Do You Need A Social Media Break?
Am I the only one who can get distracted by social media?
I spoke to a friend of mine one day and she told me she was taking a social media break. She said that every time she logged onto social media she began to feel bad about herself. She began to feel like she wasn’t enough and that she wasn’t worthy.
Her story really impacted me, because I too can get overwhelmed by social media. I’ve noticed that if my mind isn’t guarded in gratitude for what I have and for who I am, I can fall into the comparison trap.
The sad part of the comparison trap that I experienced was that as I scrolled, I found myself feeling resentful for other people’s wins and I failed to appreciate my wins and the things I had. However, I didn’t want to be that person. I wanted to be a person who could feel genuinely happy for other people and to feel gratitude for the things in my own life.
Now, it is even more important to be vigilant about how much time we spend on social media. Between virtual learning and work from home due to the pandemic many of us are spending more time online and on social media. If we aren’t careful, then we can get fixated on other people, while forgetting that most of what we see on social media are carefully curated highlight reels of people’s lives, and we can forget the race we were called to run—our own lives. I know that has happened to me.
One of the things I had to learn was to evaluate how social media was impacting my emotions.
Evaluate the emotional impact of social media.
I noticed that I felt a variety of feelings and emotions as I scrolled. Sometimes as I scrolled I:
- Felt feelings of sadness, anger, insecurity, joy, lack, anxiety, worry, and stress.
- Began to gauge how I felt about myself compared to someone else’s wins, joys, setbacks, and the things that they were able to do.
- Questioned my own worth or if I was enough or was doing enough.
- Got distracted from the path I was supposed to be running, especially when it came to running a business, because I was so worried about what someone else was doing and the newest shiny object that other people were using.
- Noticed I was so distracted by social media and scrolling through my phone that my kids would talk to me and I would respond without even looking at them.
Do any of these sound familiar?
If any of these sound familiar, I encourage you to start to notice how you feel while you are on social media and how your emotions change as you scroll. This will help you to identify emotional triggers.
The impact of social media isn’t just limited to our mental wellness.
Sometimes social media can trigger a physical reaction.
In addition to emotional changes, social media may even trigger physical changes as well. Therefore, do a body check to see if you are tensing up or if your facial expression starts to change. For me, I have felt sinking feelings in my gut, I stopped smiling, or my heart began to race faster. That’s when I knew that what I was seeing on social media was triggering a physical response.
Getting awareness of how social media is impacting you mentally and physically is essential because it helps you understand if social media is adding value to your life or if it is detracting from it. This knowledge can then be used to help you regain or maintain your peace of mind and sense of self.
Social media can be destructive to our self-worth, self-esteem, and mindset.
While social media is a great way to stay connected to friends, family, and loved ones, it can also be destructive to our self-worth, self-esteem, mindset, and physical wellness. If the emotions that you feel while using social media aren’t positive or the time you spend on it is taking you away from your own life and the things that bring you happiness and value then it is time to take a break. If it isn’t building you up, then it is tearing you down and it’s got to go!
Can’t I use social media for inspiration?
There were times when I asked myself, “Can’t I just use it to get great ideas and inspirations?” While social media can be a great resource to come up with activities and educational things to do with our children, it’s important to not lose ourselves in the space of comparison.
For example, I remember being on Pinterest and I saw some pins that contained ideas for school lunch. In one particular pin, the child’s lunch contained a sandwich cut into little dolphin shapes, and the dolphin shapes were jumping into the lettuce, the carrots, the tomatoes, and all. It looked like dolphins jumping into the ocean against the backdrop of a sunny sky. It was so cool and creative.
However, I noticed in some of the comments that some of the moms compared their mom skills to the woman who posted the pin. Unfortunately, these moms exerted so much time and effort into perfecting these dolphins, but they felt their lunches didn’t measure up. Then they felt inadequate because they didn’t think they were good enough to make the perfect lunch for their children.
I have so much empathy for how they felt, because there were many times where I questioned whether I was good enough or measured up. There were times I looked at the vacations some families took and I felt like a failure because either I wasn’t or couldn’t do the same. I looked at the families who had their children in seemingly endless activities and I began to wonder if my twins’ schedule wasn’t full enough.
When I began to answer the question, “Can’t I just use it to get great ideas and inspirations”, the answer was “yes” as long as I understood the difference between using social media to help discover things that can enhance the things I’ve already identified as a priority for me and my family instead of using social media to render judgment and condemnation on myself.
It’s easier said than done, but it is possible. If it is challenging right now, then take a step back and get clear with what you want and who you are.
Know what brings you happiness
Find what brings you true happiness.
The real you.
Not the social media you or what some experts say.
What does happiness look like for you?
My struggles with comparison were so bad that I was literally going broke and destroying my credit trying to keep up with social media, what other people were doing, and what I felt I should be doing based on these things.
One of the most helpful things I did when I was struggling with social media, was to take a social media break. This is something that I still periodically do. Taking a social media break helps me to check in with me, how I feel, my goals, dreams, and connect with my children without the distractions. It helps me to find peace of mind and to stay anchored and connected in a hyper-connected world.
During that time I spent time by myself and in prayer to begin to figure out what brought me true happiness. I did the things that I enjoyed. I did the things that I had been putting off for several years because I was so busy trying to keep up with what everybody else was doing. Once I spent that time alone, I started to rediscover who I was. I began to understand the things that brought me true happiness in those moments. Therefore, I encourage you to do the same.
Get to know the real you
As you refuel yourself, rest in the knowledge that God created us in His image and likeness. We are God’s handiwork – His masterpiece. He made us who we are for a reason and He doesn’t make any mistakes. He didn’t make us look like our favorite celebrity, neighbor, family member, friend, or even someone we follow on social media.
There is only one you.
There is only one me.
Therefore, comparing ourselves to someone else and mimicking their life is diminishing the value of who we are and is disrespecting God because we are telling God that the person He created isn’t enough when in reality it is.
Therefore, the only person you should be ever comparing yourself to is a person that God has called you to be.
Leave a comment to let me know if you think you need a social media break and how that will help you.
If social media and comparison is causing stress or anxiety I encourage you to pick up a copy of “Chaos to Calm: A 25-Day Devotional to Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Worry.” This devotional will help you to have more peace in your life.
Aisha Taylor is a single mom of twins, personal financial coach, work from home entrepreneur, and #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle.” Aisha has been featured in ESSENCE, Jet Magazine, and Black Enterprise. She is also the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal), a movement designed to help single moms create a vision for their lives, craft a financial strategy to support that vision, and show them that phenomenal living is possible. It’s time for you to be Financially Phenomenal!