Social media first introduced itself in our lives in 1997; can you believe it's been that long? It's humble beginnings of a simple profile picture are deep in the past, today we can find out what strangers are eating for breakfast half way around the world in real time, heck, it's even playing a role in Presidential elections. Lately the buzz around social media has shifted from wonder to impact. Symptoms of anxiety, overwhelm and issues of bullying and self esteem are being associated with social media usage and it's a not just a conversation parents are having with their kids, adults too are feeling the effects of time spent on Instagram and Facebook. FOMO and anxiety about being disconnected from our phones is having an impact on our health and wellness, if this topic is resonating with you read on for some tips on how to avoid 'social media burnout':
Take note of your usage for a couple days. Do you open Instagram first thing after you wake up? Is scrolling through Facebook the last thing you do before bed? Do you check Snapchat during dinner with friends? Tracking your current usage gives you insight into your social media habits that could be hindering your health.
Studies show that shutting off electronics at least 1 hour before bed can lead to a better sleep and a good night's sleep improves stress levels, mental health, skin health, and hormonal health just to name a few. If you have a habit of looking at a glowing Instagram scroll before heading to bed, consider removing this activity from your nighttime routine.
If you look at your phone religiously first thing in the morning, switch out this habit for a couple of days, or even a week, and see how you feel. Replace it with a 10 minute meditation, conversation with your spouse/kids/roommate, a walk around the block, or a quiet cup of coffee. Give your mind a chance to go where it wants to first thing in the morning vs. filling it with images and posts about what everyone else is doing.
If you constantly pick up your phone to check social media when you have a moment of downtime or boredom consider switching this habit to only using your phone at set times of day. Pick an hour in the morning and evening for example and only look at your social media accounts during that time. You may be surprised at how little you'll miss, you'll likely shift to checking the accounts you're truly interested in vs. getting lost down the rabbit hole.
When you're at the dinner table with family, coffee with friends or waiting for yoga class to start, make an effort to stay off of social media. Be more interested in the person you're with, meet a new friend at yoga class. Essentially if you're with another person, be with that person vs. with Kylie Jenner's latest post.
Post what brings you joy! Worry less about what you think others want to see you post and post what lights you up. Recognize that what people actually want to see you post are the things that are authentic to you. Many social media platforms let you make your account private or public, so you get to decide who sees it (but remember, once it's on the internet there are no guarantees). Play around with cool features on your phone and laptop. Learn how to make time-lapse videos of a workout with friends or edit your kid's birthday party, adding music and highlighting bits to send to their grandparents. Be active, be a learner.
Catch yourself if you slip into the comparison trap. Looking at what others have and comparing it to what you've got isn't going to have a positive impact on your health and wellness. Use social media to discover restaurants, for travel recommendations, or to find new fitness classes. Lots of food bloggers post great recipes, fitness bloggers give you at-home workouts and brands show you what's new. Use it as a tool to gather information, use hash tags and search tools to seek out what you want to know vs. scrolling without intent.
If all else fails, take the apps off of your phone. You can uninstall and reinstall apps as often as you'd like. Maybe you take it off your phone Monday-Friday and put it back on on the weekends. What works for you, works for you!
Leah of Oil & Grain for HEMM