How Do I Avoid Becoming Terminally Online?

Aug 06, 2023

Anonymous asks, quote:

I’d love to hear your takes on how to avoid becoming “terminally online” as a disabled person. It often feels like scrolling social media is all I’m able to do, I worry about losing touch with the real world outside of my screen and the angry people in it.

end quote.

Establish Routines

The first step to breaking the doom‐scrolling habit is to establish routines — consistent things you do to give your day structure. Waking up at the same time every day, exercising 3 days a week, and going for a walk in the afternoons are good examples of routines.

If your days are starting to blend together, build your routines around them: You got the mail because it is Tuesday and it is Tuesday because you got the mail. It’ll help give clear boundaries to the days of the week. Speaking of which…

Set Boundaries

Limit the amount of time you spend on social media during the day. There are both phone and app level settings you can use to manage screen time. Don’t answer Slack or Discord messages outside of set time frames.

Create Rituals

Rituals are the routines we keep simply for the joy of it. It’s sitting on the back porch after work and reading a book; making a cup of tea before winding down in the evening; meditating in the morning before we start the day. Find things that bring you joy in your life and do them consistently.

Choose to Relax

Relaxing is not the absence of work and relaxation doesn’t happen by default whenever we stop working. Set aside time to relax and make relaxing a thing you do and not a thing that just happens.

Find Healthy Distractions

A lot of social media use and doom scrolling is more about what we’re avoiding than what we’re consuming. In those moments between our routines and rituals we often find ourselves reaching for our phones to keep us from being alone with our own thoughts. If you need a healthy distraction, I recommend reading a book.

Actually Talk to People

I can hear some folks claiming that “all of my friends are on social media” and that “social media is how I keep in touch with people.” If those people are so important, call them. Have a whole‐ass, real‐time conversation with all the awkward pauses and filler words that come with it. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, then maybe those people aren’t your friends.