As I sit here in the car now after a late lunch with my family, I remember my struggle with social media. The battle of trying to stay present but wanting to post about the awesome place I just visited or traveling too.
I try being mindful of where I am and who I am with. I think it is easy getting caught up with wanting to document everything and anything. Social media has taken over, and I don’t believe that it is going anywhere anytime soon. So knowing that and knowing I need to be careful about how much time I spend online is sometimes balanced between a fine line.
I do not think social media is terrible at all; in fact, it is beneficial if used in the right way. People can now make a living off platforms such as Instagram and get paid big bucks. I believe the problem is when you let it consume you. Allowing the like, comments, always trying to make sure you have the best photo to post, hair and makeup are done, etc. consume your time and energy.
Social media is not worth it. It is not worth sacrificing your mental or emotional health nor, is it worth throwing your self-worth down the gutter to please people who bearly know you.
I try being mindful of my social media consumption outside of work-related use.
I try staying present, and the following is how I do it:
1. Leaving my phone in the car if I am eating out with my friends or family. I never carry anything on me, to begin with when I’m with my family. If I know I need to purchase something then I bring my wallet; otherwise, it stays home ( also helps curb the impulse buys). On the other hand, if I’m out and about with my friends, I always have a purse on me and have to be a lot more mindful about popping my phone out. I frankly find it very rude to be on your phone when someone is talking. So, I make sure to check my phone, make calls or reply to texts when I am in the car or waiting and not engaged in a full conversation. However, I know some calls are essential and need to be answered so in that situation, I always say, "Sorry I have to take this call, excuse me" and step outside.
2. Setting work days and play days. On my “work days” I know I am going to be taking photos and writing and, on my “play days,” my phone doesn’t make an appearance and stays in my purse. Having days designated days helps in differentiating what kind of photos I take and how much time I spend on social media.
3. Deleting the apps. This method is my favorite form of social media detox, taking periodic social media breaks. I choose a week once a month to go on a break from social media, especially Instagram. I find it helpful to recoup and come back to it with a fresh mind and less judgment. During this week, I delete all my social media apps. Sounds crazy, I know. However, at the end of the week, I only download Instagram. It is the app that is most beneficial to me. The others such as Facebook, I check once a day on my laptop when I get home from work.
The above is what I have done to curb my digital consumption and how I try to stay mindful in the day and age of social media. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Definitely.