When Scrolling Starts Sucking The Life Out of You
I LOVE social media. I love the sharing, the liking, the messaging…all of it. Creating community and sharing content is a huge part of my own personal brand and a big portion of how I make a living.
But social media can be really awful. And I’m not talking about the haters or the trolls that post mean comments on your latest selfie. I’m talking about the whole “comparing your life to the online lives of others and feeling grossly inadequate and left out” thing.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the comparison game. I mean, how can you not when everyone is posting the most flattering photos of themselves and their fabulous family vacations, their expensive #DateNights and their beautiful children perfectly posed in coordinated outfits?!
I don’t know about you, but my real life does not look like the picture-perfect photos on Instagram. As I write this, my house looks like I’m running a daycare center with toys scattered everywhere, sippy cups on every surface and some newly created black Sharpie designs on my white walls. (Full disclosure: I am not running a daycare. I only have a two and a half year old, and he is a full blown tornado…a very cute one, I might add.)
For me, as soon as I start scrolling and comparing my life to the pictures I see, whatever joy I have is immediately ZAPPED. It doesn’t matter that I had a great day with my son or just landed a new gig I was going for. All of that excitement can be gone in an instant because of social media.
I quickly decided that I did NOT want to live that way. Statistics show that the longer we spend on social media, the more depressed, anxious and lonely we feel. Even though these platforms are meant for us to connect and engage, they have a tendency to make us feel more isolated than ever.
In order to stay sane, boundaries are crucial. (That’s useful advice for toddlerhood and social media!) Here are some boundaries I’ve set around my social media and phone usage as well as tips from some of my followers who weighed in.
- Start the day in real life. Checking your phone should NOT be the first thing you do when you get up. Go downstairs and get a cup of coffee, or step outside and breathe in the fresh air. Do not start your day with that phone.
- End your day in real life, too. Similarly, checking your phone should NOT be the last thing you do at NIGHT. This has been the hardest for me! Our phones are plugged in next to our beds but the worst thing for your sleep and mental health is to scroll before bed. I turn my phone off an hour before bed and read. It’s been a game changer.
- Give yourself a time limit. Some of my friends and followers only give themselves an hour or two a day to spend on social media. There are so many apps that can track this for you and some of the newer phones have that built in so you can really see how much time you’re spending.
- Connect with joy. Instead of comparing or judging, try complimenting. Be genuinely happy for the person who is posting and write a nice comment. Even if you have to fake it at first, natural positivity will follow.
- Have gratitude. Just put the phone down and start giving thanks for #allthethings. I’m talking the little things like breathing, walking, having a cup of coffee, the beautiful tree outside the window. Gratitude is a BIG energy shifter!
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I believe that is absolutely true. To live in this new reality of ours where social media will only get bigger, boundaries, gratitude and unplugging are crucial to healthy living and healthy parenting!
An Emmy award-winning journalist and TV host, Courtney Brennan has galvanized a huge online community around her very real and raw stories of #MomLife! A published writer and speaker, Courtney has become a strong and vocal supporter for mothers and families. You can follow her at @itscourtneybrennan on Instagram and @CourtneyBrennanTV on Facebook where she shares the realness that
is #WorkingMomLife, her home renovations and those ever-important #OOTD."