Let me just preface this post by saying, this is definitely something I struggle with…every day. I live on social media, mostly because I have a blog and social media is an incredible way to provide content and connect with all of you – BUT I have definitely needed to remind myself to power OFF to make sure I am living my life, in the moment, to the fullest.
I think in many ways our generation has tried to balance social media with the “in the moment” authenticity we crave, which is why platforms like Snapchat (@mariellehc) and Instagram (@summergirlfitness) stories have really taken off. But what is the flip side? When does too much screen time start to create problems? How do we manage it?
Here are some of my thoughts and tips to manage social media and screen time:
1. Stop comparing your real life to other people’s snapshots
One of the most damaging negative stories we tell ourselves is that other people’s social media highlight reel is the whole story. People’s lives look so perfect on Facebook and Instagram and often we start to feel inadequate or not good enough. I say this because I have often felt this way myself.
For example: I am currently single, 26, not married, do not own a home and definitely not ready to have kids right now. However my entire Facebook feed can sometimes seem like happy couples, engaged lovers, pregnant friends and wedding albums. Sometimes the story pops into my head that I am not doing something right because my photos do not look the same. Then I remember that we all have different paths in life, different timelines and journeys and I am SO happy with mine and the place I am right now: independent, strong, driven and passionate about helping people.
Basically remind yourself #YOURLifeIsGoodEnough #YOUareGoodEnough
2. Perfection is not real and if it was that would be boring
No one’s life is perfect, no one’s body is perfect, no one’s relationship is perfect and no one’s “healthy life” is always perfect. I try to stay real with all of you and talk about my insecurities, down days, self esteem struggles and triumphs and I know that ultimately the complexities of each of us are what makes us beautiful.
Every single person goes through struggles and hard times and nothing is as perfect as it looks in a snapchat filter. Even if it feels like other people have a perfect life – I PROMISE you they do not.
The good news though? We can find beauty in pain, joy in sorrow, and compassion through suffering. All the ways that our life or our body is “imperfect” is what makes it unique, beautiful and powerful.
3. Watch the stories you tell yourself
We all have negative stories that we have created and told ourselves throughout our life. Maybe it is that you are not smart enough, not pretty enough, not social enough, not brave enough — and never ever will be. Sometimes when we see a photo on Facebook or Instagram it can trigger these same insecurities and that voice can pop right back up in your telling you “you are not good enough”. The thing to remember is: Just because you think something does NOT make it true.
Be ready to push back against these thoughts that come up for you with powerful mantras like: I AM Enough, I am beautiful and love myself exactly as I am, I have the power to create the life I want, I believe in myself.
Tell yourself the things you want to believe and tell those voices in your head that they are WRONG. Take back the narrative and rewrite a more positive story for yourself!
4. Take a time out from tuning in
As much as we love all our many screens and devices, taking time off of social media and away from our phones is so important. My favorite way to do this is to spend time in nature. Go for a walk somewhere beautiful, leave your phone in the car or put it away in your backpack set to “do not disturb” and just enjoy and soak in the world around you.
Schedule in “off the grid” time even if it is just reading a book for an hour, planting something in your garden, or taking a bubble bath is so valuable. Don’t be afraid to take some time off, not respond to every email or text right that second and just give yourself a moment to breathe.
If you are having dinner with your significant other or family, make it a rule to put the phone away and engage with each other. This can be a great rule to have, even one or two days a week to enjoy quality time with the people you love!
5. Embrace “smell” and “touch” that screens do not cultivate
While screen time activates our eyes in ears with sounds and lights and images, screens have not yet found any way to impact our tactile sense of touch or sense of smell. Link back with your life by embracing these other sense though aromatherapy, heading outside and smelling some flowers, or taking a moment to enjoy the smell of your cup of coffee in the morning.
Make a sand tray and play around in it, feeling the sand on your finger tips and drawing shapes in it. Take your shoes off outside and feel the grass in between your toes, notice the sun shining on your skin and warming it. Give your partner a massage with coconut oil and enjoy connecting with him/her. Pet your dog and feel her lick your cheeks and run your fingers through her fur.
Be PRESENT in your life, connected to ALL your sense and embrace the wonderful thing that is life!
Above all remember that as addicting and fun as our screens are – the real life is happening all around us and we don’t want to miss it while we are taking an Instagram live. Work to balance all parts of your life and be ready to cultivate more off screen time if you feel yourself heading out of balance again.
Let me know in the comments section below what you think of this post! I know it is not exactly fitness or health related but I love sharing my thoughts with you. In many ways I think getting connected to our life and present in it IS a huge part of health.