You probably hate emails just as much as I do. For that reason, I have created a section only available to my subscribers called email archives. Instead of sending out the exclusive article on email, I post it here. However, I will still send short email reminders when I upload new content in this section.
This month’s exclusive post is about being intentional with social media. Generally, I tell you a little about why I took a social media break, how got there in the first place, what I learned during this break and how I have managed to feel less anxious while I am online.
As you may or may not know, I had taken a break off the online world. It feels like this is becoming a trend nowadays to detox from social media. It is like the new cool thing. But as I write this, I am happier and transformed from my detox. However, I will admit that I never did a full detox, I still watched lots of YouTube. How did I even get there?
Social media is a huge part of my job. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Somehow in my head, I had an excuse to justify why I needed to spend too much time online. With time, this became my life: each time I touch my phone I have to visit Instagram. When I am there I will spend close to an hour or even more. Honestly, during that time, all I possibly did was compare myself to others. Each day, my happiness was stolen and I began to get consumed in the world of consumerism. All of a sudden I felt happier when I went shopping, got new clothes and stocked more handbags. (I got sucked into the lie!!)
It did not get better. I kept digging deeper and real sadness began to creep in. I did not have the energy to do even what I loved. Instead of spending time with family and friends, I preferred to be alone. I was very demotivated. I was very close to begin my shopping spree and fill my life with things I never needed when I decided to stop and ask myself, “Is this truly what will make me happy?”
That question helped me snap out of the bubble I was in. Everything looks very perfect on Instagram and all other social media. You and I know that – but as we look at photos, we forget that. Slowly your mind starts believing that your life is a mess when truly it isn’t. For me to come back to reality, I had to reprogram my mind and that meant that I stay away from social media and focus on my life.
Crazy enough it was the best thing that happened to me. For about a month, I stayed away from opening any social media (well, except YouTube. However, I edited all the channels that I had subscribed to and made sure I followed people who added value and motivated me. I was very strict with myself and did my best not to watch anything else). During this period, I went through the same challenges that everybody who takes a social media break goes through.
Just saying that I really like his channel. You might want to subscribe to his channel and listen to his podcast as well.
All in all, the purpose of this post is not to tell you how and why you need a detox, it is to tell you how to prevent yourself from getting there in the first place. After my break, freedom was back but I was very hesitant to come back online. I was afraid of falling in the same trap again, so the question was, “How can I avoid falling back right where I was?” This is the topic of today.
The number one reason I fell into the trap was me and my choices. One of the choices was the people I chose to follow. Have I intentionally chosen whom to follow? Do I intentionally choose which posts I like? Sadly, before my break, the answer was no but today, the answer is an absolute yes. When I began thinking while using social media, I began to make the right choices. However, I needed to first clean up the mess I had created for myself.
So, when I came back online, I went through everybody that I followed and ensured that it is somebody I actually want to follow. It is hard to eliminate the people you follow and so I gave myself time. The rule I gave myself is, ‘if I look at a photo and it brings negativity, I unfollow the person’. How did I know that it brought negativity? Somehow, your body knows. It is the opposite of happiness. The feeling of negativity online is when you begin to see what you don’t have instead of appreciating what you have.
Another restriction I gave myself is that I would no longer watch anything with the word ‘haul’. You don’t have to implement this. The biggest reason I decided never to watch them is to prevent myself from seeing as if anything material contributes to my happiness. I constantly tell myself that I do not need a new item to feel good about myself and shopping hauls contradict this statement hence I avoid them. But that is for me! What about you? Is it watching a new launch that gives you anxiety or watching people with luxurious things? You are the judge here. Make a choice to do away with that which makes you unhappy?
If you do not exactly know what it is that causes anxiety or self-doubt, take a break and focus on yourself. Embark on a personal growth journey and get to know yourself. With time, you will be able to identify what provokes those negative feelings.
I have also made a conscious effort to restrict my time online. I have set reminders to prompt me when I have exhausted my time online. (To be honest, the reminder -that should go off after one hour – has never gone off.) I try my best not to use social media before bed. In the morning, I take about four hours before I get online. Sometimes it is hard to draw a boundary between work and leisure when it comes to social media but at the end of the day, it should not consume my whole day. If you are a creator and are interested in how I make it work for me, contact me and I will help you out. One pro tip is to separate your personal account from your business account.
Lastly, I have done away with social media notifications on my phone. Each time I get a like or comment or whatever notification, it does not appear in my notification bar. My phone is therefore not always buzzing and there is so much peace. You might also consider this for yourself.
I always preach self-love and to me being intentional with social media is the best gift I give myself daily. This actually made me love my feed. What I have observed is that social media has begun to suggest for me content that I enjoy. The thing that most of us forget or don’t know is that you control your social media. It gives you what you want. I took control of all my social media and yes, control is what it takes to use social media intentionally. The question remains:
Why do we allow ourselves to get carried away? Because we all want to be successful and famous, we want everybody to like us, and we want to stand out. However, success is not defined by the number of likes or followers. My definition of success is not the same as yours and they will never be the same with somebody else.
The culture we are creating online is not good and that is why we are suffering. But you know what, we are all hustling to make it. As it stands nobody is patient enough to hustle the right way. If you disagree about the culture, tell me why mental health is on the rise. Tell me why there is so much anxiety and depression online.
There is a video I really love and it always rings in my head. This is the video I stumbled upon just before my detox. My favorite statements from this video are:
- We live in a consumerist society and they need you to buy stuff. The only way they can make you buy stuff is to tell you that you are not enough.
- The makeup they are selling to make you feel prettier is the same makeup you buy to stop feeling shittier about this lie they keep telling you that you are not enough.
- If you can’t love yourself, how can you ever love me?
I set rules for myself when I am online because I know the consequences of not abiding by those rules.
When I started El Mieles, the purpose of social media was just to grow an audience and get people to read what is on the blog. Because of that I got carried away to post what people liked – the fancy stuff. But after my experience, I chose to use social media to inspire others. Away from telling you how it feels to own something and instead to tell you that you have all that it takes. At the end of the day, I want to help you to love your life more, add more value to your life and not hate every moment you enter online. You do not need anything material for you to feel good, you just need yourself. When you are happy, I am happier and we both win!
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I am also editing the newsletter for this month – the beginning of another volume. Hopefully, I finish in time to have it published by end of June. Thank you for the support.