Social Media Freedom
BY GWEN GRIFFIN
Sometimes I think technology is one of the best things to happen to this world, and sometimes I think it’s the worst. Technology makes it possible to stay connected with friends and family through social media, talk face-to-face with long-distance loved ones, do research on the spot, deliver food, and order groceries…. seriously, we can do it all! This past year has really shown us how far technology can go and how we can all still communicate with one another during unsettling times. But because we are so connected and have gotten so used to instantaneous lifestyles, sometimes I think it’s hard for us to really connect with the physical world and live in the moment. It was also so hard not to use social media when it really started to take off when I was in middle school and high school (we can’t forget about the AIM and MySpace days). Don’t get me wrong; I have my iPhone in my hand ALL THE TIME. Still, I definitely notice when I’ve had too much screen time and almost feel like I’ve become disconnected from reality, especially when I catch myself mindlessly scrolling on social apps.
Even after working an eight-hour day, exercising, and going through my daily routine, I still find myself on my phone for hours on social media. Just like most people, I love using social media for inspiration in all aspects of my life; this includes recipes, workouts, travel, home decor, and hobbies. While I do think social media is a great way to connect and gather inspiration from people all over the world, I find myself feeling disconnected sometimes and exhausted, and I believe everyone needs a little social media freedom because the burnout from it is so real.
I started to notice some of my habits with social media when I was in college once it felt like I always needed to be up to date on the latest pics, trends, etc. I felt pressured to go out more and socially exhaust myself just to keep up with the people I followed. Most of the interactions and relationships I had felt disingenuous and forced just to “do it for the gram”… lol. Over time, I became more insecure and started going through a vicious cycle of comparing myself, my lifestyle, and my body to the people I followed. I share this because I believe social media apps are good, but I wasn’t the best at developing a healthy relationship with social media a few years ago, and too much of anything can be bad.
My Tips for a Healthy Relationship with Social Media
More recently, in the past three years or so, I’ve taken several steps (and some social media breaks!) to find balance, develop, and maintain a healthy relationship with social media platforms. I wanted to share some of the steps and tips I used over the past few years that have helped me and might help you check in with yourself and your relationship with social media.
- Mentally check in with yourself and increase your self-awareness – this is a great step to understanding your overall needs and wants
- Take note of your screen time – iPhones and other smartphones usually have a way of monitoring the hours you spend using applications on your phone
- Tune into how you feel and your thoughts about the media and people you follow – notice how you feel about yourself or if people are triggering negative thoughts
- Limit screen time – set boundaries and indulge in other hobbies, move your body, or get outside if you find yourself scrolling for too long
- Take a break – remember there are other ways to connect with people offline, and taking a hiatus during the holidays or for a month or two is perfectly okay
Anyway, don’t forget to cherish all of life’s precious moments that are not on the screen; those moments are so blissful, and you’ll find so much peace in them. I hope you, too, can have the social media freedom that you deserve.
If you enjoyed this post, read Opting Out of the Comparison Game