Happy New Year readers! It’s new year’s resolution time and, like many of you, I’m going to try to become more active, drink less and eat healthily in 2019. I have also added a new resolution to the usual list of promises I will probably break in a week or so and that is to log out of social media and log in to life.
I’m back in the saddle of my trusted exercise bike and have started the C9 Forever Living cleanse, which has the added benefit of a mini Dry January, so why would I log out of social media?
How often, like me, have you found yourself on social media while the real people around you go unnoticed? How often do you catch yourself scrolling up and down instead of talking to the human sitting next to you? Social media claims to connect you with family and friends however, in reality, it disconnects you from them.
There is no denying that social media has become something that plays a pivotal role in many of our lives. Whether casually scrolling through Instagram, receiving back-to-back notifications from Facebook groups or Twitter mentions, social media is a constant for many people.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m one of the biggest culprits. I use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook daily but even I recognise that the constant barrage of perfectly-filtered photos are bound to affect many people’s self-esteem. I have a friend who has no desire to be on social media. This is not just a ‘digital detox’, which is apparently all the rage, nor even a conscientious objector (like when I refused to watch Top Gun because ‘everyone else is doing it’). This was a real and deeply thought out choice and I admire it as they prefer face-to-face contact and having real relationships with real people – you know like we did only a few years ago.
The challenge is, while I do need to be on social media for work, how do I moderate my own personal use? Well firstly, unfollow accounts that impact on your self-esteem. Following accounts of people who make you feel bad about yourself is not a good habit. You know this! Accounts of people who travel to luxurious places might make you wish you could afford to travel too, or following a model or celebrity who posts perfectly filtered (and be under no illusion, most photos are well filtered or photoshopped) might make you envious of their looks.
Similarly, in the virtual reality of social media, it can be very easy to compare your life with your ‘friends’ and put yourself down. We want to be like the other person, we like their carefully sculpted abs, peachy posterior and we love their wardrobe/hair/shoes. Life seems to be going forward for them while ours seems to be at a standstill. They got that dream job while we are stuck in limbo. They visited that country/city/restaurant that we wanted to. They have a perfect husband, a picture-perfect family and our life pales in comparison.
Newsflash – we’re only here once. This is life and not a dress rehearsal. How many times have you sat for hours mindlessly scrolling through Twitter feed, Instagram stories etc. and then realised that you could have spent this time doing something useful (like writing your monthly column and not leaving it to the last minute – sorry Ed!)
Spend your time wisely on useful things, like books, classes and experiences that actually improve your life and enrich you with knowledge to make you a better person. You can find time and exercise instead of complaining about how you never find the time to hit the gym.
I’m not saying to break up with social media but come on, we need to get a grip. We need to start being grateful for the life we have instead of being envious of the lives of others on social media. Your life is awesome, you don’t need to let the 10 things you don’t have, that your social media friend does, prevent you from giving thanks for how lucky you have been in life.
What you have now and take for granted is someone’s prayer request. Whilst you envy your friend’s Range Rover on social media, someone is busily praying and fasting for your Alfa. In fact, if you have food, clothing, and a roof over your head, you are richer than 75 per cent of the people in the world today. If you have savings in the bank, you are in the top eight per cent of the world’s wealthiest. If you woke up this morning with your health, you are more blessed than the one million people who will not survive this week. If you have not experienced the pain of starvation, you are more fortunate than 500 million people in the world today. This is why I am going to log out of social media and log in to life.
If you log out more and invest the time into your dreams, your future self will be happy that you had the time to learn Italian, take cookery classes, start doing yoga or even write that book!