Let me ask you this:
What is your relationship with social media like?
Have you given it much thought?
Over the past 2 years, since I began my business as a health and nutrition coach, I've taken an even deeper dive into the world of social media. Not only am I using it for personal entertainment, but I'm also utilizing it for business growth and community. And while this can be a really positive thing, I never established boundaries or parameters for my usage and time spent investing in social media. So where did this lead me?
Well, my days basically looked like switching from my personal account to my business account, catching up on the adventures of friends on one account and checking in on likes and followers on the other.
Earlier this year, I started to experience extreme burnout. I was losing the excitement and zeal in my work, and I found myself in a comparison trap on the daily. So, this summer I decided to pull back in a lot of areas for a lot of reasons. Naturally, pulling back on social media was a given as I was noticing more and more its negative impacts on my mental and emotional health.
During much of June and July, I took a break. A hiatus, if you will. It was the BEST thing I could've done. I know you hear about social media detoxes and how deleting the apps for a little bit or limiting the screen time is good for you, and it's neither here nor there, right? Well, I decided to take this EXTREMELY seriously. I told myself that if I wasn't on social media, then I needed to be replacing it with more life-giving things. I did exactly that, and I feel obligated to share with you all that I learned. It's simple, but it's life-changing. And, of course, I challenge you to do the same.
Social media impacts our mental health, our relationships, our social skills, our self-worth, and our ability to make decisions.
In turn, the way we think, speak, and act are also affected. This is the concept of input yielding output.
Social media increases stress and anxiety, body insecurities, disordered eating habits, discontentment and comparison, and poor mental health.
Social media has a reinforcing nature. Using it activates the brain’s reward center by releasing dopamine, a “feel-good chemical” linked to pleasurable activities such as sex, food, and social interaction. The platforms are designed to be addictive and are associated with anxiety, depression, and even physical ailments.
So with that in mind, I thought it'd be good for me to take some time away and record the differences or impacts I noticed. I highly recommend every human doing something like this - It's incredibly eye-opening and rewarding. Your experience might be completely transformative if you let it.
Here are the 5 most profound things I learned or was reminded of:
1. REAL LIFE HAPPENS WHEN YOU PUT THE PHONE DOWN I know you may be thinking, "Well, of course not, Katey. We know this." But let me ask you this - Do you check social media every day or multiple times per week? Do you use social media as a pass-time? Do you use social media for news? Do you rely on social media to keep up with people? Do you communicate through social media instead of calling or scheduling a time to meet? Do you look at influencers' accounts and feel a deep desire to have that house or that dress or those shoes? Do you compare yourself based on what you see? Do you ever leave the house without your phone? Do you go #2 without your phone in the bathroom? Do you take pictures just to post them? Do you overanalyze those pictures to make sure they are "good enough" to post?
For some people, this isn't something you resonate with. For others, this might be a wake up call. Life happens when you put the phone down. I stayed off of social media for most of the month of July. It was liberating. I had better conversations; I read more; I spent more time outside; I cooked more; I lingered at the dinner table after I was done eating; I took more walks; I felt more confident; I was more content with my life. I am positive that you will have a similar experience.
2. YOU LITERALLY WIN YOUR TIME BACK Think about it - If you aren't spending your free time scrolling, then you're forced to find other ways to spend your time. I all of a sudden had more time for reading, walking, sleeping, watching movies, playing with my dog, spending more time around the dinner table, cooking fun meals - It was FREEING to have so much more time to dedicate to other things that genuinely mattered and benefited my mental health.
3. THE LESS TIME SPENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA, THE MORE MY CONFIDENCE INCREASES I quickly found that the primary source of my insecurity and discontentment is social media. My feed is flooded with influencers, friends doing fun things, dream homes, and new arrivals from my favorite boutiques, and all of it causes me to think less of myself and feel the need to have more in order to be happy.
By ridding my life of the exposure to these things, I carried myself with more confidence and felt entirely more content with who I am and where I am in life.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE GOOD, BUT IT WILL NEVER BE AS IMPORTANT AS I THINK IT IS
Period. Real life is important. And no matter what others say, social media is not real life. Live more offline.
Are you considering a social media hiatus? Take this as your sign to do it! It will be life-changing if you let it.