Social media. It is such a crucial part of our daily lives yet it can take over it. The advance technology we have allows us to connect with not only our friends and families, but with people from across the globe. No doubt social media and technology has advancements in our lives, it can have a few downsides. As with anything, am I right?
I am guilty of spending too much time on social media. Something about it is addictive, constantly scrolling through the newsfeed and doing it 50 times a day becomes a nasty habit. We are all guilty of this in some way or form. It is a part of our daily lives and separating from it can seem rather scary.
We look at our friends living their lives, sometimes they appear better than our own measly lives we live. That at times can lead to depressing thoughts and the feeling that your life is boring. Social media makes it 10x easier to compare yourself to others, whether that be talents, lives, and physical looks. It is great to look at others lives but do not allow it to consume your mind on why your life isn’t seemingly perfect like your friends. And at times, it can be easy to get sucked into the social media blues, a term I have made up meaning the sad, depressing, horrible, unproductive feelings social media gives us.
I experience the social media blues, and a few weeks ago, I had it bad. I felt myself getting incredibly sad. I think seeing my recent friends getting engaged, planning weddings, buying houses, and having adorable kids was a reminder where I am in my sad love life and brought the horrible feeling of my failed relationship that ended 9 months ago. And that can be a terrible feeling, to feel incompetent in life when compared to your friends who seem ahead of you. I would get upset looking at the highly successful photographers running their own business and I can barely get mine off the ground. Or looking at young artists who seem way more talented than me, who have spent 5 years in college learning art. And I see people having these awesome, incredible, happy go lucky lives where it just seems carefree, compared to my boring, stay at home and binge watch Netflix life.
Tough, right? It isn’t a nice feeling and unfortunately, a lot of people feel this way, whether they admit it (or even realize it) or not. The good thing is, you are not alone! As social media increases in our daily lives, we must take action in preventing the social media blues. I think it is good to limit time away from social media, for the sake of our mental health, and for some productivity, too! It is easy to get caught up in the social media storm. It starts off with looking at one status and quickly turns into two hours of Facebook stalking your ex best friend’s sister’s ex! Or you begin comparing your life to those on social media.
Luckily, I have a few suggestions to help with combating the dreaded social media blues!
- Limit social media time! As easy as this seems, doing it is something that has to be learned. It is creating a new habit and old habits can be hard to break. In the morning, I set my alarm for 15 minutes. That is how much time I allow myself to be on social media before I get up and start my day. At bed time, I give myself 25 minutes to carelessly flick through social media to my heart’s content. Throughout the day, I give myself small breaks to look at social media but I try to resist being on it during the day.
- Find other things to do when you are bored! Social media is something we get on when we are bored. It is an instant activity we have easy access to to keep us entertained. But perhaps find something else to keep your brain busy than looking at Instagram or Facebook every second of the day. Find a book and work on reading it in between breaks. Pick up a hobby, such as painting or knitting. If you just love being on your phone, find mind game apps that will stimulate your mind. You can even buy and download books onto your phone and tablet to read on the go, wherever you are.
- Download apps to help keep track of your social media intake! I have a few apps I use to help keep me off social media and that tracks how often I am on my phone. Depending on the phone you have, there are various apps you can use to track the usage of your phone, no matter the app, and will help you keep track. There are also apps to help you stay off your phone and be productive.
- Spend time with actual people rather than talking to people on the phone! Yes, we are all guilty of doing this. Why leave the comfort of my house and my sweats and Netflix to talk to you when I can stay here and text you? As great as that sounds, it can do you some good to plan time with friends in living flesh than through the screen. You can create real memories and it does us good to have true human interaction. And when you do go out, stay off your phone, unless you are taking a selfie to document (but limit the selfies to a minimum of 5 :D)
- Create a daily plan and stick with it! Start with creating a routine that you will stick to. This falls into limiting social media time. Give yourself allocated time to be on social media freely and the rest of the time, find productive things to do. It will do you good to create a game plan on executing your day. Fill it with as much busy work as possible to limit social media time.
- Take a social media break! Yes, I said it! Stay away from social media, whether that be deactivating it or deleting the apps off your phone. Back in college, a group of art students went to Santa Rosa Island (one of the Channel Islands) for a project. It was for two nights and three days but the thing was, there was no signal on the island. As scary as it was to not be able to connect with my family and friends for a weekend, I found it so relaxing to disconnect and focus on nature. We miss so much being glued to our phones, it was great to be away from it. I came back feeling recharged and actually missed not being on social media. If you can afford to do something like that, I encourage it for a couple of days.
I hope this helps with the social media blues. You are not alone, for we all get them sometimes. It is okay to disconnect from social media. It is not going anywhere. Try not to compare yourself to others as everyone’s lives are different due to individual experiences. Spend more time actually living your life rather than creating your life on social media.
With that said, get out there and have some fun! Stay tuned for more!