I think most people would agree that in this day and age, technology is an integral part of our lives. There are so many positive aspects of social media. With the tap of a button, you have access to meetings with business partners all over the world through Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype. You can stay connected with high school friends and distant family members through Facebook and Instagram. In fact, I’d say that the majority of the time, social media is a very constructive outlet. Often, it’s my way to de-stress and connect with like-minded women. It’s also a source of inspiration and motivation when I just need that extra boost. I get so many great ideas from social media. From fun activities for kids and health and wellness ideas to fashion and beauty tips, I’m usually finding ways to better my life.
However, there comes a time when I have to ask myself if my screen time and social media usage is becoming unhealthy. As much as I hate to admit it, my screen time has increased way too much these past few months being quarantined at home. Each Sunday, when the weekly screen time report pops up on my phone, I’m always shocked at the numbers I see. As great as social media is, sometimes it can be too much. Here are some signs that it may be time to social distance yourself from social media.
You feel sad, unworthy or uninspired
We’ve all been there. Innocently scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, you come across a post that puts you in a bad headspace. It usually comes from someone you don’t even know or have never met. Why does it get to you? While it’s only natural to compare yourself to others, it becomes unhealthy when you stop appreciating the things you have. When you feel like you will never measure up to someone else’s picture-perfect life, it’s time to hit the pause button. It’s important to remember that social media is only a snapshot of someone else’s life. The person posting gets to pick and choose what gets shown on her profile (often with the help of professional photographers, photoshop, and heavy editing). The truth is that someone will always have something better- a nicer house, a fancier car, a better body, or a more important job. However, the old cliché is true- the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. If you need to take a step back from social media to remind yourself that some of these “real life” pictures are far from reality, do it! You should never feel like you aren’t good enough or that you don’t measure up.
You justify those bad habits you’re trying to break
I can’t tell you how many days I wake up telling myself I’m going to eat healthily. I’m going to work out today. I’m not going to have a second glass of wine tonight. I’m going to read a book instead of watching the latest Netflix show. I’m not going to waste money online shopping for things I don’t really need. The list goes on and on. Then, I open up Instagram or Facebook to see someone who has cooked a heavenly dessert that they claim I HAVE to try, or, I see an influencer sporting the cutest outfit that just happens to be on sale. Maybe I stumble upon the infamous “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” post of someone sipping a cocktail while binge-watching her favorite show. These are often the times when I throw my ambitions out the window. I think if everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t I? When social media helps you justify hanging on to some of these bad habits you are trying to break, and your goals go out the window, it’s time to take a step back and refocus on YOUR priorities.
You find yourself mindlessly scrolling
How often do you pick up your phone and, without thinking about it, start scrolling through Facebook or Instagram? Before you know it, fifteen minutes or more have passed, and you aren’t even sure what you have looked at or what value it has brought to your life. When I find myself scrolling and swiping without truly taking in any information, or even remembering what I have looked at, I know it’s time to take a step back.
Social media, like any other tool, should be used to your advantage. It should build you up and make you a better version of yourself rather than tear you down. If it doesn’t add something of value to your life, it may not be worth it. There should be a balance with all things, and you should never let the virtual world take the place of reality.