We live in a strange paradox between two worlds, a digital one and a real one. Sometimes, however, it can be far too easy to lose ourselves in one world. The digital world is easier – there’s no pressure to say the right thing on the spot, you don’t have to worry about your real-life responsibilities, and the same pressure of human interaction just isn’t there.
The internet, especially social media, can be a simple escape, and though sometimes that can be nice, have you ever taken social media interaction too far? Perhaps you’ve gone to briefly check a Facebook notification and completely forgotten about what you were doing in the first place, or you’ve decided to “take a break” on your phone, and next thing you know you’re out of time to do what you really needed to get done. While it’s not that you wouldn’t procrastinate without social media, it can be important to take periodical breaks to connect with what matters to you. Here are three tips for establishing healthier social media habits.
1. Recognize the truth.
Think about how you use social media. Are you completely honest, or do you only let the world see the fairy tale parts of your life? If you’re entirely transparent on social media, kudos to you. You are much braver than many of your fellow media users. For the vast majority of us, however, social media is where we display only the highlights of our daily lives. We post photos marking significant events, gushing about our loved ones or celebrating our successes.
You rarely hear about tragedies, disappointments and failures that every human being experiences. Everybody on the planet has bad days. We all get lonely. We all have regrets. We all have faced loss. To remain sane on social media, you must remember those basic truths. What you see is not the whole story. That person that you feel like you’ve watched “win” at life for years now does not always feel as happy as they look in that photo. Their lives are just as flawed as yours, and your life has just as much beauty as theirs. The first step to letting go of social media is letting go of perfection.
2. Don’t get so caught up in your performance.
The thing about what social media tells you is that not only does it affect your view of everybody else’s lives, but it also puts pressure on you to make your life look like that. I admit to it, there have been many times where I have gone somewhere or done something simply because I wanted to post about it. While they have been wonderful experiences, I cringe when I think about the fact that a motivating factor in doing them was to show my followers how “exciting” I am. The world is large and abundant, and all yours to explore. Explore without fear of doing it wrong or not getting a good picture. Live an extraordinary life because you deserve an extraordinary life, not because you want to impress people.
3. Try things, allow them to make you forget about your phone.
Sometimes, when I’ve been on my phone too much, I get lost in and forget to do anything outside of it. Last month, however, I took up embroidery. Odd, I know, but as someone with little to no artistic skill, it’s been an easy way for me to do something creative while maintaining my pride. There have been multiple days where I look up from my project and realize I have absolutely no idea what time it is, or where my phone is. When I do check back in with my phone, I find myself refreshed and feeling prepared to deal with whatever my notifications may have in store for me.
Doing something productive and stimulating that doesn’t involve critical-thinking or my emotions is relaxing for me. Finding entertainment within myself is one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, and I wholeheartedly believe it could be for you as well. Give it a shot – try new, random, entirely un-cool things, and let yourself get lost in them the way you get lost on Instagram.
Originally published on www.thecommuter.org