Close your eyes, and think of some of the top moments you’ve experienced in life: kissing someone special for the first time; holding your newborn baby; the salty tang of the ocean and the gritty sand under your feet; puppy breath and furry, squirming bodies climbing on you. When opening your eyes, did any of those start by scrolling social media?
Social media has become a major part of society and everyday life, and in many ways, it can benefit your business or even social life. The problem is some people let it start to replace the real world in which they live.
Social media, while ‘social’, can never be a replacement for real-world human connection, and it’s important to understand that. Spending too much time engaging with it can increase your loneliness and lead to feelings of isolation. Rising levels of depression and anxiety are linked to heavy social media use, along with feeling disassociated from your life and those around you. Body dysmorphia and feelings that your life/appearance are inadequate are also linked to social media use. Teenage girls are a true victim to social media; ask any school principal, vice principal, or counselor. However, it's important to realize that what's seen is what those who post want you to see. Photos can be edited and enhanced, and most only post the good things that happen, which is fine. We all want to root for the good! But you aren’t getting the whole picture from the glimpses seen online. Don’t let those feelings of dissatisfaction or envy settle into your mind. Remember that find the good in your life, then toss your phone aside and go enjoy it.
FOMO, or a fear of missing out, is another common problem seen with heavy social media use. The thought of maybe missing out on things can impact your self-esteem, as well as trigger feelings of anxiety. All of this can drive more excessive social media use, like an addiction, compelling you to constantly check your phone and compulsively respond to every alert noise. Are your notifications turned on or off for social media? On the flip side, social media can make you have an unhealthy obsession with yourself and cause you to link your self-worth to other’s reactions on the internet. You may find yourself posting tons of selfies, or constantly sharing your innermost thoughts, then checking frequently to see how many likes or comments it engenders. This signals an unhealthy link between your self-worth and social media. The two should not be interlinked.
It’s time to be intentional with your life. Instead of looking at what other people are doing with theirs, live for yourself. Create your own utopia! Go outside and truly dive into the moment. Take in the smells, the way the air feels on your skin, and the sounds of birds chirping. Don’t take your phone. Leave it on the couch and put it out of your mind. This is your time. This is your moment that's not shared with anyone else... maybe just your significant other or kiddos.
A great challenge in the new year is to take a break from social media. Now, it’s highly unlikely you can, or even want to, just go cold turkey, but maybe it’s time to set some real-life boundaries and start implementing them. The goal is to have less of a virtual presence and more of an actual presence in your own life because you only get one. Start with baby steps such as no phones at the table, no social media before 9am, and set time limits on how long you can scroll so you don’t get sucked into the abyss. Set actual goals on real actual paper with a pen!
Remember, it’s your life to live, in real time, in real ways. How will you be more present in the new year?
It's time to be intentional with your life.