Why Social Media & Mindless Scrolling Suck
Is Social Media Making you Unhappy?
This post isn't my normal health and fitness-related post, but it does have everything to do with your mental health! Let me explain. Even just a few months ago, I found myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram like it was my job. Ugh. Bring on the feelings of "I'm not doing enough," "Their business is so much better than mine," and "Why do I not have a bigger following?"
Mindless scrolling began to affect my mental health, and not in a positive way. If I am being 100% honest, the scrolling and seeing posts from other women in the fitness industry sometimes made me feel like crap. I always felt like I wasn't doing enough, and started feeling like maybe I didn't even belong in this industry. First of all, that's nuts! Secondly, everyone has felt exactly like that at some point in their social media, experimental life, which sucks! Instead of being lifted up and worrying about lifting others up, I got caught up in the "woe is me" cycle!
Don't get me wrong, I know there are some AMAZING folks out there doing life-changing work, and Instagram is a great platform to convey this. However, because I began to feel self-defeated and sorry for myself (due to an unnatural amount of scrolling) even the most inspirational Instagram profiles were making me feel like total crap. Why do we let those feeling creep in?
A. Because we are human and want to succeed.
B. Because We make our habits (good and bad), but then our habits make us. By the way, I consider mindless scrolling a B.A.D. Habit!
C. Most of us want to impact the world in some way or another, so when we see folks truly changing the world, we get J.E.A.L.O.U.S.
Are you a Time Waster or Time Warrior?
That's when a light bulb went off. Instagram was wasting my time, causing me to limit my potential, and for what? I needed to take a real break from this time-waster. Please don't misunderstand, I believe there are people on Instagram who are doing incredible work and whom I find real value in following.
I'm looking at you @leefromamerica (true health and wellness pro to her core), @lebertfitness (my FAVORITE workout equipment + awesome workout videos), @doctormeetsdietitian (recent follow who includes a ton of research in her stories), @paulnicklen (global climate change awareness and bada** photos), @thekangaroosanctuary (my actual dream job), and @thefatjewish (if you want to laugh out loud every day, seriously go follow him). However, I had to press pause and take a good hard look in the mirror. Why was I feeling so jealous? What kind of person do I want to be? Who do I respect and look up to? What kind of coach and mentor do I want to be? How can I be the best version of myself without having feelings of low self-worth and jealousy?
My "Aha!" Moment
On a walk while listening to "The Minimalist" podcast (episode: Social Media), I had the most amazing "Aha!" moment. The hosts, Joshua and Ryan, were discussing their own struggles with social media and how to use each platform intentionally. They decided to take a social media break to help them better understand what aspects of social media added value to them and their business as well as what detracted from their mission.
Boom. This is just what I needed to hear to reaffirm my social media break! And wow, right away I felt less anxious, more positive, and overall happier when I didn't pop into Instagram every few hours. Trust me, if you try this, you will see the positive effects fairly quickly. That goes to show how much is wrong with how we use and think about social media!
Social media and technology can be integral to your success, IF used in the right way. Therefore, I came up with a solution: utilize social media platforms to their full potential, Instagram included. On my break from IG, I decided I would only post with the intent of adding real value to others' lives. When I post from the heart and with intention, I care much less about how many likes or followers I am gaining, and way more about the value I am adding. I now feel genuinely good with the quality of my posts, because I am being 100% authentic. When I was posting just to post, I found myself checking in all day long to see if I had gained anymore followers or new likes - gross!
Fast forward to today. I use mainly two platforms for my business, Instagram and Facebook. I now use both of these intentionally and with a focused purpose. After polling my IG followers, I realized they did, in fact, enjoy the majority of my content. They see value in the workouts, recipes and healthy tips I was give, which is great news! My Instagram now focuses on stories and posts that will hopefully inspire followers to live and lead a healthy lifestyle. When I hit publish, I can feel confident that I put my best, quality and authentic work forward. I use Facebook in a similar way, but to share events and group challenges as well.
In terms of how I "surf" Instagram now? First of all, I try really hard not to. When I go online, I make an effort to solely watch stories and look at profiles I respect, that inspire me, that help me grow as a business owner, and that ADD GENUINE VALUE to my day. And hey, if you follow me currently and are thinking, "Well, your posts don't actually do that for me." That's okay! Maybe I am not the person you should be following - no hard feelings!
Try this little social media detox experiment for yourself. You may find it drastically improves your outlook and you daily mood. Also, please go check out the Social Media podcast show notes and/or listen to the podcast from The Minimalists! I acquired many ideas and implemented a lot of their tips myself.
Comment below and let me know what you think or if you are going to try some type of social media experiment yourself! I would love to help support you and answer any questions you may have along the way!
To wrap up, here are some of my favorite quotes from The Minimalist "Social Media" episode:
P.S. Check out this Ted Talk, "Quit Social Media," to find out why social media can be potentially harmful to your mental health and well-being, productivity, and cognitive function. Please know that I am not asking you to quit social media altogether, but rather listen and form your own opinions. Weigh the pros and cons, and determine what a good balance is for you and your lifestyle!
I know it can be intimidating to make changes to your life, but what if you took the first step today? What if I told you I have been right where you are and have the ability to change your life forever? Accountability is one of the most important keys in succeeding and achieving your goals, and that is why I started Sally Mae Fitness. I know what it takes to make real, lasting changes and I will be with you every step of the way. Schedule your FREE consult to discuss your goals and concerns. I will share my personalized recommendations to help you achieve your healthiest, strongest and most confident self! Feel the fear, and do it anyway!