People spend hours on social media each day. Businesses can’t run without it, and people depend on it for social interactions, and let's be honest: dopamine. We now know that social media can cause anxiety, depression, and other health related issues, yet we aren't slowing down in our usage.
Our minds no longer take in information the way we used to. As Nicolas Carr states in the Shallows: “Calm, focused, undistracted, the linear mind is being pushed aside by a new kind of mind that wants and needs to take in and dole out information in short, disjointed, often overlapping bursts—the faster the better."
The internet and social media is shaping the way our brain works, according to Carr. So what do we do? How do we stay grounded in an ever-changing tech world? How do we become self-aware and prevent social media burnout? Here are a few ways to regulate how much you let social media affect you.
Know who you are
It sounds cliche, but before you can even begin to think about using social media you have to know who you are. What does that even mean? It means you have to establish your values, your ambitions, and your goals before you even open a screen. Without being grounded in knowing who you are, you will be constantly influenced and molded by what you see on social media. Ungrounded, feelings inadequacy, and comparison will set in quickly.
Take time to write out a life mission statement, a set of values that you consider your life guidelines, and the goals you wish to achieve. Once you have these essential standards set in your life, you can then be more intentional in what you consume.
Most people doom scroll. This is the best way to mismanage your time, dissolve you day, and lose your compass. If you don’t want social media to be in control of you, there are a few things you can do.
· Turn on notifications for creators you intentionally want to follow.
· Limit scrolling and set a timer if you do.
· Avoid creators who make you feel worse after reading/watching their content.
This one takes the discipline of a master, but when you schedule your social media time you will suddenly have more hours in the day you didn't know you had. This practice will also help you reset your brain and aid in dissolving that constant pull from social media that drags us to check notifications every 7 minutes.
Do you go into the mall or grocery store without any idea what you will buy? Will you randomly stroll through whatever store you pass by? No, we typically shop knowing what we need. To limit social media’s control over you, be intentional before you open up your apps.
Being intentional means you know what you are opening up the app for. Are you checking in and connecting on friend’s posts? Are you networking with other creators? Are you engaging with your audience to build your brand? Without an intention, you will get lost in the feed and before you know it you will have lost control, not to mention hours of your time—after unintentionally and mindlessly scrolling.
Being intentional and setting limits on our social media use keeps us in control. Without any guidelines we quickly lose ourselves in mindlessly consuming. Like anything, we need a schedule and a system in order to structure best practices around our use of tech like social media.