I vividly remember the moment I thought to myself “I need to take a step back from social media because it is making me envious and miserable!”. I noticed the way it controlled my moods like a puppet. There was something wrong.
To be completely honest, I never thought I would utter these words because I constantly reminded myself that social media platforms are simply highlight reels, and do not reflect real life.
Boy was I wrong.
So, I started paying attention to the things that affected my moods and noticed the following.
1- Sitting or laying down while browsing
I was “jumping” from one account to the next while I was laying down and not moving for hours! I felt lazy and drained and that I had less energy to do anything including praying. Praying became a quick intermission between these endless hours of wasted time.
Solution: Instead of starting my day with the useless scrolling, I try to do anything else other than holding my phone. Let it be preparing breakfast, exercising, or even staring out the window. Afterward, I check my phone for emails, calls, notifications and so. I try to avoid pointless scrolling.
2- The comparison loop
Subconsciously, I was continuously comparing myself to others even when I didn’t want to. I tried convincing myself that all these polished pictures don’t affect me, well guess what, I was fooling myself!
Obviously, they’re going to get to me when I’m spending all this time glued to the mobile screen consuming a huge amount of content, hours after hours.
And we all know, when you start comparing yourself to others, jealousy and envy are inevitable. Where did she get a dress like that?!! OMG, I wish I can go to Jamaica!
Solution: I try to spend less time on accounts where people are flexing and I more on more insightful social media accounts/posts such as health and fitness, Islamic lifestyle, beauty and cooking.
If any feeling of envy starts to seep into my heart again, I remind myself that Allah blesses people in different ways.
3- I stopped practicing my favourite hobbies
Anything other than the mindless scrolling felt like an effort. Reading a book or writing stopped giving me the constant stimulation which social media provides. The book I bought more than 6 months ago, was sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be opened.
Solution: I put my phone away while I do something I enjoy to avoid distractions. At first, it was challenging to maintain my focus but I pulled through until I gained it back. Once I have reclaimed this satisfaction from a hobby, it was social media that felt like an effort!
4- I used it whenever I felt stressed
I caught myself on multiple occasions, opening Instagram, or Facebook without batting an eye whenever a stressful situation came my way. I felt like my brain was shifting from being stressed to numb.
Solution: I shift my focus to something that calms me down such as breathing exercises, walking, or working out. And I eventually face the reason for my stress and try to resolve it.
What else can you do to prevent the negative impact of social media?
Don’t post to show off or impress someone
If you want to post a picture or a status, do not do it to brag. I mean we all know how much we hate these kinds of posts. Definitely don’t do it either to please or impress a certain person.
Renew your intention and if you have to post it, do it for the right reasons.
Deal with the real reasons why you’re envious
In my case, all these pictures and posts made me feel bad about myself.
But why? Because I spent the whole day doing nothing useful so I kind of pitied myself in a sense. In addition, as I mentioned previously, it was an escape from my daily stress.
So dig deeper, find out the reason why you are spending more than half of your day on phone and not doing something that matters to you.
Face your feelings head-on, as uncomfortable as it may be-it’ll pay off. Trust me.
Take a break when you have to
Deactivate all your accounts if you have to. Let it be for a day, a month, or as long as you want.
Even if that means never activating again, so be it. Do what is best for you. Yes, that means you’re not going to follow my blog’s Instagram page, but it’s okay I’ll forgive you… eventually. But no seriously, do what’s best for YOU.
Time is precious so let’s not waste it. I am still learning how to manage my day successfully. Personally, It’s one of the most challenging habits to sustain. Allah(SWT) will ask us how we spent our time on this dunya, so let’s be prepared.
Also, social media is a great means to connect with the people you love and can be a beneficial platform to learn various things from different parts of the world. But remember it’s just an app on your phone and it shouldn’t control your moods and definitely not your happiness.