Healthy Social Media Boundaries
If you’ve been following me at all lately, then you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting very much on social media in the last few months. This includes Facebook, Instagram, and even my blogging has been taking a hit. Every time I have posted on Instagram since October, I keep thinking to myself that “This will be the post that gets me back into my social media rhythm. I’m going to post everyday this week!” The next day, I find myself neglecting it once again because I finally realized something. I’ve been ignoring posting because
Social Media was Sucking the Life out of Me
It sounds so dramatic, but looking back I can’t believe how true it is. When I first started my business, I loved posting to Instagram. It was fun and new and exciting! But as time went on, it became more of a chore. It wasn’t where my passion was in my business and I started to struggle. In the morning, I used to wake up and mindlessly scroll through my phone. First it was through Facebook, then through Instagram. Then I’d feel the pressure to post. That’s how you run a successful business, right?
If you know me, you know that I despise typing long emails or messages on my phone. So I’d bust out the computer and try to think of something to post for the day. Not infrequently, an hour would pass by and I’d still be working on a simple Instagram post. I struggled with what to say, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to make everything I said something awe-inspiring. I have a desire to serve and inspire others, and somewhere along the way, I lost the inspiration myself. My productivity suffered, and it was taking away from other aspect of my business and my life.
The evenings were a little bit different. Instead of despising social media for taking up my precious time, I found myself frequently sitting next to my husband and we were both glued to our phones. Both of us just mindlessly scrolling. It was his way of relaxing after a long day at work, but I quickly realized that it became my way of trying to find any connection to the world outside my four isolating walls. I became desperate to try to feel like I was connecting with others. I wanted to escape from the isolation of my business and I thought that was how to do it. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t).
It was strange. Social media became a tool that was both causing frustration for taking up all of my time during the day, but also giving me the illusion that time spent on it was a connection to others at night. What a messed up way of thinking, right? But that’s what it does to us. We are the generation who has never been more connected, and yet never been so alone.
So It Was Time to Make a Change
It was time to start focusing on my mental health and making face-to-face relationships instead of focusing on a relationship with my screen. I completely stopped posting on Instagram unless something exciting happened and I wanted to share it, and it’s become so freeing for me. Have my Instagram followers fallen? Sure, a little, but only by 13 people (yes, seriously). I think the Instagram algorithm has worked in my favor over the last few months. Still, it wouldn’t matter to me. The freedom that comes with not feeling so much pressure to post has been SO beneficial to not just my mental health, but to my business as well.
I know what you’re wondering. Has my absence affected my income at all? The simple answer is yes, it did, but not in the way you might be thinking. I have posted a grand total of 9 times on Instagram since December 2018 and not only did I still bring in 5 new wonderful clients this year, but I have had the busiest and most profitable 1st quarter of my business to date! Yes, really.
Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me. I was spending at least 5 hours on Instagram A WEEK that I’m now using to work on catalogs and mentor clients. It doesn’t surprise me one bit, and I *guarantee* that the decrease in time spent on Instagram and increase in profits are a direct correlation of one another.
I also made a few really big changes at home. After Zach realized that I was having this issue feeling very disconnected from the world, he helped implement changes to our routine that would encourage more one-on-one time between us. Some of the things we’ve changed are:
1. We eat dinners at the kitchen table.
Zach and I got into the habit of eating dinner on the couch. Now, we try to eat dinner at our kitchen table instead. It’s so much easier to pull your phone out when you’re eating on the couch distracted by the TV. We still occasionally eat on the couch, but for the most part we are really trying to make the change to have more of a meaningful meal together.
2. I no longer mindlessly scroll through social media in the evenings.
Instead, I engage in conversation with Zach or we’ll watch something while snuggled up together. Before we go to bed, we play Jeopardy on our Amazon Alexa. It’s become a really fun activity to do together!
3. We try to go out a little more.
Before, we were paying off student loans and saving money to buy a house. While we’re still on a pretty strict eating out budget, we’ll try to go out every now and then (even if it’s just for a drink and appetizer) just to get out of the house. We’ll also take Koda for walks through the neighborhood just to get a little exercise and get some fresh air.
I’ve also come to rely on my sweet friends from my Mastermind group. Those ladies keep me sane! We’ve started meeting twice a month instead of just once a month, and that has been really amazing.
I’m not one of those people who believe that social media is evil, but I do think we need to be careful of the grasp it can have over us. For years I believed that the only way to have a successful business is to post every – single – day on social media. While that is important for growing your business, it doesn’t need to become your whole world. If you’re feeling the mental fatigue of your social media platforms, don’t be afraid to take a break from them. Don’t be afraid to let them go for a while and focus on yourself and other areas of your business. You may even find that social media was hindering your success and not adding to it.