Social media… You might love it. Hate it. Or maybe both.
Recently there’s been a lot of conversation going on opposing social media.
People are sharing why they don’t use social media, anti-social media videos are going viral (like this one), people are revealing that they’re addicted to social media, and they’re also experimenting with taking breaks from social media.
And all of this is bringing to light the negative impacts social media may be having on our real lives…
We waste so much time, are not present or fully enjoying the moment because it needs to be Instagrammed first, we put virtual communication before real life connection, and if you go anywhere majority of people around you will be more preoccupied with their phones than their current reality and people right in front of them.
These negative impacts of social media has been a really common topic of conversation in my life lately, with friends, family and clients, and it has raised a really important question: How can we consciously use social media without letting it take over our lives?
This is something I’ve been exploring over the past couple of years.
Since I started my blog, I actually realised how incredible social media can be to serve, spread a message and connect with other like-minded humans. And to be honest, and I love social media because of these things.
What I don’t love is how overwhelming it can be or how it’s so easy to sucked into the social media vortex.
In Part 1 of this mini social media series, I’ll be discussing how you can start becoming less overwhelmed by social media.
1. Do you really want to use social media?
First of all, I think it’s really important to consider if you want to use social media.
Yep, that’s right, using social media is a choice.
If your overwhelmed by social media, you have the power to choose whether you use it or not.
No matter what you do in life social media is NOT compulsory, it’s a choice.
If you are curious why someone would choose not to use social media, read this.
If you think that you have to present on social media because you run a business. Think again.
YOU get to decide if you want to be present on social media, and if so, what platforms you wish to use.
Some things to consider:
∞ Why do you want to use social media?
∞ What social media platforms would help serve that purpose?
∞ And my absolute favourite question from Alexandra Franzen…
“Here’s another interesting question to consider: “Is social media helping me to become the best version of myself?” If the answer is “Yes” (and it very well may be) then, carry on! Create. Share. Inspire. Entice. Rock on. But if the answer is “No,” that’s something worth pondering.” — Why I do not use social media anymore.
It really is up to you!
You get to choose whether you use social media or not.
Are you happy with how you’re spending your life-minutes?
It’s your choice.
Decided that you don’t want to use social media? Awesome. Kudos to you.
I recommend reading this to help coach yourself through this decision, and even if you do choose to return to social media (like Tara did) know that it’s totally okay to change your mind. Do whatever is best for YOU.
Decided that you do want to continue to use social media? Awesome. Kudos to you too.
If you really believe that social media has a place in your life and that it can serve you, let’s continue on…
2. How much time are you spending on social media?
Bring your awareness to how much time you are spending on social media.
Reflect on your day so far… How many times have you checked social media?
If you really want to have your mind blown, start a stopwatch every time you go on social media for one whole day, and see how many minutes those “quick Instagram checks” really add up to be.
Side note: I had to do this for a whole week for a university project and the amount of time I spent on social media shocked me so much that it motivated me to completely change my relationship and behaviour with it (which I’ll share about in Part 2!)
Some things to consider:
∞ What are you getting out of the time your spending on social media?
∞ How do you feel about the amount of time you’re spending on social media?
∞ Are you really okay with the amount of time (and life-minutes) you’re spending on social media?
∞ Is the way you’re currently using social media really serving you?
If you are honestly okay with the amount of time you spend on social media, that’s awesome!
If you’re not okay with the amount time you’re spending on social media, that’s okay too. What’s important is how you decide to proceed from now on.
3. When do you turn to social media?
It’s really useful to get clear on the honest role that social media playing in your life.
By working out what makes you check social media, you can really start to understand the role it’s playing in your life.
Some things to consider:
∞ What do I use social media for?
∞ What makes me reach for social media?
∞ How do I usually feel before I go on social media?
∞ Do you use social media because you’re bored, or procrastinate more important things, or because you’re feeling something you don’t want to feel?
These questions can help you work out what makes you actually go on social media in the first place — and can help uncover if the way you’re actually using it is really serving you.
4. What part of your social media use is not working for you?
If you’ve made it this far, I’m assuming that you’re probably not happy with the way you currently use social media.
And if you’re not happy with how your currently using social media, let’s dive a little bit deeper into why.
It can be really useful to work out what part of your social media use isn’t working for you and what you’re honestly not happy with.
When I did this, I realised that I was unhappy with…
∞ The amount of time I was wasting on social media and how I would use it to procrastinate doing more important things.
∞ That I would habitually check social media first thing in the morning and before I went to sleep at night, which was interfering with me going to sleep.
∞ That I would turn to social media to distract myself if I was feeling anxious, that I would use it if I felt “bored” and it was contributing me feeling overwhelmed.
∞ That it had gotten to the point where I couldn’t even watch a movie without picking up my phone and scrolling through Instagram (or wanting to!)
∞ That I felt like I didn’t have time to read or do other things that I loved, even though I knew I was wasting countless hours on social media.
∞ And to be really honest I felt like I was spending more time scrolling social media, than actually consciously living my life. And I also felt that social media was definitely not helping me the best version of myself.
This was exercise was really useful at helping me realise the negative impacts social media was having on my life, and made me realise the specific ways social media was not serving me.
It also helped motivate me to start using social media more consciously (more on that in Part 2).
5. Do you need to take a break?
By now you might have realised that you’re not happy with the way you’re currently using social media.
So if you feel called to, take a break from using it completely, for however long you feel you need to.
It can be really useful to temporarily step away from social media to give your self some space (to breath and live), so you can evaluate how you want to proceed from here onwards.
This can also be really useful to help uncover the role social media is playing in your life, how much you really use it, what makes you turn to it during the day, and can also help “break” habitual social media behaviour.
It also can create a clean slate, to which you can consciously choose how you use social media when you return to it.
Need some inspiration to take a break?
Claire felt like social media was making her stressed out and a sucky friend, so she signed off for awhile.
Tash decided to act like social media didn’t exist for 5 days and became “determined to do a lot less scrolling, and a lot more living.”
For me, whenever I feel called to I will take a break from social media (even if it’s just for a day, or two, or the weekend). It always helps reduce overwhelm, rejuvenate me and also helps to use it more consciously (with intention) when I return.
6. How do you want to use social media?
If you’ve worked out what isn’t working for you when it comes to social media, then you probably now how you don’t want to use it.
So now work out how you actually want to use social media in your life.
For me, I decided that…
∞ I wanted to use social media to contribute and serve in a positive way.
∞ I wanted to spend way less time on social media.
∞ I wanted social media to serve me and I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed by it.
∞ I wanted to spend more time LIVING, rather than documenting my “life”.
∞ I wanted to social media consciously and intentionally (which I’ll share more about in part 2).
By now you probably have a pretty good idea on if social media is actually serving you, or not, and how you actually want to use social media.
Now it’s time to start taking action…
This post will help you bridge the gap from social media not serving you, to giving you the tools to help you use social media the way you want to.
Now I would love to hear from you in the comments: What is your relationship to social media like? Are you happy with the amount of time you spend on social media? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
If we’re not already pals on social media, I would love to be! If you want some feel-good inspiration in your social media feeds you can find me hanging out on:
Love & Gratitude,
PS. You might also enjoy: How to use social media consciously (without the overwhelm).
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