Mindful Social Media Consumption: A Guide

December 4, 2018

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“I’m good*, just really busy”

*insert whatever similar line you say as a reflex when someone asks.

I’m almost certain you’ve said it before, and I know I have. What do we really mean by “busy”?

We’re going to dive into that world a little, what it has to do with mindful social media consumption, and how to get started changing your social media habits for the better.

If you’re anything like me, sometimes you prefer a little bit more detail in a form that can be read, bookmarked, and used as a resource with actionable steps. So here we are.

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Prior to owning a business, I had no idea what a hashtag was, and my online presence (other than occasionally silently lurking and accidentally liking someones’ cousin-in-law’s wedding photos on Facebook from 2007. That’s what the internet is really for-right? 😬) was extremely limited.

If you know anything about the business that I’ve created, you know that I’ve put a lot of love and energy into learning about the benefits of a strong visual brand and social media presence for my business and putting it into practice, which serendipitously re-ignited my love for photography.

These days (2021) I have an Instagram for coaching and food, one for photography, a page for Mr. Clarence (despite thinking I’d never be “that person” whose dog has an IG) a business Facebook , a twitter, tiktok, pinterest

You get the point.

If I had no boundaries in place surrounding social media, this would be pretty bananas. 

By bananas, I mean unsustainable and full of doom scrolling.

Before we get into how these boundaries can look – let’s go over the good, bad, and in-between effects of social media consumption.

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Social media can be really, really good.

I’ve met new friends on social media, it can give a sense of community, and allow for an opportunity to connect with groups of people that you identify with but may not have access to locally.

Like vegans, people who read the same books you love, or people who also have precious rescue dogs.

It can also be pretty bad. By bad I mean:
* it’s addictive
* it can trigger sadness
* it can lead to social isolation via comparison
* virtual friends don’t = real friends

After thinking about the state of social media affairs, I did a little survey on my Instagram (oh, the irony) and 70% of viewers said that they don’t feel like they have a healthy consumption of social media. Only showing up for connections on social media rarely get’s past the reflexive answer of “I’m good, just really busy”.

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yikes.

So, how do we combat the ugly side of social media?

A few suggestions:

1. Curate what you intake

Do you know those accounts that make you cringe when you look at their content?

Maybe it’s a brand, someone doing something similar to you, someone who’s been nasty to you in some way, a family member, or an old friend whose blurry photos aren’t adding anything to your life.

This is a friendly reminder that you don’t have to intake content that doesn’t bring you joy. I repeat:

You have no obligation to intake content that doesn’t bring you joy.

Let that sink in, then get to muting and unfollowing.

Even if you are going to have some scroll and interaction time, you should do it in a way that doesn’t trigger anxiety, stress, and comparison for you. When to mute vs. unfollow? The times I’m most likely to mute vs. unfollow:

  • when it could impact a current/pending business relationship.
  • when I might just need a “break” from someone’s content and messaging

This is a personal choice, and there’s no perfect answer.

2. Set boundaries and time limits for yourself

I’ll probably never stop talking about the importance of prioritizing a mindful morning and nighttime routine, so don’t mind me while I bring it up again.

If you struggle with setting boundaries with your electronics (if you own a TV, smartphone, or computer this is probably you, and it’s fine), I would suggest utilizing features and apps that limit your screen time for you, like the screen time setting within your iPhone (settings > screentime >set app limits & downtime).

When setting this boundary I recommend:

  • Taking inventory of *current* screen time, noticing what apps you spend the most time on. Ask yourself if the apps utilized most are contributing to your overall quality of life – or if you’re using hours of scrolling to distract yourself.
  • Setting realistic boundaries and app time limits. If you utilize an app, or multiple apps, to run your business – factor that into the time necessary each day and week.
  • Over time, if you find that you’re just hitting the “ignore limit” button, especially the “ignore limit for today” option as a reflex – consider either deleting social media for a while if you can, or utilizing a thrid party app for app blocking.

3. Make time for actual in-person connection

Last but not least, make time for nurturing friendships and connections in person.

It’s impossible for us to be friends and form legitimate human connections with thousands of people at once. There is no substitution for face-to-face connection with our people, even if we feel like we’re being “social” all the time online. When I first wrote this blog in 2018, obviously social distancing wasn’t a thing to keep in mind – but it still stands that interpersonal communication (even virtual) is a more vulnerable way to connect than social media.

I’ll leave you with a challenge: this week, take some of the time you would usually spend scrolling on Facebook or Instagram, reach out to a friend or someone you want to be friends with and set a date to get coffee and actually get to know one another. At the very least, set up a time to FaceTime someone you haven’t talked to in a while. See how things are going for them outside of the highlight reel that is their social media.

Come over to my Instagram and tell me about your biggest takeaway and your upcoming coffee date 🙂

If you’re interested in snagging the full guide and checklist for free, click here.

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  1. Katie says:

    Ugh this is soooooo important. I am constantly trying to build healthy habits around this and these are some great reminders of practices I can implement (a myriad of unfollows awaits me currently!).

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