Stop and Smell the Roses: Lowering Social Media Stress
I love social media, It's great for a lot of things: keeping in touch with people, sharing your feelings, promoting yourself or a business, and more. However, there is a side of social media that creates a lot of anxiety.
Last year, I was consumed by social media and it was all too much to handle. I had really bad FOMO and I went to every single thing because I didn't want to miss out on something super cool. With all that going out and doing things all the time, I became anxious and I was completely exhausted.
After a month, I was very tired and I decided to take a night off. Well low and behold, people generally don't stop having fun because you are tired, so I got to watch all the festivities through snapchat. This brought on some serious fomo and I was upset. Should I have been upset? No, I mean, clearly it's not a huge deal, but in an age where social media is so easy to have, sharing the best moments of life is all people do. Not getting to be part of a great moment is upsetting to anyone who could have had access to it. So yeah, I was upset, but I was more upset with myself, because it should not have mattered and yet it did.
Then I though, if I hadn't seen this, would I have been as upset? No, I wouldn't have. That's when I realized that sharing every aspect of my life and watching other peoples lives is just not worth it. It doesn't make me feel great and it was ruining my self care.
The best option for me was to drastically downsize when it came to social media and did it ever help!
The first thing I did was delete the apps I really didn't use and only had because other people had. Anything I didn't use more than once a day and was pointless in adding value to my life, I got rid of.
The second thing I did, was turn off all the notification alerts on my apps that I did use. Did I need a notification every time someone liked an Instagram picture? No, absolutely not. Liking a picture is great, but the number of likes I get on a picture doesn't define who I am. It just means people liked how I used a filter. The same went for Facebook and Twitter. Sure, I love getting likes and stars and thumbs up's and whatever else is out there, but getting a notification every time is just a waste of my time.
The third thing I did was delete the people on snapchat who post things that aren't entertaining or who don't add to my life. It doesn't mean I don't like you and whatever, but I honestly found receiving a snap or looking at a story very consuming and I was just paying too much attention on what other people were doing and not what I was doing. I now have a bunch of celebrities on snapchat and a few friends. If I don't share my snapchat with people and I remove people, it really doesn't mean I am not happy for you, but chances are, you have shared it on Facebook and Instagram and I've already liked it there. I like snapchat, but it's best if I don't use it all the time. I also make a conscious effort to not be like "look at all the cool things I'm doing" because chances are, someone will see it and feel bad for not being invited.
The fourth thing I did was I removed the apps I used too much from my home screen. I used to have all these social media apps on my home screen that were super accessible and easy to hit and use. I removed those and now I have to go to the apps screen to reach them. It's a small way to have an extra step to get to social media.
The fifth thing I did was I logged out of things and I left my phone at home. The best thing for me to do was to log out of Facebook and Snapchat (the biggest social media stressors) and I didn't bring my phone with me everywhere. I stopped taking pictures of myself everywhere and I finally smelt the roses instead of captioning a picture saying "sometimes you just have to smell the roses".
Social media use is so different for so many people, but sometimes, it becomes a life line to people and they ultimately stop living their lives. They just document it. It's totally awesome if you want to share everything, but if you ever feel like you need to take a picture of something because people will like it on Instagram or send a snap back; you may want to put the phone down and walk slowly away. Social media can be very fun, but it can also take a toll on your life and that's just not healthy.
You don't have to look at someones life if you don't want to, and nobody should make you feel bad for removing them from social media. It's doesn't mean you hate them, it doesn't mean you don't want to be friends anymore, it doesn't even mean anything bad. It just means you can control what you see and what makes you happy. If seeing the 10th picture of your friends dog doesn't make you happy because let's say yours died not too long ago, then sure unfollow them for a while. Or if your ex is dating a new person, you don't need to subject yourself to creeping them on every social media outlet. Or even let's say someone just lost 10 pounds and yeah, sure, awesome for them, but you still can't loose that weight, you don't need to look at it. People need to stop shaming people for not liking their picture. They also need to understand that sharing their lives, which could make them very happy, makes someone else unhappy and just because they are unfollowed doesn't mean they don't love and support you.
Support doesn't come in the form of a like, it comes in the form of personal interaction and real emotional connections. It can even come from an email, at least you know someone put some thought into it. You're not a bad person for wanting to stay in and you're not a bad person for removing someone from social media. Sometimes the notifications are too much and they just need a break from the virtual world that can be cruel and hurtful.
I have found that taking breaks from social media has been incredible for me and I am a lot more relaxed because of it.
Thanks for reading,