Hey Beautiful. Welcome to the new year of 2019. I hope we are all refreshed and ready to kick butt this year. I have been gone for months now (feel free to shoot me now), and by “gone”, I mean from everything social media. I packed up and left the world of social media. And you may be wondering why.
To be honest, I needed a break, a mental break. I was getting so caught up with social media in a negative way. It affected me as a content creator by making me unmotivated and anxious, and it affected me on a personal level too. I found myself playing the comparison game and being competitive. Trust me, that came as a surprise to me. Me, comparing myself to people I don’t know on social media? Whaaaat?!! I was going down a dark tunnel and focusing so much on the wrong things, which damn near made me depressed.
So, I took off, without a care in the world. I had to for my sanity, creativity, and happiness. I had to remind myself that ‘it’s not that deep”. I had to get back to enjoying creating content. I had to remind myself what social media is, connecting with people. Sounds silly, but it isn’t. People do lose it because of social media. Research it! I stopped enjoying creating content because I was too focused on likes and comments. Horrible!
I found that I was not being myself anymore. I felt validated by the likes and comments. I had an online identity crisis lol. According to healthline.com, a new study concludes that there is, in fact, a causal link between the use of social media and negative effects on well-being, primarily depression and loneliness. Weird much! So, I said “Hell no! Not today satan, I need a break”, and walked away.
However, I learned a few things while I was away. It’s best to explain them as pros and cons. If you are having or ever had the same feelings as I did about being on social media, whether as a creator or a regular user, then read on.
- Peace of mind. I stopped caring about how many likes my recent post got, how many new follows, who unfollowed me, wow she reached 10k followers, etc. I stopped caring about all that. I reminded myself that wasn’t important. I should only be competing with myself, and focus on creating valuable content
- A lot more focused. I found I was not as distracted as I used to be. Did you know that on average, people spend about 4 hours on social media daily? 4 hours scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. And we end up saying we don’t have enough time for other stuff like starting a business, reading a book, etc.
- Priority Change. I stopped caring about likes, comments, follows, unfollows, who did what, etc. I actually stopped checking. That stuff can really mess with you. Yes, engagement is important especially if you are a content creator or a business, but the effective thing to do is to know what is in your control and what’s not. Fix what you can and don’t take those unfollows too seriously.
- Refreshed enthusiasm and creativity. I love making contents, so this was a huge deal for me. I was able to get my creativity wheels rolling again. I cleaned up my blog, reviewed my content strategy and created a whole new Instagram page. Trust me, I wasn’t home sulking and eating ice cream, I was re-strategizing.
- Renewed Happiness. This is a big one. And I need to remind you of it. Social Media is not reality. It is not! People only show you their highs and rarely their lows. Even the people that seem to have it all, also have it bad. That is life. Life isn’t always rainbows and bunnies. Hard times are inevitable for everyone. No one is exempt.
- A better morning routine. I had the bad habit of picking up my phone first thing in the morning. Scroll for 10 minutes. Hate my life for 5 minutes and then get up and begin my day, mostly miserable and pissed. Now, the first thing I do is pray, meditate, listen to Gospel music or some motivational talk and then begin my day. Starting my day with God has had such a positive impact on me. For one, I don’t get worried like I used too. I feel I am enough and on the right track.
- Unexpected reactions. I always had this impression that my then +5000 followers on Instagram didn’t care about my content. I felt I wasn’t bringing any value and that made me disoriented. But I was pleasantly surprised that so many people checked on me. I received quite a number of DMs on Instagram of genuine concerns and requests for content from me. I would like to use this opportunity to say thank you for being supportive and patient with me.
Of course, it’s only right I share one con I found with being off social media.
- Yes! The fear of missing out is real (kinda). Weddings, birthdays, proposals, milestones, you name it. Let’s face it! We share a lot of big events in our lives on social media. Also, as a content creator, taking a break can lead to leaving your community behind, missing (some) creator/influencer events, etc.
But, remember, health is wealth! If you are not in a good mental, emotional or physical state, you won’t bring your best. People have gone into serious depression and worse, committed suicide. Take care of you. And remember, social media isn’t all that real. Remember to have fun with it.
How did you get over the negative effects of social media?