It’s been made very clear to me over the last few years how much social media has developed a love-hate relationship with the world. It can be great at times, but it also can be a not-so-great. It started out as a way to connect with people all over the world, but now I believe it has become a huge business tool that has benefited, yet hurt many.
After listening to stories people tell me (and from my own sheer observation of my own and other people’s online behaviors), social media can cause weight gain, harm self-esteem, cause depression and anxiety, give a false sense of hope, destroy relationships, and more. The same people that tell me “I haven’t had the time to (fill-in-the-blank)” are on often on social media, liking my posts or other people’s like crazy. (I’ve been doing my research for this writing piece, so yep……….I’ve seen you.)
Here’s my advice about social media: Use it if you feel you need or want to, but proceed with caution. By saying this, I am attempting to help you figure out why you are on social media in the first place, and help you understand that it may be time to start setting boundaries and limits for how much time you spend on it. While it can be inspirational, educational and fun, it can also be a huge time-waster.
How do you know you are on social media too often?
Look through the list of questions below. If you answer yes to any of them, it may be time for a social media self-check.
Are you social media instead of doing the workout you planned?
Are you often buying things because you saw them on social media?
Are you on social media while playing (or supposed to be playing) with your children?
Are you becoming jealous of others because of the lives/talents you see them present on social media?
Are you getting angry or stressed over anything that people are posting?
While you need to figure out what “social media limits” work for you, here is my suggestion to help get you started: Set a timer for 30 minutes. Browse away online for that amount of time, and then when the timer goes off, step away from the phone or computer and find something else to do. Try this concept with your teens too!
Oh, but what to do!
Here are my suggestions on some things to do instead of being on social media all the time:
Paint, Write, Draw (Develop new talents)
Cook (Again, develop new talents)
Read a book, play cards and board games (Stimulate your brain)
Listen to music (Get inspired)
Exercise (Improve your health)
Go for a walk outside (Exercise and nature is healing)
Actually call a friend (Oh no! The dreaded phone! Hey, if it worked in the past as a connection tool, it can work now. Believe it or not, it is nice to hear someone’s voice.)
Bottom line: Social media is evolving. Figure out exactly why you are on social media. We all need to make sure we have our priorities straight when it comes to getting exactly what we want out of the use of social media. When you’ve figured out your priorities, limit your time so you can enjoy a healthy and fulfilling life even more!
Need more than my words to back up my thoughts about social media? Check out this article by by BBC: Is Social Media Bad for You? The Evidence and the Unknowns.
How I Use Social Media: I currently use social media to try to spread a little light into the world by expressing myself using my God-given gifts and talents. I believe, deep in my heart, that if at least one person changes an aspect of their life for the better because of seeing something I said or did online, it is worth spending a little time on. I also use it to draw attention to Carolyn’s Blooming Creations, my online portfolio full of creative ideas that I hope inspires others to express their creative talents too. (I created www.carolynsbloomingcreations.com almost 15 years ago!) While I am not perfect on my social media use, I try to do the best I can. I limit my time on it and take breaks as often as needed. I also ensure I never allow social media to get in the way of living my life and being present in each moment.