along. Here are some tips on how to feel good during your scroll free September
Connect with your why
Connect with the reasons why this seems like a good idea to you. How are you using social media? How much time and energy is it taking away from you? What does social media give you in terms of your professional and personal life? Why do you want to take a break? How is social media currently making you feel?
Start with awareness, for the first three days keep a (pen and paper) journal and write about your social media usage how long, what time, on and off, how feel before/after, what did I achieve, was it worth it. Use the questions above to guide you through your journaling. Whatever comes up for you is fine. This is just a fact finding exercise, do not judge or beat yourself up. Use the information to move forward.
Look at how you are using social media and find alternate ways to do the same thing. For example to connect with friends and family, can you use email, old fashioned phone calls, or write a letter? Yes really! And start replying to those newsletters you receive, leave comments on blogs, ask people to email you instead of doing everything through the social media platforms.
Tell everyone you are taking a month off social media and that they can keep in touch via, email/website/ whatever. Now might be a great time to share your new freebie to get them over to your email list.
Explore other ways to market your business
Remember. Social Media marketing is optional. There are hundreds of other ways to market your business and marketing is just getting in front of, and keeping in touch with your clients and customers and sharing your offers and all about you and your business.
How can you do that without social media? Can you email your list more regularly, can you share a new freebie on your website? What about an informal get together or Q&A on Zoom? This might feel scary to you but this is where the growth happens. Check our FREE Guide to marketing your business without social media for more inspiration.
Find another way to share
Similar to the above. If you’re feeling all antsy and want to share your ideas, photos, quotes, snippets of wisdom, or whatever it is you enjoy creating, don’t worry, you still can! Why don’t you collect them all up to share in a blog or put them in a newsletter? This is a great exercise in being more intentional and ensuring you are sharing, not just because you feel you have to, but because you want to. It helps you to be sure you are providing real value to your customers and not just playing to the algorithm.
Do something else!
I grew up watching Why Don’t You (turn off your TV and do something less boring instead!) The same principle applies here because let’s face, it scrolling and tapping for hours on end is boring (not to mention FOMO inducing and sometimes anxiety enhancing.)
Make a list of all the less boring things can you do instead, for example: try out a new recipe at dinner, go for that hike you’ve been promising yourself, read a few chapters of a book, start writing that book, write a newsletter, plant some seeds. Think about business and non-business things you could do. Make a list of 100!
Other practical tips to support a scroll free September
- Set a timer on your phone and allow yourself say, 10 minutes at a time twice a day. Stick to it!
- Remove the apps from your home screen so they can’t entice you.
- Adjust your notifications so you only get notified with what you want, when you want.
- Better still, delete the social media apps all together. In her book, ‘How to Break Up With Your Phone’, Catherine price says people told her that deleting social media apps was one of the most useful things they did.
- Keep your phone out of the bedroom. Use an old fashioned alarm clock and read an actual book or a Kindle to wind down at bedtime.
- As someone you trust to change your passwords for the duration. You can change them back later!
- Consider using a website blocker on your computer
- Focus on the benefits of not being on social media
Benefits of a scroll free September
No one regrets taking a break from social media and even if you don’t manage a full scroll free September even just reducing your time and taking regular breaks will improve the quality of everything! Here are just some of the benefits of a scroll free September you can expect
After a few days, you can expect to sleep better as your sleep habits improve just by not checking your phone before sleep (or even in the middle of the night!)
Whether you need to get out for a walk more often to distract yourself from cravings or you suddenly have more time to go to the gym, run after your kids or clear out your closet. Less time on social media means more time for movement and exercise (a natural way to get your dopamine hits I might add)
Increased head space and better mental health
One of the most profound benefits is more head space, more mental clarity, less brain fog and clutter and a lovely sense of peace and calm. Freedom from all the crap that you are absorbing and trust me there is a lot of it, in the form of negative self talk, comparing yourself to others, FOMO, not feeling good enough, most of which sneaks into your subconscious without you even realising. It’s worth taking the break for this reason alone.
More present with your family!
Whether you want to or not, you will be more present with your friends, family and loved ones! Seriously though when you are not constantly checking and scrolling, you realise just how not present you’ve been.
More time to be bored, more time for self reflection, more time to do the things you love and stop putting off the things you don’t but have to do anyway. More time for working, more time for relaxing, more time to play, more time to sleep, more time to love, more time to walk, more time to connect, more time to slow down. More time to do whatever it you want!
If you consider that in the UK the average daily social media use per person is 108 minutes or just under two hours. That’s 54 hours a month! What could you do with an extra two and a bit days a month?
I hope that you are feeling less terrified and more inspired now about a scroll free September or at least, committing to scrolling less. I’d love to know your thoughts on this and if you’re going to give it a try.
Don’t forget that we are here for you throughout September and beyond for help on scrolling less and doing more of the things that light you up in life and in business in the Life Not Likes Membership space. Join us!