I am a social media influencer, and spending hours on Instagram daily was just a part of my job. I started posting for fun at first, and as time went on, my social media grew but so did my anxiety. At first, I tried to justify that this was necessary in order to communicate my audience, keep up with digital trends, and grow my follower base. However, I quickly understood that maintaining social media intensity was not even an option. I lost the quality of my sleep, I stopped noticing my surroundings, my relationships with others became more surfaced, and I no longer felt happy. Once my mood reached a critical point, I decided to step back and revaluate my social media habits. Avoiding social media became an idea I could no longer ignore – I stopped using social media for longer periods of time (minimum one month) helped transform my life and significantly reduce my feelings of anxiety.
To read more about my work or receive additional inspiration (I am the founder of A&E, marketing agency San Francisco) please visit my website. Below are my top 5 reasons of why avoiding social media can help improve the quality of life:
- Avoiding social media improves ability to be present: the most significant change I experienced when pausing social media was my feeling of presence. My brain felt like it could slow down enough to notice things surrounding me – I could revel in the beauty of blue skies, beautiful architecture, and even tiny moss on the trees. Pausing social media made me feel more at ease and helped me become more present.
- Pausing social media helps strengthen the depth of our relationships: while communicating with my friends, family, and followers on social media, I felt my conversations drift to more superficial topics. Where I once engaged in deep discussions, I now found myself using emojis to express my feelings. The depth of my conversations, and consequently, the quality of my relationships started to suffer. Pausing social media made me crave real interactions and call my friends for long conversations. I became more connected with my community, family, friends, and even my co-workers.
- Avoiding social media helps increase our interest in soulful activities: we crave spiritual “feel good” activities that help us reach outside of ourselves and feel one with the “universe” or “god.” Avoiding social media made me aware of the lack of spirituality in my own life. While absent from social media, I started to read more philosophy, visit more museums, write in my journal, and make more art.
- Avoiding social media helps improve our sleep: the effects of blue light emitted by the electronic devise on the quality of our sleep have been well documented. Avoiding social media not only reduced the amount of exposure I had to the mobile device and computer screen, but it also helped reduce the anxious behavior of scrolling fast down my feed. I started working on the quality of my sleep “during the day” – once I paused the anxious behavior of rapid multiple post consumption, my thoughts slowed down, and my eyelids felt heavier before it was time to go to bed.
I hope these tips help you pause and reflect on your own social media activity and how easing “home feed consumption” may help reduce your amount of anxiety. Our joy stems from our ability to feel present – did you remember to take a moment and pause today? J