How to break your social media addiction (and still get your fix)

I live my life online as much as anyone else does, perhaps even more than most. I’m fairly addicted to Instagram and rely on Twitter for everything from world news to Taylor Swift’s exact movements, but sometimes, it feels best to turn that phone on airplane mode and shut off all social media. We tend to rely so much on digital platforms to tell our stories that we neglect other things we could do to enrich our lives and make memories. So, instead of living on social media, try these things to do something more productive and fulfilling than updating your Facebook status.

Instead of Twitter: Keep a diary. A real, handwritten diary that will let you reflect on your life and mark down important events. It can be as easy as buying a little planner and jotting down some errant thoughts you have throughout the day. If the withdrawal hits you bad, restrict your “tweets” to 140 characters! For example, “Today I had the most amazing sandwich and took ten minutes outside to relax. It was beautiful until a dog tried to bite me. Hashtag oh well.”

Instead of Instagram: Print out your favorite photos from the past year and assemble a scrapbook. This yearbook should highlight only your favorite moments, so no food pictures! So many of the daily snaps we take are pointless; silly photos are definitely fun, but for your yearbook, choose only the best pictures. If you do one every year, you’ll have something physical to look back on in twenty years and remember all the good times you had. You can do a digital photobook via Shutterfly or Mixbook, but I think it’s more fun to print out the pictures and glue them into a scrapbook. It’ll take your eyes away from the bright laptop screen and let you do something personal, creative and completely customizable.

Instead of Facebook: Send out real paper invitations for a Girls’ Night or a high school/college reunion. Ask for addresses and write them out, using real stamps and everything! Instead of organizing an event via Facebook or stalking your old friends’ updates, get together at a restaurant or bar and catch up in real life. The slow method of reaching out will be even more deeply appreciated.

Instead of Tumblr: Make a collage to cover an entire wall, or make one on a message board. I have one like this in my room, filled with old photographs, ticket stubs from shows and concerts, invitations I received, silk flowers, brochures from museums or tours I attended. Make it extra special by printing out your favorite inspirational quotes or funny Instagram posts your friends have taken. This way, you can see it in your apartment or bedroom every day, and it’ll be a constant reminder of all the things you’ve done and the people you’ve known.

Instead of SnapChat: Send postcards to your friends. This can turn into a real fun activity. Print out some funny or pretty images and write messages on the back like “thinking of you” or “remember when we did this…?” Everybody loves getting snail mail and this can be such an easy way to cement friendships or reconnect with people you still care about.

Hashtag That Analog Life.

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