Let me start by saying I think social media and technology is amazing! As someone who runs part of my business on social media, my job would be completely different if it didn't exist. But I do find it very interesting when I hear that a lot of people who are "instafamous" say they wouldn't be on social media if it wasn't part of their job. Whilst social media can be great for inspiration, connecting to people and learning about things from around the world, we need to look after our mental health and be aware of the impact it can have on us.
Having social media literally at our fingertips can mean that we often don't switch off and completely relax. It's so easy to check Instagram for a minute and get sucked into the black hole that is cat videos and cleanspiration accounts (just me?!) and lose an hour. I'll often be in limbo between not relaxing but also not being productive. We are connected to more people than ever, but feel more lonely. With everyone leading such busy lives, it's easy to forget that catching up with friends doesn't mean watching their stories. It is natural to be interested in other peoples lives, but spending so much time online can mean we get obsessed with what other people are doing. I love feeling connected to people that inspire and motivate me, they have brought so many positive changes to my life! But with that comes comparing myself to others, there's always someone who's training more, progressing quicker, growing their business bigger, has a better body etc and by looking on social media and having instant access to 100's of people that I can compare myself to, can on some days be inspirational, on other days just make me feel deflated.
I think I have a fairly good relationship with social media. I probably use it more than the average person as I use it for work and I do feel like I sometimes can't switch off, but I know that it's a highlight reel and I have rules that I have set myself with it. I have no notifications turned on my phone, I actually haven't had them turned on for years and it's the best thing! Myself and Chris don't use our phones while we're eating together, relaxing together in the evening/on a Sunday or out doing things. We both work at home so it's important for us to step away from work and technology for a few hours and be in the moment. I'm also trying to not look at my phone in the morning until I have gotten up, taken Bella for a walk and had breakfast. I struggle with not looking at my phone as soon as I wake up but I always have a much more productive morning when I don't, I'm hoping this will become easier in time!
There are so many benefits to have a digital detox! It's proven that stepping away from our phones reduces our levels of stress and anxiety. We build better and deeper connections with people in our lives. We are more productive and we have improved sleep.
Now I'm not saying you should go on holiday to the middle of nowhere and leave your phone at home! There are a few things you can do to disconnect and gradually build up the amount of time spent away from technology. You can set a cap on the number of minutes you're on an app before it alerts you that it's time to get off, if you're still on Instagram after 10 minutes chances are you're mindlessly scrolling! Leave your phone on the other side of the room when you're in bed so it's much more effort to look at it before you go to sleep or in the middle of the night. Get up and do something before checking your phone in the morning. Leave your phone at home while you go for a walk, then leave it at home while you go out for the day, then for a weekend away! Give someone the number of the person you're with or the hotel you're staying at if you're worried about being able to be contacted in an emergency. Or go somewhere with no wi-fi.
It's so important for mental health to be present and enjoy the moment, rather than worrying about how to show others that you're enjoying the moment. Social media is great for so many things, but we need to focus on building a healthy relationship with it, after all it's not going anywhere!