Is Social Media Draining You?
I just completed a one week social media vacation! I’ve heard so many people talk about “social media detoxing” in the wellness world, so I thought I’d give it a try. From this week off of social media, I realized that I already did have many healthy habits around my social media use. I discover a missing link though; one habit that if implemented could completely boost my productivity and state of ease. I truly do believe that social media is simply a tool. It’s not good or bad, it’s just a means of communication and a means of learning and exploring different topics. It’s up to us to use it in a productive way that fuels us rather than in a mindless way that drains us. Because remember: everything in your life is either fueling you or draining you.
Here are my top seven tips for making social media work for you, and not against you:
1. Follow positive and inspiring accounts.
Have you ever heard that phrase, “you become more like the people you're surrounded by”? That goes for the social media accounts you follow and the content you consume as well. Follow only accounts that uplift you, inspire you, and make you feel great! Consume content that fuels you, and unfollow accounts with content that leaves you feeling drained.
2. Turn envy into inspiration.
I’ve heard many people say that they end up comparing themselves to people they see on social media. I’ve been there myself! But I soon realized that you can have, do, and be anything that you want if you believe in yourself and are committed to your vision and goals. With a strong and positive mindset, it is impossible to be envious. If you do feel envy creeping in, remind yourself that it’s really just inspiration since you can have whatever that person has too!
3. Have a “technology curfew”.
There is so much information and exciting content on social media. It can be very stimulating to our brains. The blue lights on our phones also block melatonin production, which is necessary for high quality sleep. Get into a habit of putting your phone on airplane at least one hour before you go to sleep so that social media doesn’t interfere with your rejuvenation time.
4. Practice the Pomodoro Technique.
Practicing the Pomodoro Technique for productivity absolutely changed my life. You set a timer for 25 minutes and focus completely on one single task until the timer rings, take a quick five minute break in between focus sessions (or as my friend and I like to call them, FTCs - "Focus Time Chunks"), and then a longer break after every four focus sessions. When I started using this technique, I stopped getting distracted by social media while I was working. I now apply this to other areas of my life as well such as playing my piano and drums, and reading books and articles.
5. Have specific time limits and times for using your social media.
Once I started practicing the Pomodoro Technique to prevent being distracted by social media, I realized that I could use a timer to contain my social media use periods as well. Choose a time period in the morning and one in the evening where you will be active on social media. Be sure to set a timer so that you’re aware of how much time you’re spending on social media. You can still upload photos to your Snapchat and Instagram stories when you’re out. But practice putting your phone away immediately afterwards and focus on what you’re doing, whether it’s socializing, admiring nature, or eating some good food!
6. Turn off your social media app notifications.
Go into your phone settings and turn off your social media app notifications. If you look at your phone to check the time or use a map and you see some social media notifications, it is definitely tempting to check them... and then all of a sudden you’re lost in cyberspace! I’m sure that’s happened to pretty much everyone at least a few times before. By turning off your notifications, you are avoiding the temptation to get distracted.
7. Allow for empty spaces in your day.
I had been doing a pretty good job with practicing the previously mentioned tips, but this last tip is the key thing that I discovered during my week off of social media. I had been following only accounts that inspired me, I had ditched the comparisons, I had implemented a “technology curfew”, and I had practiced excellent time management. But when I thought about my social media use, something still didn’t feel right. I’m so glad that I took a week off of social media, because I found the missing link. What was it? It was the fact that I didn’t allow any empty spaces in my day. I used to go on social media if I was ever waiting in a line or in the passenger seat of a car. I had limited my social media use, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to also go on social media during those times where I really had nothing else productive to do. Taking a week off of social media made me realize that leaving those empty spaces in my day really was productive. Allowing myself to simply just “be” and focus on my surroundings was such an excellent mental break. What really excited me was that not filling these times with social media actually allowed creative ideas to surface - ideas that I likely wouldn’t have had if I was so busy consuming content on social media.
I am so excited to be back on social media. I really do love it, and I am so grateful for all of the things that I’ve learned from social media content and for all of the wonderful people that I’ve been able to connect with. With these seven tips, I am confident that social media will continue to fuel me and will fuel anyone else who practices these tips as well. Do you practice any of these tips already? Which ones are you going to focus on implementing into your life this week? Let me know in the comments below if you have any other tips for how to make social media work for and not against you.
Lots of love,