Social media can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it’s a great platform for keeping in touch with friends and family, it can keep us informed, you can do business on it and make connections–you name it, the list goes on and on. However, there is a dark side of social media that tends to get overlooked by the majority of its users.
As consumers, we’ve become addicted to all the drama that social media provides us with. We get to live vicariously through others posts, and then start comparing our own lives to theirs. It’s a dark rabbit hole that can easily suck you in.
Over the past year, I’ve made it a habit to take a break from social media at least once a month. And I can tell you, it’s not as hard as you think. My spiritual and mental energy feel fortified during this hiatus and I’m less stressed. You don’t realize how draining social media can be until you actually step back from it.
Here are some symptoms of what I call “social media overload”. I highly recommend that if you’ve been experiencing any of them, give yourself a little social media detox.
1. You check social media first thing in the morning.
To me, morning time is sacred. And anything that is energy draining needs to get the ole heave-ho. If the first thing you do after opening your eyes is hop on social media, you need to put the phone down and step away.
Dedicate your mornings to you–meditate, pray, ease into your day so that you can conquer it like the bad ass you are. If you’re spending what little spare time you have in the morning on social media, are you really going to be ready to tackle what’s ahead of you? The answer is a resounding no. You might be able to muddle through, but with establishing the right mindset in the AM, you’re setting yourself up for success.
2. You compare your life to what others post.
I think anyone who has social media has experienced this. Our feed is full of people posting their successes, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it can make you feel a little defeated. Over time, constantly feeling that way takes a toll on you mentally.
The truth is, 99.9% only post the good stuff. And honestly, let’s face it, all of us likes to show off a little (some more than others, ahem). So if you find yourself constantly thinking, “Why can’t that happen to me? I do x, y and z better than they do. Why am I still struggling?” or, “When am I going to find a relationship like that?” then it’s time to take a social media break.
3. Any spare time you have, you spend it on social media.
If you’re consistently checking social media any time you get a chance, honey, it’s time for an intervention, lol. Put the phone down and be present, for crying out loud! Soak up the beauty of nature by taking a walk, read a good book, fill your time with things that feed your soul.
There’s nothing wrong with checking social media, but if that’s all you’re doing in your spare time, you’re missing out on life. Take a break and you’ll see. I limit myself as to how much time I spend on social media (even when I’m not on a social media break). I think it’s really important to self-parent in this aspect. Social media can become an addiction, so stay ahead of the game and if you have to, put time restrictions on yourself.
4. If there’s an election or history making event that’s taking place or took place.
I’m not saying to stick your head in the sand and ignore the current political climate, but it goes without saying that a LOT of us have very strong opinions. And while we’re entitled to those opinions, I don’t think it’s healthy to be bombarded, or be the one doing the bombarding, of our opinions.
Whenever there’s an election or a history making event, I go radio silent. If I deem it necessary, I’ll speak up. But for me, speaking up doesn’t do much but rattle people’s cages and cause them to be triggered. I prefer rolling up my sleeves and doing something about it. So if you feel strongly about a cause, get out there and do something for that cause. People will see your enthusiasm and you’ll inspire them to do the same.
In no way am I poo-pooing social media. I love social media and a lot of my work is on social media. But I do feel that there’s a time and a place for everything and if social media has become an all-consuming aspect of your life, then you should reassess its importance. I can guarantee that NOTHING is as important as your inner peace and mental well-being. So don’t be afraid or get FOMO (fear of missing out) of a social media break; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. will all still be there when you return.