Are you like me and check/post to your Social Media as part of your daily routine? Is it almost as natural as it is to brush your teeth or put on underwear…(oh my god, I’m normal…right?)
Social Media checks in the morning as your eyes barely open in squint at your brightly lit phone screen…only to be followed by that lunchtime check in and scheduled posts scattered through the day…and of course the evening and right-before-bed round up where your eyes are just begging for sleep but you need to know if Kylie Jenner has given birth (anyone have updates on that?)
When Social Media Becomes Ingrained Your Mind
There’s a few type of social media users. The occasional posters that you forget even have Social Media. The 40+ age group that is still struggling to grasp just how Facebook comments work. And those that are in so deep that you forget you can’t ” @ ” people in an email, that not every thing needs to be written in 280 characters, the one’s who take at least 100 photos before posting the right one…
Some of us that are in this deep, have our reasons.
For me, I’m deep in Social Media all day because part of my job is managing Social Media for clients. And then I come home and do Social Media for my blog. In an average day, I’d say I spend at least half of it on Social Media or online content. Social Media doesn’t really leave my brain at any point in the day.
And a lot of people I follow are in the same boat! My little group includes a bunch of Canadian bloggers, local businesses, start ups and entrepreneurs who are just as honed in on social media as I am to boost their careers. But even for the average user, there are a fair amount of time in their day that they use Social Media.
When Social Media Becomes Unhealthy
There’s a reason psychologists, scientists and mental health groups are looking at the effects of Social Media on the mind. Surely, with people spending so much time in this virtual space, creating their lives in photos, tweets, posts, videos and recordings, there has to be a downside. Spending so much time engulfed in Social Media, isn’t healthy!
I noticed this for myself a few months ago. The more time I spent on Social Media, the more miserable I became. The thing is, Social Media is a craft. Everyone on Social Media is crafting exactly what they want you to see. People spend hours getting “perfect photos”, crafting the wittiest tweets to go viral, posting videos that are pure clickbait, and creating content that makes their life seem…Social, thrilling and magical. Does #blessed ring a bell?
Before realizing this, I spent my time comparing my life to the life of others I follow and those who have large Social Media followings, thinking to myself, “What have I done wrong?”
“Why aren’t I getting 1000+ likes on my photo”
“Why isn’t my blog getting 50+ comments”
“Why aren’t my tweets getting Retweeted?”
“Does no one care about my videos?”
And that’s when I knew… I was in too deep!
Was it good for my Mental Health to be comparing myself to others and to be wondering why I’m not as successful as others? Absolutely not! Was it ruining my confidence the deeper I went? Absolutely!
What Are You Actually Achieving With Social Media?
Don’t get me wrong, using Social Media is an important part of my career and my daily life. But I don’t want it to be ALL that there is to me. I don’t want people to only remember me for that one really awesome Instagram picture I posted…Or only remember me for that tweet that had the funniest Gif ever… or only remember me for what I did with a brand.
I want people to remember me as a person, and to remember my blog as a place where they can get tips on persistently living and creating a life they love. Really, there is more to what I do in a day than what goes on in Social Media, and it’s important to take a step away from everything online to go and live! Sure, it would be really cool to have a popular Instagram post, but at the end of the day, it’s not my goal to create a life around getting popular Instagram photos. Instead, I want my life to be around creating memories and images that could be Instagrammed, or could make it into a cool photo album for my future kids. But, the only way to do that is to be actively living my life.
(sidenote: Persistently Living is a concept I carrying really close to my heart, and I hope it translates to my readers)
Create a Life Away from Social Media and Take Care of Your Mental Health
So if you feel like you’re caught up in Social Media and are living for it, rather than living for yourself, it’s time to take a step away. Move back. Move way, way back. In fact, take a Social Media cleanse for a week. That’s right, don’t be posting and don’t be checking!
Within that week, write down everything you’d like to (realistically) experience in the week. And then actually do all these things! But DO NOT put it on Social Media! Don’t even CHECK it.
At the end of the week, see how many of these things you’ve done and see how fulfilled you are. Chances are, you’re feeling pretty damn fulfilled. Why? Because you’re actually going out, truly living every day, and not giving a worry about how it looks on Social Media. And if you’re like me and play the stupid comparison game, this week will put your mind back in a healthier state. Trust me…no one ever felt better by comparing! It will only make you more anxious or depressed about your own life and what you’ve “done wrong”.
Here’s a 5 Point checklist for Persistently Living away from Social Media and doing something good for your Mental Health:
Write a list of the top 5 things you’d like to do on your own this week—like reading a book, going on a walk, having a self-care night. Whatever things you can enjoy on your own and will help you relax. Lately, I’ve been doing some nightly skin care routines as part of my “me time”
Catch up with friends over a phone call or dinner and actually LISTEN to what they are saying and enjoy their company.
Write down things that you are grateful for everyday—because gratitude does change how your mind works and it will make you far less salty about the magical lives people live according to the internet
Write down what you’ve accomplished in your time away from Social Media and how it’s positively changed your week. Maybe the break has given you more time with your family, or more time to tackle learning a new language.
Write down what makes you a kick-ass person away from Social Media. You have REAL qualities about you that you deserve to remind yourself of. You exist OUTSIDE of Social Media!
Once you’re in a habit of living away from Social Media, upon your return, you won’t feel nearly as far into the Social Media black hole. When you realize you can survive a week without Social Media and that you can LIVE freely, you won’t be compulsively checking in on Social Media or updating it. More importantly, you won’t be feeling like your life isn’t as special as others, and you won’t be making comparisons to the crafted personalities on Social Media…
But I know I’m not the only one with these thoughts on Surviving Social Media. I want to know what you think! How do YOU keep yourself in check?