My Social Media Detox
It's time to get personal... I have a problem.
I've been seriously struggling with social media exhaustion for the past year or so. There was a constant nagging pressure to occupy some kind of virtual space. What started out as a fun way to keep up with friends, pass the time and gather inspiration had become quite a chore and a major source of annoyance. With a seemingly endless number of social platforms to maintain and a constant influx of pretty pictures, social media stopped being fun for me.
You may have noticed that I took a step back on Instagram and have been sharing fewer posts than ever on this blog. My hiatus pretty much boils down to really thinking about the content I'm putting out into the world. Is it enough? Will it resonate? Is it just more of the same? The world is changing and for me right now it seems really scary. When I'm scared, I tend to fight. Right now I'm fighting. My perspective has changed a lot after eight years of confidence in our country's leader to have someone I pray makes good decisions for us, but seems to disappoint me hourly. So when I speak on these platforms and through my work, I want it to be relevant, not just fluff.
So I did a major detox: questioned why I was following people, unfollowed some, evaluated what I was putting into my brain. It was marvelous! So this is how I started:
distance // The best thing to do when you're feeling the social media anxiety is to create distance. Take a break from Instagram, unfollow the feeds that make you feel like you're undernourished. It's almost second nature now to reach for our phones and scroll through updates when there's a lull in the day or first thing in the morning but being present in the real world (read: not taking place behind a tiny screen) is paramount. Although it seems like completely giving up an online life just isn't an option anymore (I'm in major awe of those who can pull this off but blogging as a profession and having friends / family all over the world seems to prevent me from totally unplugging), you CAN control how often and when you engage.
worry about yourself // Your life is not the life of your neighbor. Try your hardest not to compare your journey with everyone else and remember that everything will happen for you in its own time.
learn to see the highlight reel for what it is // It's not real. That's what it all comes down to, isn't it? Most of those pretty posts are staged and people aren't as likely to snap and share the moments that aren't all smiles. It can feel like everyone else is living their best life but try and remember that we all get into PJs and eat rocky road in front of the TV. Just me?
find social channels that feed you, not tax you // Taking some time away from social media has really helped me identify the things I do and do not like about it all. Likes: staying connected, sharing memories, being inspired, creating. Dislikes: competition, pressure. I have weeded out the social channels that feel taxing (for me that's a few of the more boring outlets like Twitter, Google+, etc.) and identified the ones that feed my soul with inspiration (Pinterest and Tumblr for collecting pretty images and bright ideas). Then there are those double-edged swords (Instagram and Facebook) that seem to do a little bit of both. I'm still learning how to use these to connect in authentic ways and do away with the features that don't serve me.
get over yourself (sorry) // This bit of advice is more for myself but get over yourself. There is so much more going on in the world than social media. Find some perspective and re-evaluate the energy you're putting into things that don't serve a bigger purpose.
p.s. It was almost an instinct to sign off from this post with a plug to my own social media feeds but instead I'll say this:
You are not the summation of a grid filled with tiny squares. You are so much more than the 82 people that liked your latest #shelfie.