I woke up in the middle of the night and reached for my phone.
I started scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. The next thing I knew it was light out and I had missed out on hours of sleep. I spent the next day feeling like a zombie and feeling guilty about wasting all that time on my phone.
I kept beating myself up about it and by the end of the day, I felt like complete crap. I was physically tired, my mental state was negative and I could feel my depression and anxiety perk up.
This was not an isolated incident. I often found myself wasting hours that I should have been using to get work done checking social media. A lot of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it. It was a completely mindless and numbing activity.
I knew I had to do something and if I continued down this road it would only make my mental health worse. If you feel like your social media is toxic or harming your mental health this article is for you. Here are some ways to tell if your social media is toxic.
Are You Taking Time To Unplug?
I often found my phone interrupting almost every activity I tried to do. It became so distracting I couldn’t watch a movie or make it through a TV show without picking up my phone.
I realized the only way to break my scrolling habit was to start taking time to deliberately unplug. At night I would switch my phone into airplane mode so if I went to scroll the pages and apps wouldn’t load.
I would also take vacations from social media by deleting social media apps off of my phone on the weekend. When I was at home I would put my cell phone in the kitchen drawer and challenge myself to see how long I could go without opening it.
I actually started to really enjoy being disconnected and started to look forward to putting my phone in the drawer when I was done with work for the day. It signaled to my brain that it was time to relax. I started cooking and playing jazz music at night. I lit candles and set intentions in my journal. I read books on my porch. The whole experience felt SO MUCH better without my phone and I was able be present and actually relax.
Does It Drain You or Take Energy Away?
Lately, I’ve been evaluating everything I do by asking “is this giving me energy or taking energy away?”. It’s a great question to ask yourself about friendships, relationships, the food you eat and your social media.
Pay attention to how you feel before, after and during using social media.
If you find that you feel consistently worse after signing on that is a sign that it is probably harming your mental health. Ask yourself what you’re getting out of social media and evaluate if it’s worth the trade-off.
For example, if the reason you want to stay on social media is to keep in touch with old relatives evaluate if that is worth compromising your energy and mental health for.
I’m not saying, either way, is wrong or right. I think you need to really figure out how much energy it is costing you and if the what you’re gaining is worth it. Social media can consume A LOT of our time. Is the time you’re spending on social media worth what you’re getting back from it?
If not it might be time to detox or take a break for a while and then reevaluate.
Is It Moving You Toward Your Goals?
What do you want most out of this life?
It’s important to keep in mind that we only have so many hours in the day to pursue our dreams and goals. When I was constantly using social media I often felt overwhelmed because I had too much stuff to do and not enough time to do it all. It was stressful AF and I felt like I was never going to get to where I want to go.
I started turning my phone off in the morning until I get my most important tasks done. I usually like to knock all my writing out first thing in the morning and not having social media distracting me allowed me to get WAY more done in the morning in a shorter period of time. I’ve been able to make significant progress on my larger goals by limiting my social media use. I find it extremely difficult to stay focused and concentrate on my work when my notifications are going off on my phone.
Do You Compare Yourself?
I used to constantly compare myself to other bloggers and entrepreneurs on the internet. It seemed like everyone knew exactly what they were doing and I was the only one struggling.
The truth is, it’s impossible to tell what someones actual life is like by looking at their social media accounts. We are all carefully curating and deciding what to share publically all the time. Comparing myself sucked SO much of my energy and made me feel drained and inadequate.
Eventually, I unfollowed everyone that was triggering those feelings. Yes, I still need to work through my own insecurities but beating myself up every day and comparing myself to other women is not going to help me work through it. At the end of the day, it’s only going to suck my energy and my main focus right now is to take excellent care of myself. I have a podcast episode about comparing yourself to other people you can check out below.
Is It Messing With Your Sleep?
This was the big one for me. Anytime I woke up during the night I would inevitably start scrolling my phone and lose hours of sleep. It was so automatic I almost didn’t even think about it.
The sleep I was losing was one of the first things that made me evaluate my social media usage. It just got so ridiculous that I was losing sleep every single night from scrolling and commenting on social media. I am not one of those people that can function without very much sleep. I am a sleeping princess and when I don’t get enough sleep my brain turns to play-doh.
I’ve started turning my phone on airplane mode so I can’t go on the internet at night anymore. I’ve found that this has made a huge difference in my sleep and I’m able to actually fall back asleep when I wake up instead of falling down an internet rabbit hole.
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