What To Do If You’re Overwhelmed By Social Media
What do you feel when you get on social media?
Happy, joyful, lively? For me, for the longest time, social media has made me feel…overwhelmed. Especially Instagram, Pinterest, & Facebook.
The reason I say this is because a few years ago, I was addicted to using Pinterest. This was back when I was in high school. I was very lost, confused, and scared about the future that God has for me because it was so unknown to me. I personally did not like having the future so unknown and unplanned.
So the only way I would have control over this is through Pinterest. I know, crazy right? Pinterest allows you to have as many boards as you want and you can categorize them all. For example, I could have a board for “Future Home”, “Future children’s rooms”, and “Future Wedding” and so on. I had control over my virtual life while my real life was in shambles and in disarray.
I would keep pinning and pinning all these idealized images of my future house, spouse, and children would be like. And, it was so addicting to the point that I had to deactivate my account and delete the app. At first, this was such a hard move to accomplish, but I did it with God’s help. I was able to finally see that Pinterest was becoming my life and sucking out what God had planned for me.
How Social Media Is Affecting Women
It seems to me that social media really affects more women than with men. But, I could be completely wrong, so don’t take my word for it. I feel like it can be so easy for women to get sucked into the black hole of social media. In this case that I am writing this blog post about social media, I am writing from a woman’s perspective.
“There are many ways that a person can live their life in a certain way. However, social media has a way of setting high expectations of how your whole life is supposed to look like.”
Your kid’s birthday parties have to be over-the-top and you have to out-top it every year.
Your cooking has to be flawless and quick for every dinner even if you literally do not have the time.
You and your spouse have to go all out on your anniversaries and on date nights every single week.
You need to go to the newest restaurant in town and wear your most up-to-date trends and fashion.
Because that is what is all being displayed on social media on a minute-to-minute basis: feeling the pressure to present our lives like how it is online.
Facebook & Instagram
Facebook is honestly so crazy nowadays; I really do not understand it. I mean, I totally get that Facebook is used to connect with people that are far away and you want to update them on what is going on in your life. I never really had a problem with Facebook; I had more problems with Pinterest. However, I can see how women can get so bombarded on Facebook by people blasting their opinions, sharing every single thing every hour, and always staying up-to-date with what is going on in their lives, 24-7.
It is easy to think, “I do not have time for that.” And, you are right. You do not have time to be keeping up with the Joneses or the Garcia’s or whoever you are competing with. You have to be living your life and if that means you do not have time to be scrolling on Facebook or Instagram or curate your perfect feed and its matching filters, then go for it.
Back when I was a freshmen/sophomore in college, I remember I used to be on Instagram all the time, scrolling and scrolling until my eyes hurt. Yes, I did this. I remember feeling the need to post selfies all the time, even though I actually do not like taking pictures of myself in real life. (You can ask my husband about that, if your don’t believe me.) I felt the strong pressure to be a presentable and modern college girl on Instagram. I even felt the irrational need to buy a certain watch that I hardly ever wear in real life just so I can pose in it and post it.
After awhile, I was tired of it. Of always feeling the pressure to post good posts, not real posts. Of feeling overwhelmed of trying to live my life a certain way like on Instagram. So, I quit Instagram for a long time and hardly got on it, so I could give myself time to breathe, pray, and think about what God wants me to live, not by social media’s standards.
Even Now Today…I Still Struggle With Social Media
David and I post frequently for The Simple Mission. However, I have to schedule social media posts ahead of time during my “work day” so that I will have the time to do what I need to do at home as a wife, like clean, do laundry, cook, and spend time with my spouse.
There is a boundary that David and I needed to draw in how we use social media and how often we are on it. We are not perfect because there are days where David or I stay on social media for too long, trying to consume and learn as much media as we can because we want to improve on presenting ourselves.
But, then I got so overwhelmed again. I realized I began to feel the same, heart-racing, almost panicky feelings I had when I was 16 years old with Pinterest. And, I wondered, could this be connected? What was the root of my reaction of social media?
Here is what I already knew:
The more I am on social media, the more overwhelmed, restless, defeated, and awful I feel.
Now, here is the opposite:
The less I am on social media, the more light, content, happier, and content, and peaceful I feel.
So, what was I missing here?
I was allowing myself to get sucked into getting on social media all the time. Every time I picked up my phone, I was automatically getting on Instagram or Facebook. I was not setting rules for myself to follow to use social media, and, as a result, social media was using and controlling me.
Even if you get on social media for encouragement and motivation, chances are that the more you are on it, the more overwhelmed and discontent you might feel. This might lead into comparison, leading to jealousy, leading to envy, and ultimately lead to the complete dissatisfaction of your whole life that God has gifted you with.
“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones..” Proverbs 14:30 NLT
There are so many ways that you can live your life. But, if you look solely on social media on how to plan and cook your meals flawlessly; decorate or update your house that you will go in deep debt for; buy and wear the right trendy clothes that you cannot fit anymore in your closet, you may get out of touch with God and what His will is for you in your life.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 NLT
The reason that we live our lives is solely for God. He has a mission for each of us to live out, and our purpose is to love Him and love others. Read this post for more on tips for your purpose & mission.
Social media has a way of making us get off track and focus on what the world has to offer, not God. Social media causes us to look towards ourselves and be discontent; God causes us to look to Him and be content. Social media posts are all curated and sometimes, only is the highlight reel of the best representation of people’s lives.
But, y’all, we do not know what goes on behind every post that is posted on social media. We do not know every person’s life and what they are going through. Behind every image or video is a real person living on the same earth as you are that go through hard trials and difficulties.
But, if we are seeking God, you do not have to look to social media to know how to live your life. You do not have to feel overwhelmed, restless, defeated, and awful. If you make God the ruler and strength of your heart and make His Word, not social media, as the foundation of your life, you will be more light, happier, content, and peaceful.
“…those who passionately pursue the Lord will never lack any good thing.” Psalms 34:10
Let’s Imagine This For A Few Minutes
What if you do go all out on your kid’s birthday party, the ideas straight from your Pinterest board, and you get praised for your gorgeous and elaborate decorating, but then after everybody goes home and you are cleaning up, you wondered if this was all worth it?
What if you do buy those trendy clothes that is so in right now, “inspired” by the Instagram fashion influencer, and everyone compliments your outfit, but after you wear the outfit and put it up in the closet, you wonder why this is not making you more happy that you thought?
Be content with God, not with making your life look like exactly how it is on social media.
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:6-9 NLT
However… I Am Not Saying All Social Media is Evil
I STILL use social media. My point is not to discourage you or make you stay off of social media forever or never buy anything inspired from online ever. My point is to be more self-aware of how you feel when using social media.
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:31-33 NLT
Please, do not look at your life and be discontent by what you see on social media.
But, it is also OKAY to get on social media if you are looking for ideas on how to decorate your living room for fall, or to get ideas for birthday themes your little boy wants, or to get tips on how to style your new shirt that you got.
This is what I do think you should do to make sure to keep the balance with social media:
1. Be specific on what you want from social media. (Ex. Pinterest for new fall sweaters)
2. Have a strict budget in mind. (Ex. $25-50, not a penny over)
3. Be sure your spouse/partner is in agreement first, include them in this.
4. Be intentional; do not just scroll and search mindlessly.
This is the best way to strike that balance of using social media rather than social media using you. Understanding the balance and having control of using social media will guide you to live a happier and peaceful life.
Thank you for reading,