Maybe you caught my rant on Instagram Stories a few days back – or maybe you didn’t.
But I ditched Instagram for three weeks and it felt fucking amazing.
I’ve been struggling with a hardcore technology addiction for, let’s admit it, quite a while now. My average weekly screen time maxes out at almost eight hours a day. Given that both my full time corporate job and my side hustle are social media – it makes sense. But it sucks. I feel constantly plugged in, bombarded by toxic content, and unable to ever get fully grounded.
So let’s discuss.
I’m prone to fairly high anxiety and am a big fan of therapy. The beginning of this year (even prior to Covid-19) was really rough for me, so I went on the hunt for a counselor I enjoy and started going to sessions again. One thing my therapist really taught me was the power of grounding.
Grounding is having a sense or awareness of your physical space around you. Anxiety can often be, well, inside our heads. It’s our thoughts, our worries, the racing mind that causes anxiety and stress. By disconnecting from the mind and making a conscious connection with the physical space around you, you can bring yourself back to a calm space that feels safe.
My personal worries are often emotionally and mentally close, but physically far away – family issues, work worries, etc. My immediate physical environment – my home, my bedroom, a park, etc – are all literally safe and quiet. By reminding myself where I physically am, I can calm myself and remind myself that my current present is safe and calm.
It’s really fucking hard to stay grounded if you’re constantly plugged in. Social media (Twitter, Instgram, the works) takes you across the world, into other countries, people’s homes, and their problems. I may physically be in San Francisco – but I am hyper aware of ALL the things happening across the world AT ALL TIMES.
I want to make one thing very clear – I am not an advocate of unplugging and ignoring the issues. Being able to unplug and disconnect is a privilege – the people across the world fighting for said issues on social media don’t have the same privilege to disconnect.
What I’m advocating is to stop falling for the social media performative activism trap – posting black squares on your feed and then going back to your daily life like nothing happened. Did you actually engage with the issue at hand? Read a book? Have a tough conversation? Donate to the causes? Really do anything?
Ask yourself these questions the next time you think to engage in a social media campaign and be brutally honest with yourself – am I really taking action or is this “action” I’m taking performative and maybe giving me a false sense of actually doing something?
I, personally, think it’s a way better use of our time to unplug and disconnect a bit from social media – for our own mental health and sanity – and also to do actual IN REAL LIFE steps to make the world a better place.
I’m really sorry to say this…
But who gives a shit if you posted a black square or black and white selfie to your Instagram feed if you didn’t actually 1) understand the history of or 2) contribute to the cause?
Sure. We can make a case for “awareness” helping a cause…but does it really if we’re all just posting to our feeds and moving right along?
I really don’t mean this with any offense – but wow have I found it hard to find accounts to follow that actually add value to my life in any way these days.
Bikini pics don’t really add value to my life. #NSale posts don’t really add value to my life (…unless a Barefoot Dreams blanket goes on sale, then someone pls DM me immdiately). It’s all entertainment and that’s fine – but I think, for me personally, all this content does is make me compare my own life to the picture perfect feed unfolding in front of me.
Here’s the thing – we all compare ourselves to others all damn day long. We did it in real life. We sure as fuck do it online.
But online is a much harsher and carefully curated comparison game.
People tend to post the best of the best. Especially influencers and content creators. The iPhone camera reel of a content creator is packed with hundreds of the “same” photo over and over so that we can carefully select the perfect shot.
And that’s all fine and dandy.
Until you see hundreds of these “perfect” shots clogging up your feed and Stories. This now has become your new normal – your new benchmark at which to compare your own life to.
I don’t have that flat stomach. I don’t have that dress. That house. That new eyeliner. Shit – do I need that? Maybe I’ll buy that. Whoops just did.
Next thing you know, you’re buying loads of shit you don’t need because you’ve been “influenced”, trash talking your own body because it doesn’t look like the pics you’re seeing on Instagram, and hopping on the latest social media performative activism campaign bandwagon because omfg well everyone else is doing it – if I don’t do it then does that mean I don’t support the cause?!
This constant comparison is highly toxic for me – especially because the standard for what I’m comparing myself, my body, and my life against is so curated, filtered, and often fake.
There are some great articles and books out there about how social media companies have deliberately design their apps to be addicting – literally like a little slot machine giving you a jolt of feel good hormones every time you get a like, comment, or DM.
I’m definitely addicted. At an almost eight hour daily screen time – how could I not be?
So for me, personally, I’m just tired. I feel a little fried. And I need to practice (and honestly LEARN) a little self control.
But what I can say is you aren’t alone. I think a lot of people are feeling this way and just haven’t quite figured out the trick. Or if you have, DM me immediately. Or maybe don’t? Lolz maybe email me instead.
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