How To Fix Your Social Media Addiction
My Breaking Point with Social Media
Recently, when I could not get the transition to work for a Reels video I was trying to upload on Instagram, I realized I needed a change. It was like I had hit a breaking point. After 30 minutes of frustration and no success, I decided I was just not going to post anything on social media. At this moment, I was even more frustrated at the thought of how much time and effort I had been committing to maintaining my social media accounts.
Despite being involved in several monthly posting challenges, I had been feeling the need to have a sort of “social media detox”, but ignored it for too long. I admit, I was nervous about taking a break for fear of how it might affect my engagement, but I was finally at the point where I didn’t care about any of that.
I set my phone down, rearranged my bedroom back to the way it was, and got in the bed. That night, as I lay in bed, I decided to commit to a break from social media. I deleted Instagram and Facebook from my phone and vowed to not log on during the break.
I didn’t set a specific length for my break. I essentially decided I would stay off until it felt right.
That break ended up being everything I needed. Yes, I missed lots of activity, but I honestly didn’t lose anything during the days I was off. For 4 days I wasn’t concerned about my accounts and I had no social media worries. I call that a win!
What Are You Gaining from Social Media?
As a Blogger and Venue Sourcing Professional who actively uses Facebook to engage with my audience and promote my business, I had been afraid to take any sort of break from social media for fear of the negative effects on my business. I have read about the algorithm and how it favors users who post consistently. I bought into it and just ignored the nudge from God telling me to take a break.
Over the past couple of years, I have developed an unhealthy relationship with social media. I spent countless hours scrolling through social media with no real benefit in my life. I was working tirelessly in efforts to grow my audience.
I was reading everything I could about how to gain followers and beat the algorithm. It was wearing me out! Yes, I do gain something from posting, engaging with my audience, maintaining my connections, but honestly, I have been losing something at the same time. My mental wellbeing was silently suffering.
Ask yourself, what do you really gain from social media? It is important to be aware of the value, if any, social media brings to your life.
I liked to tell myself that I had a good hold on how I consumed social media. That was proven to be a lie. Social media was starting to control me. How did I know?
How to Know You Have an Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media
I was finding myself deep in the comments section of posts littered with ludicrous comments, even though I knew it would negatively impact my mood. I got wrapped up in sessions of comparing myself to other accounts. I was stressing over what to post and worried about posting at the “wrong time”.
I was obsessed with the metrics of my accounts. I was also devoting too much time to creating my posts. All of this was stressing me out and I wasn’t doing anything about it.
For you, there may be different things that reveal the health status of your relationship with social media. The important question to ask yourself is does social media cause you to be stressed in any way?
If the answer is yes, then the next question to ask yourself is do you keep using social media the same way, despite the stress? If the answer is again, yes, then you definitely have an unhealthy relationship with social media.
Using Social Media to Promote Your Business?
If you use social media for business purposes (this includes influencers) and are into social media marketing, then you already know about all the social media experts who tell you all the things you must do to have success on social media. They say to be consistent, post daily, respond to all the comments, engage with your audience, and use all the posting methods, show up in your stories, etc. Literally, do all the things all the time or you will never be successful. I can personally admit that it is exhausting.
Of course, work comes with any endeavor or life goal, but this social media thing is a different kind of monster, mostly because everything is controlled by the algorithms and the powers that are out of our control.
I think we have all heard the stories where an Instagramer says they just randomly went viral overnight, with one post. There’s not always an explanation for reaching a certain level on social media. Sometimes it is up to chance. For me, it is frustrating and exhausting trying to keep up with all the rules and supposed methods to success on social media.
So, what is the solution to healthy social media management? There has to be a way to enjoy social media and utilize it to accomplish goals business goals. In short, there is a way, but it comes with an element of breaking the rules you were taught about utilizing social media.
How to Handle Social Media the Right Way (for business and personal purposes)
By now, you have likely heard of the way of life in which you only keep/do the things which bring you joy. I honestly think social media should be held to that same standard, regardless of why you use social media. Whether it is for strictly social purposes or business purposes, using social media should be fun.
For me, social media had become much less fun and more of a laborious task. It impacted me mentally and I didn’t even realize it, because I had convinced myself that I had it all under control.
During my short, but impactful, break from social media I realized there are some things I need to do differently when it comes to social media to curb my own addiction.
12 Ways to Fix Your Social Media Addiction
1. Admit when you are addicted. Even if you are an influencer or use social media for business, you can still be considered addicted. Don’t let “I’m working” be an excuse for why you ignore an addiction to social media. I like how Psychology Today takes you through the steps to see if you are addicted to something. Check it out and see if you might be addicted to social media.
2. Use Social Media with a purpose. Before you even open the app, have a plan. Are you searching for something specific? Are you catching up with your friends? Are you posting content? Are you engaging with your audience or attempting to build new connections? Are you responding to messages? Whatever it is, go in with a plan. This will stop you from scrolling aimlessly for hours. It is important to have a social media strategy, especially if you are a business owner or social media influencer.
3. Set an app timer on your phone. You can limit the amount of time your phone allows you to spend on any app. Consider your work and break schedules and when you can realistically spend time on the app. Maybe you want to limit yourself to only 20 or 30-minute sessions at a time. Then decide how many times a day you will have a session. Set your app time limit based on that math. Your app will disable itself once you have reached your daily limit. Be strong enough not to extend the limit, unless you legitimately have productive work that you need to get done on the app.
4. Do not visit other accounts to look at their numbers or dream of living how they live. This only breeds comparison. Make a habit of visiting other accounts to consume positive messages or to interact in positive ways. There are so many factors that go into making an account what it is, you're basically comparing apples to oranges when you attempt to compare. You cannot have anyone else's life. You also cannot copy an account and think you will get the same results – unless of course, you decide to be a “model” and start posting half-naked pictures. Those accounts always do well haha. Insert eye roll.
5. Plan your content. If you are a blogger or influencer, this is key. Planning your content allows you to be more intentional about your use of social media and can naturally decrease the amount of time you spend on the apps. Planning also puts you in control of the apps.
6. Don’t use social apps in the car. Obviously, texting while driving is illegal, but if you are like me, you probably open a social app at stoplights or in standstill traffic. This simple step is just another way to stop social media from being the first thing on your mind during a free moment.
7. Set a “no earlier than” time. Commit to only getting on your social app after a certain time. This point will prevent you from waking up and grabbing for your social apps. This was me. If I woke up in the middle of the night, I would open an app, SMH. Instead, decide that you will not get on the apps until you have completed your morning routine and/or at least one item from your to-do list.
8. Set a “no later than” time. As with item #7, commit to not being on social apps after a certain time of day. This may lead to making your bed a “no social media” zone. This one could definitely save some relationships and marriages!
9. Disassociate likes and self-worth. This item is major! If likes give you a high and a lack of likes brings about negative feelings, then you have to work on changing your mental response to likes. I read something recently that said,
“The response of your audience is not necessarily a measure of your success”. -unknown
That spoke to me because I was wrongly connecting the two in a very matter of fact way. Neither your self-worth nor your success should be directly linked to likes or silly social media numbers.
10. Play smart. Unless social media is your job, it shouldn’t feel like a job. You may need to scale back on trying to follow all the social media rules regarding getting ahead, gaining followers, or increasing visibility. Your mental health is much more important than trying to live up to standards that may or may not be valid. So many people claim to have the secrets to “success” on social. The real secret is that you will drive yourself nuts trying to keep up with all the rules. Not to mention, the rules differ from person to person and are always changing. Ultimately, be smart about what you’re trying to achieve on social media and don’t overwork yourself trying to keep up.
11. Get rid of negativity IMMEDIATELY! I struggled with this one as I had somehow convinced myself it was “helpful” to keep people around with different views or values. I essentially tortured my mental by keeping these accounts in my view. I would still read all the posts that left me feeling negative, rather than skipping over them. Remember, if it doesn’t bring you joy nix it/them! I now love the “hide” feature on Instagram and Facebook which allows you to stop seeing someone’s content without the more final step of blocking, unfriending, or unfollowing. Don’t get it twisted, some people may need to be permanently nixed, but “hide” works great in other situations.
12. Schedule regular breaks from social media. It is very healthy to take a break from social media, even if only to prove that you do not need it to survive. You may decide to take a break every quarter or every other month, the frequency is up to you. Much like me, you will likely feel it in conscience when it is time to take a break. Don’t be like me and ignore that voice.
Even if you currently think you have a healthy relationship with social media, I highly consider taking a real look at how you use social media and how it truly impacts your life. Don’t be like me and let it slowly take control of you.
If you are a praying person, you can pray this prayer to ask for Gods help in achieving healthy social media management:
God, I thank you for social media and the positive benefits it can have in my life. But, help me to figure out how to use social media in a more healthy way. Reveal to me where I need to make changes. Help me not to connect my self-worth, value, or success to social media. Give me the strength to be in control of how I use social media. (For those using social media for business) Bless my efforts to grow my business and reach through social media. Give me amazing ideas for content. Show me when and what to post. Allow me to connect with the right people. Help me to find new ways to add value through everything I do on social media. Help me to believe that what is for me is for me and to never compare myself to another. I thank you for the gifts you have placed inside of me and believe you are doing great things through me, even on social media! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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