Have you ever had a moment when you were in a great mood and a great mental and emotional space, but came across something on your social media timeline that shifted your energy from confidence to comparison? Celebrated to frustrated? Joy to jealousy? Perhaps you felt like you were making progress in an area of your life, but then suddenly you felt as if you weren't as far along as you thought. Social media breaks and boundaries can help with this.
I can admit that every now and then, social media has a way of affecting my mind, body (how I feel about it), and spirit if I'm not careful. Hence, I proactively take social media breaks as a part of my self-care routine because:
It helps boost my confidence.
Social media is like a double-edged sword because just as quickly as you can find something positive on social media, you can just as quickly feed your soul something negative. Comparison kills confidence and unfortunately, social media is one of the best ways to do that. We're constantly in a state of comparing our success, our progress, our relationships, our careers, and our statuses through social media (amongst other things). I have found that taking a break from social media can really help you build your confidence back up when you're not overly consumed with it.
I'm more focused on my journey, not everyone else's.
Instagram, and everything in between, can get you caught up into thinking that you're supposed to have "insta-success," an "insta-fit-body," an "insta-Bae," or get "insta-rich." We have #RelationshipGoals but unrealistic expectations. Unfortunately, however, we're only privy to certain people's "highlight reel," not the "real deal" that goes on behind the scenes. I realize now more than ever - through my experiences as well as the experiences of others who have long-lasting success - that nothing happens overnight.
Sometimes the wait is the hardest part of the work, but I'm reminded to trust the process, trust God, and trust my dopeness.
It's easy to get so caught up in someone else's life that you forget about your own. I used to compare my journey to other people's, not realizing that my journey was never meant to be exactly like theirs. Not to mention the fact that quite honestly, I hadn't put in nearly the amount of work as those who were where I wanted to be. A sure-proof way you can limit and slow down your personal progress is to focus on someone else's.
I'm able to relax more.
I was at the nail shop the other day getting a pedicure. Most times, I use social media to keep me occupied, but this time, I was committed to keeping my phone in my purse so that I could actually unwind and enjoy feeling relaxed. At one point, I even nodded off and fell asleep. It was yet another realization for me that if I really want to enjoy more moments of feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, then I must be okay with being disconnected.
I'm able to embrace the gift of today and enjoy life more.
When I limit or take social media breaks, I find myself spending more genuine, quality time with my husband, and our family and friends, which always warms my heart and makes me feel wonderful. I have more time to read inspirational and thought-provoking books or study other forms of art. I actually enjoy vacations and traveling more. Instead of worrying about capturing, editing, and uploading every single image or video at that very moment, I actually live in the moment.
I'm more aware and appreciative of my own blessings.
Part of true happiness means being happy for someone else, but sometimes, when you're too focused on other people's blessings, it can make you forget about your own. For example, as a married woman, my spouse could buy me something this week as a sign of his love but then a week later, I could totally forget about it simply because of a gesture I might've seen someone else do for their spouse on social media. That's why every day before I start doing anything else, I begin each day with a prayer of thanksgiving and I read my daily devotional. I constantly remind myself that the things I currently have are the same things I once prayed for.
I'm more productive.
I can't even begin to tell you how many times I started to do something, but didn't get around to it because I was distracted by a few minutes of scrolling that eventually turned into a two-hour social media exploration. This almost always leads to a lack of productivity, which is a trigger for my anxiety because then I feel the pressure of trying to fit a number of activities within a limited number of hours, days, or weeks. Nevertheless, I've noticed that when I limit my social media or create specific boundaries, I am more productive and my anxiety is much more controlled.
Social media doesn't control my life. I control it.
Although social media posts are critical for my brand, my overall self-care and the productivity of the rest of my life is more important. Hence, I've learned how to take breaks, turn off certain notifications, and I also practice the art of posting then dropping off so I'm not tempted to scroll through everyone's pages. My friends know that if there's something important that they want to share with me, then they can't assume that I will see it on social media because I'm not always on there, even if they've seen me post recently.
I'm in control of the energy I allow around me.
No matter how many positive pages, groups, or influencers I may follow, it's inevitable that someone or something will pop-up on my timeline that may not flow with my energy for the day. Sometimes, it's not even about what others may post; rather, it's about protecting my physical and mental space, as well as my energy. Like they say, "Sometimes elevation requires isolation." So, a lot of times, I will take a break from all of it so I can meditate and hear more intently and think more clearly. Plus, taking a break helps prevent my mind, body, and spirit from being overpowered and controlled by my social media interactions.
I'm more committed to doing me and what's best for me.
If we're not careful, we can become so obsessed with other people's lives that instead of being inspired by them, we start imitating them; causing us to feel confused or insecure about who we're supposed to be and what we're supposed to be doing. I've learned, however, that the best woman I can be is the one that God specifically called and designed me to be.
Mary J. Blige said it best when she said, "I can only be me." I can't compare my life, my relationship, or my success to anyone else's. A happy and healthy version of myself is knowing that I'm not living my life merely for the popularity or praises from people on social media. Instead, I'm living life for the purpose I've been called to do, and you should too.
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