It’s no secret that living in the digital age comes with stressors. A few weeks ago, I was hit by it hard. I woke up, rolled over, grabbed my phone and checked Instagram, like I always do. I work in the digital space, and I have to spend a fair share of time on social media and how I create boundaries on social media is important to my overall happiness.
This was during a particularly challenging week with my health – I wasn’t in a great place mentally. I scrolled, and I literally felt myself getting anxious. I was feeling defeated and down on myself when I started the scroll, and after it, I was in a serious funk.
I started the day off in tears. Recognizing this trigger, I did what I could to remove myself from the situation and get out of my mood.
I am a grown 38-year-old woman with a great life… I know better than to fall victim to the comparison game. If scrolling and seeing what others were accomplishing hit me where it hurt and affected how I felt about myself, how does this affect the younger generation?
The world moves fast and as someone who owns a business dedicated to marketing brands online, I’m well aware how content creation is a beast – one that never sleeps. I could create and feed content to Instagram 24/7 and it would never. Be. Enough. Getting used to getting comfortable with always feeling like you could be doing more is truly something I’ve struggled with and am finally, after years ok with it.
Boundaries with your phone/social media are 100% essential to our happiness and I learned all about it at the recent TELUS Creator Summit (I’m a TELUS ambassador, and am really proud to partner with them). One of the sessions was dedicated to their TELUS Wise program, available to anyone who signs up including teachers, parents and anyone looking for resources on ways to live happy in the digital age. I absolutely LOVE that they arm us with tools and resources to thrive in what can often be a very overwhelming digital world including dealing with cyberbullying, language guides for parents, booking free workshops and empowering all ages including kids, parents and even seniors.
A quote from the session that really put things into perspective for me was this one:
“The key to digital media use and happiness is limited use. Aim to spend no more than two hours a day on digital media and try to increase the amount of time you spend seeing friends face-to-face and exercising – to activities reliably linked to greater happiness.” – Jean Twenge
Anxiety and depression rates are on the rise and I have heard more women in my age group talk about anxiety than I ever have before. When I’m going through an anxious period myself, spending time on Instagram can feel like a trap. We feel connected to what we see, but there truly is no connection at all. The only thing that makes my heart feel full is time with friends and family, truly connecting IRL and nurturing relationships.
Like with any relationship, boundaries are essential to its success. Here are my tips on taking control of your online time and your happiness:
- Create before you consume – listening to your own voice is essential to doing good work. In other words, avoid scrolling before you work on your own project
- Face-to-face time with loved ones who know and care for you
- Stop the evening scroll and put the phone away after a certain time of night (for me, the evening couch scroll is toxic, and I try to put my phone in another room after 8pm)
- Consume in larger batches instead of small, bite sized sessions. Remember, quality over quantity applies here, too and you’re not going to miss out on anything
- Turn off all social and email notifications. I’ve never had them on and never would – way too distracting
- Pay attention to how social media makes you feel and then adjust accordingly
- Consider a digital detox to test if your relationship with social media is unhealthy. Try deleting the Instagram app from your phone for a day and go on about your life… how do you feel afterwards? Now try for the entire weekend.
- Document stories and photos as you go, but don’t post them until later in the day so you can enjoy being in the moment while sharing what you need to (this applies most to content creators where part of their job is to document and share)
I would LOVE to hear from you about how social makes you feel. Do you fall into the comparison game? Are you up for creating some boundaries with it? I totally recommend looking into the TELUS Wise Workshop they offer!
Thank you to TELUS for sponsoring this post. All views are my own.