When is Social Media Too Much?
Picture this scenario: you wake up in the morning, feeling tired, thinking about work or what you may need to do for the day, you reach for your charged phone, and you open a social media app. If you live with loved ones, you haven’t interacted with your spouse, and/or your children. If you live by yourself, you’re interacting with an app before responding to or viewing your text messages or emails. Do these scenarios sound familiar? Keep reading. You’ve found yourself engulfed in a habitual routine of social media. Do you monitor the amount of time spent using these apps during your day? A little social media as a way to momentarily break from the more practical elements of everyday life is a current norm, but how do you know if social media is affecting your well-being and spirit? I’ve created a list that identifies the need to take extended breaks from social media.
1. You are noticeably upset after the first few minutes of social media.
Social media has changed what is deemed appropriate for daily consumption. Due to its influence, we may see, read, and hear traumatic experiences from a post, and yet we seemingly have numbed reactions. Have you ever thought about the daily psychological and emotional effects of experiencing violence, tragedy, sadness and anger through our phones? What is seemingly innocuous can actually affect your mood in the morning (or throughout the day) because on some level, you were affected unconsciously or spiritually.
2. You spend so much time on social media that you neglect an important part of your daily routine.
Do you ever find yourself allotting a specific amount of time to social media and then going over time because you’re caught up in posts? You limit the amount of time you can give to important activities that benefit you on a mental, physical and spiritual level. Don’t be late or skip breakfast for 30-45 minutes of social media.
3. You find yourself trolling the comment sections.
Social media comment sections can be a waste pool of people’s private logic. Not every post will be negative or outlandish, but if you keep scrolling, you will eventually find trouble. Many times, people who comment under a post speak in ways that they would not normally speak in person. There is safety in a public comment section because commenters don’t have to look others in the eyes, view body language, ignore replies or log off at any time. There are always those moments when you are tempted to respond, and in extreme cases, you can find yourself responding to someone who has very little respect for you or your opinion for HOURS.
4. You validate your self-worth based on likes and comments.
Human beings have instinctively need to belong. When you receive many likes on one post, you may begin to expect the same number of likes on other posts or aim to receive the same number of likes. You then find your self validating the kind of posts you make by the number of people interacting with your posts. These everyday interactions can affect yourself esteem.
5. You find yourself checking social media when participating in real life interactions with friends and loved ones.
Studies have shown that the mere presence of a phone on a date makes a partner feel uncomfortable and disconnected. Do you find it difficult to be without your phone even when interacting with the people you care about?
6. You have the urge to post about the intimate details of your life.
We all need an outlet to vent sometimes. We may even be overwhelmed by the consistent circling thoughts we have regarding a life experience. However, we may run into some complications when expressing these thoughts and opinions on social media. Remembering that we have hundreds of friends or followers is important when we publicly discuss private conversations. If we are speaking about our feelings towards someone else, the details of our writing can be taken out of context similarly to the way text messages are taken out of context. Secondly, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are not a replacement for journals and diaries. Your journals do not respond to you, and cannot critique you with its opinion. Think about this before posting: will you regret this post a few years into the future? (The same goes for photos too).
Everyone’s social media break looks different. For some, social media is a marketing tool or important aspect of their business. For others, social media is a way to stay connected to people who we would not remain connected with in other ways. Discover the benefits of a social media detox, and assess what happens to your mood. Do you become stressed, fidgety or consistently thinking about posts or your accounts? Well you may have an addiction vs. a habit. A little social media detox may even improve your mood. Creating a healthy balance can only happen when we dare to face a potential unhealthy habit.