Social Media Mindfulness

The past few months have been overwhelming to say the least. I, for one, am having a hard time keeping up with the constant news and media coverage that we have nowadays. Like so many others, I find myself becoming bored or altogether annoyed with social media, and it happens so frequently that I don’t feel compelled to open the apps. I was feeling overwhelmed and my social media feeds were not making me happy like they used to, so I had to figure out a strategy to stop feeling this way, and fix my relationship with social media.

I know, I know, I’m sounding like one of those people who takes social media breaks all the time, and then comes back in like a week, having learned nothing. But I came up with a better way than taking a proclaimed break: mindfulness. Now, this is probably different than the mindfulness we all know and love, where we focus on our breathing and try not to think about too much else. This involves actually assessing whether or not I actually want to check in with social media for the day. 

I never actually told people I was taking this break because it didn’t feel right to broadcast it, but for the past few months, I go through a routine of questions before I click on Instagram or Facebook. If I don’t enthusiastically answer “yes” to every single question, I find something else to do with my time. Wanna try it? Follow my questions below!

  1. Am I in the right mental space to check this right now? 

If the answer to this is anything short of “absolutely,” maybe don’t open the app. Prioritizing your mental health over your social media is something that is super important right now.

  1. Can I scroll without feeling like I need to reach the check mark or the end of new posts?

I always feel a compulsion to see all of the new posts, so I need to check in and make sure I can scroll without having to see everything. There’s a ton of content being produced every day, and it is absolutely okay to miss some of it.

  1. Am I opening this app as a distraction from necessary work or with the intent to procrastinate?

This is the one exception to the rule of “yes,” because the answer to this question should be an emphatic “no!” We have to stop using social media as a mechanism to procrastinate!

  1. Can I reliably log off after becoming bored?

This goes along with #2. If I get bored, I gotta stop scrolling, even if I didn’t make it to the end. Boredom can be cured by other things that are not social media related.

  1. Do I feel like checking or am I checking or am I checking out of habit?

If you’re one of those people who open the app every day, just because it feels like the routine, I’m right there with you. By asking myself if I actually feel like checking this content, I tend to realize my answer is “no” and it’s easy to walk away after that.

  1. Is this the absolute best use of my time? (Breaks are necessary! But does my break time need to be consumed with this media?) 

Chances are, the answer to this question is “no.” That doesn’t mean you automatically have to walk away! If you want to use your break time to look at social media, absolutely go for it! But if you feel you can be doing other things with your time, maybe put down the phone and try those instead. 

As a disclaimer, this is what works for me. If you have another strategy, that’s fantastic! After using this strategy for several weeks now, I can go about my day without feeling the need to check in. I also feel much happier when I do want to check in. Social media is a great tool, and I’m glad I found a way to love it from a distance.