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How to Avoid Social Media Overwhelm

Personal

I miss the simple days of social media, don’t you?

You know what I mean – the days where we’d snap a quick picture (using Instagram’s awful filters), and just upload it, because we wanted to. The days before worrying about grid curation, hashtags and algorithm changes, or whether or not we could take a few days away from posting, without being punished. 

Somehow, social media platforms like Instagram transformed from being the fun, connection-oriented spaces we knew and loved, to becoming the ultra-competitive and growth-oriented business requirements that they are now. 

Well, I believe that it’s possible to still achieve those same joyful, carefree feelings while using social media, no matter the algorithm, time of year, or trend! As with all things in life, though, it might take a little bit of practice and preparation. So, I’ve got 4 tips to help you avoid social media overwhelm once and for all!

Change your thinking + look for opportunities to support and uplift others

I used to mindlessly scroll social media while looking for inspiration – but all that did was make me feel inadequate, and want what other people had (thanks Instagram). While I considered my “scrolling time” as a way for me to inspire my own creativity, it actually hampered it. I was looking for inspiration from others, instead of looking within! 

A few years ago, I totally changed my mindset to thinking of social media as a place to support and uplift others while creating and expanding my community. Now when I open the app, I think more about how I might be able to make someone else’s day, by supporting or encouraging them, or creating a connection. A bonus from this mindset shift? Some great friendships have come out of it! I’m talking about real life friendships, where we actually hang out and see each other in person. Who’d have thought, right?!

Just think about how much it means to you when you read a kind comment or when someone actually takes the time to respond to your question with a thoughtful answer. With the right shift in your thinking, you can be that source of encouragement and joy for other people! And as a side benefit, you might find that more people do that for you as well! 

(But remember: it defeats the purpose to expect anything in return. Try those changes with no expectations, and see how much better you feel afterward!)

Turn off notifications 

Please tell me that you’ve already done this!

There is absolutely no reason for you to be notified whenever someone comments on one of your posts or sends you a message. Literally none! Even if it seems like a momentary distraction, that notification will take your focus away from whatever you’re doing, and will train you to keep looking at your phone – and if we’re honest, we all need a lesson in being a bit less dependent on our phones.

Don’t let social media dictate your day. YOU get to decide when to log in, and when to check your notifications. When you’re in the right mood to build your community and uplift others, YOU can choose to show up and be available. You get to make social media fit into your day, schedule and life, not the other way around!  

Preschedule your posts & content

Writing captions can be exhausting. But doing so everyday? That’s enough to make anyone want to skip social media forever! 

I schedule my posts 1-2 weeks ahead of time using Planoly. I like to batch create content so that I only have to be in the caption writing or content creation frame of mind a few days out of every month. Now, I’ve found a rhythm that works for me (Mondays, during my “office day”), but you might need to play around with your own schedule to find a cadence that suits you and your creativity best. 

I’ve found that if I schedule my content too far in advance, it can have the tendency to lose the relevancy or urgency it once had – in that window of time, I might have done multiple photoshoots that I want to share instead! Case in point: feel free to experiment. It’s just social media! 

Oh, and as a visual person, I’ve found that scheduling my content ahead of time allows me to see how all the photos fit and flow within my feed. Because I want potential clients to experience a certain feeling when they come to my page, scheduling my posts ahead in Planoly allows me to ensure that all of the colors, white space, and visual elements line up just right.

Take time away without telling anyone

Why do we feel like we have to tell people when we’re taking time away from social media?

We guilt trip ourselves into saying things like:

“I know I’ve been gone for a while.” (Read: I’m feeling guilty for not doing this thing that some random person says I should be doing every day.)

“I’m taking a break for a few weeks.” (Read: I feel like you should always know what I’m doing because if I don’t post here for a few days, I’ll become irrelevant.) 

All because we feel as if our audience will desert us if we choose to come up for breath. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, no one notices! 

Every single person that follows you has a life, family and list of priorities to get to. People go through so much more than they show in their feed – chances are, most people will likely not notice your absence at all. (Which is why we don’t want to draw attention to our absence by announcing it on social media, am I right?!)

Only you can let yourself feel guilty for not posting, sharing or “showing up.” Don’t do it! You don’t have to be accountable to social media – take a break when you need it, and come back when you’re ready. And do yourself a favor and relieve yourself of the guilt trip – social media will always be waiting for you.

I’m here to serve as living proof of the fact that you can take a step back from social media and create better boundaries, all while reigniting your love for the reason why we all joined these apps in the first place: to cultivate connection, and build better friendships.

I hope you find your happy place, both on and off that social media feed! 

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