Social Media. It's pretty inescapable these days. The first thing many of us reach for in the morning and last thing at night is our phones. Who's emailed about work? What are my friends up to on Facebook? Who's posted on Instagram since I last checked it? Whats going on on Twitter?
Whilst social media is undoubtedly a powerful and important tool for networking and promoting a business, catching up with loved ones and staying in touch with current events and politics, it can also be a major stressor. With the development of mobile phones with internet, we are now accountable and reachable 24/7. Your boss can email or call you after work hours, friends can see if you've read their message and not replied and family can keep track of your every move. It seems that it was much easier to unwind and relax before technology brought us this far.
Not only are we always reachable, but with the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, we are now constantly bombarded with images of other people's 'perfect' holidays, relationships, family life, selfies, gym toned bodies and healthy eating plans. Life can be hard enough without constantly having to compare your body and your life to the hoards of rich airbrushed Instagrammers out there. This is something that can affect you no matter what your age, and can be especially problematic for teenagers, who are still developing their confidence and sense of self.
So my question is this...how do we continue to use our smart phones and social media apps without a) being able to switch off and relax and b) feeling like everyone else has a better life than us?
Here are five simple steps for overcoming social media burn out:
1. Make a daily list of 5 things you are grateful for
This is a brilliant exercise for realising that you have things to be happy about in your own life regardless of what others have. We tend to lose sight in difficult times of the things we are lucky to have in our lives. Focusing in on these things can turn our attention away from the negative and give us a boost in our day.
2. Have a social media free hour before bed
It's a proven fact that switching off computers, tablets and phones before bed can help you drift off to sleep quicker. Why not go one better and have a social media free day and feel the benefit of connecting with the world around you rather than the world behind a screen. Go for a walk, get out in nature, try out a new hobby or reconnect with family and friends!
3. Don't fall for the social media 'filter'
Who cares that your co-worker is on holiday somewhere tropical posting perfect pictures with his/her significant other? In the grand scheme of life what does it matter? And the truth is, hardly anyone posts pictures of their bad days on social media. You don't see posts behind the holiday of the fight a couple might have just had. You don't tend to see makeup free selfies of the major breakout your friend just had. Basically social media is like a filter where only perfection makes it through. We all know that no one's life is perfect so why do we choose to believe that others have it better than us?
4. Understand your self-worth and that you deserve happiness
We are all unique, worthy and remarkable people. The problem is we can lose sight of this from time to time and forget to value and prize ourselves as we should. We can let others treat us in a way that doesn't match up to how we deserve to be treated. If you find yourself constantly compromising your wants and needs for another person, ask yourself would they do the same for you? A healthy friendship or relationship is one where both people are there for each other and support each other in times of need. Forget what social media tells you makes a person worthy and admirable and be your own best friend. You are worth it.
5. Identify your triggers and don't be afraid to unfollow
Is there a particular person or group on social media that triggers your insecurities? If so why not unfollow them. Focus on following personalities and pages that make you feel happy and good about yourself rather than those who make you feel bad. Basically if comedy posts bring you up and diet posts bring you down, you know which posts to filter out.
What are your experiences with social media? Are they mostly positive or negative? Do you have any of your own tips for avoiding social media burnout? Please feel free to share in the comments below!