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8 Ways to have a Healthy Relationship with Social Media

Whether you’re a business owner and/or a blogger like me and find yourself feeling overwhelmed with social media and need to do a digital detox, know that this is VERY NORMAL. But before you toss your mobile device off a high rise building, I’ve got s
Mar 7, 2017 | Joy McCarthy

As you probably already know, I’m no stranger to social media (SM). I teach a social media 101 class at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition where I educate students on best practices with each social channel and how I grew Joyous Health using SM. I’ve been using SM as a tool to share my inspiration for natural health since 2009 when I started this blog. I regularly share on Instagram, twitter, facebook, youtube and pinterest. 

I LOVE social media! It allows me to connect and engage with my readers (you) and share my passion for health and wellness.

For an entrepreneur and business owner like me, social media is absolutely necessary from a marketing standpoint. If I go on vacation, my social channels come on vacation with me. If you own your own business you probably know where I’m going with this. I can’t take a week off and disconnect because I don’t have anyone else to fill my shoes… well sort of. We do have a lovely Community Manager now, Rachel (who both Walker and I adore). This ensures that even when Walker and I go on vacation, if you’ve got a question, you can bet someone will get back to you within one business day.

Whether you’re a business owner and/or a blogger like me or just someone who finds yourself feeling overwhelmed with social media and need to do a digital detox, know that this is VERY NORMAL. But before you toss your mobile device off a high rise building, I’ve got some great tips for having a healthy relationship with SM.

Here are 8 ways to have a healthy relationship with Social Media.

1. Choose the same time to disconnect every single day.

At the beginning of the year, I told the joyous team that one of my goals was to cut myself off from social media by 8pm EST every single night. I’m not 100% perfect at this, but that’s what I do at least 4 or 5 of the 7 nights in a week.

The benefits are that you will sleep better and have more time to connect with #1 – you. You’ll find that there is more time in the day to have a bath, read a book, get lunch ready for tomorrow or just hang out and spend quality time with someone. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.

2. Don’t get discouraged by negative comments.

Once in a while, the faceless trolls come out of hiding to spit out their nasty words – it's inevitable! Just look at any celebrity or insta famous people and you'll see what I mean. 

Thankfully, the large majority of commenters on SM have been pretty kind to me, but once in a while it happens. It’s very easy to get carried away and hurt by their comments but the best thing to do is DISENGAGE. Meaning, don’t even bother replying. That’s exactly what I do. Why? It puts out their fire and you soon forget about it.

If you find you’re the type of person who keeps stewing over it, then just get off social media for the rest of the day and find something else to do. Meet up with a friend for tea, go workout, take your kids to the playground. The point is, just get your mind off it and you’ll soon forget.

And remember, not everyone is going to agree with every Facebook status update or Instagram post especially if you’re sharing a politically charged update or a controversial topic. This is okay. You can’t expect everyone to agree with you, but know the difference between a faceless troll just being miserable for no reason and someone who wants to have a healthy debate.

3. Remember that you’re the one who chooses what you share

All too often I hear people say to me that they don’t share on social media because they are a “private” person or they share a lot and then get overwhelmed with it and disengage. You see celebrities do this all the time. They leave for a time period when things get to be too much only to resurface again a few weeks or months later.

The key to avoid getting overwhelmed is remembering this very important point: You choose what you share.

Social media is curated by no one other than you. Take 100% responsibility for it and make sure that you're cool with everything you share with it being public to potentially thousands of people seeing and reading. No one is forcing you to share anything, so decide what you want to share with the world. You’re in control.

4. Watch the negativity.

You know the person who shares every detail of their life on social media but it appears as though they are always angry, sad or frustrated? If that’s what you choose to share, that’s exactly what you will attract – angry, sad and frustrated people who feed into your drama.

I’m not saying you can never share a moment of passionate anger about something, but choose these moments wisely.

Remember, like attracts like. If you wish to attract more positivity and love in your life, then put that out there!

5. Savour the most special moments just for you.

If you’re a lover of social media, you may want to share anything and everything that excites you. I would highly recommend keeping some of that joy just for you and your family. It makes it more special.

Also, if you’re sharing images and videos of other people, make 100% sure that you’ve cleared it with them first. You may have noticed I don’t share a ton of images or videos of any of my extended family and close friends, although I share lots of my immediate family (Walker and Vienna) because they are cool with it and I don’t need to clear anything with them.

Remember that life is short. You won’t be looking back on the years thinking “Oh, I wish I spent more time on social media”.

6. Have a reality check and remember it’s NOT ALL TRUE.

I’ve always said that comparison is the thief of joy. Social media is notorious for depicting everyone’s life as perfect. This feels especially true if you’re PMS’ing or feeling a little down in the dumps – everyone will seem like they are having fun without you and their life is sooooo amazing!

Reality check! Social media is highly curated. Back to point #3!

No one’s life is perfect. We all have suffering at points throughout life, we’ve all had our heartbroken, have had bad hair days, had zits, had 10 recipe fails before posting that one beautiful perfectly fluffy gluten-free triple layer chocolate cake. And no one wakes up flawless, except Beyonce. But there’s so much more beauty that you’ll find out there in the REAL world.

7. Disable your notifications.

The average person has 2 to 3 social media tools they use throughout the week. If you have the notifications turned on for all of these, plus your emails and any newsletters or alerts you subscribe to, you’d never be able to put down your phone.

I for one, have most of my notifications turned off except iMessage. I check Instagram a few times per day, but if I checked it every time I had a notification I would be on my phone all day – this is NOT a joyous way to live.

8. When you’re at work, at a restaurant or at the dinner table, put your phone away.

I always like to say “out of sight out of mind”. I say this in regards to junk food and sugar to my clients and at workshops all the time. If you don’t buy Doritos, you’re much less likely to eat them. The same is true for checking social media.

If you put your phone in your purse or in a drawer when you’re at work, you’ll be waaaay more productive. If you don’t bring your phone to the dinner table you’re way more likely to connect with your family instead of your phone. 

There you have it – my 8 tips to have a healthy relationship with SM! You may find it difficult to incorporate all of these tips all at once, but even if you can find 1 or 2 to integrate into your life immediately, I can assure you, your relationship with social media will improve immensely and you will find a better work/life balance.

What's one of your best tips for having a healthy relationship with social media?

Lindsay   •   March 9, 2017

These are great tips, Joy! Thanks. I was just speaking with someone yesterday about creating some rules for myself around how and when I engage with social media. As a business owner it can truly be overwhelming.

Rachel Molenda   •   March 9, 2017

Kaila   •   March 9, 2017

I recently unfollowed all of the people/profiles on my Instagram that I found I was comparing myself to. Like you mentioned, when you're constantly doing this, it brings you down! I also found I was wasting way too much time each day mindlessly scrolling - yleck! I've kept the people that I care about or the profiles that inspire me and/or bring me joy!! This has helped me immensely with cutting back on my time spent on Instagram and has boosted my mood (since I'm not constantly comparing). I highly recommend trying this :)

Rachel Molenda   •   March 10, 2017

karen elliott   •   March 9, 2017

Thank you for this. I am one of those people born at a time in which I have had a good number of years living without internet and social media and have always considered myself to be quite balanced in life concerning social media. Imagine my surprise (at myself) a few nights ago when I found myself engaged in a text conversation while I was supposed to be engaged in a movie that my partner and I had agreed on together. I realized that it has been an extremely slow, insidious slide into the 'abyss' of being connected via social media. So slow, in fact, that I barely noticed how far I have slid. Your timely article has been a very helpful read. Thank you, again.

Rachel Molenda   •   March 10, 2017

Jolene   •   March 9, 2017

Thanks for the great reminders! They may seem simple enough, but it's always a positive impact to refresh on them. I really enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for sharing!

Rachel Molenda   •   March 10, 2017

Jason   •   March 20, 2017

There is so much negativity on Facebook these days that I choose just to share things that I wish to see more of. There is so much beauty in the world and a lot to be grateful for, but sometimes it's hard to see that when everyone is expressing anger, loneliness, and frustration. Also, I'm easily addicted to the internet so I've chosen just to have a pay-as-you-go emergency cell that is off more than 99% of the time. This way, I stay disconnected whenever I'm away from home. I love having dinner with friends who stay off their phone and walks in High Park turn into moments of inspiring conversation and an opportunity to truly experience the wonders of the natural world.

Rachel Molenda   •   March 21, 2017

Janet   •   April 18, 2017

Great list! I've just returned to FB now and then after having a total February fast. I am much more joyous and focused on what's important to me and how God is leading me in these days, and I have so much more time for other projects! My husband and I survive quite well without smartphones and I feel I've tamed the dragon (partially) with the pull of all other information webs still out there. As I get pushed/pulled from one link to another (recipes - Oy!) I have to stop and ask myself, "Is this really supposed to be part of my agenda for today?"

Rachel Molenda   •   April 19, 2017

Kristy   •   May 4, 2017

Wow! These are SUCH great tips to implement!! I totally find myself guilty of spending way too much time on social media and comparing myself to other people's 'highlight reel'. Thanks for putting things in perspective :)

Rachel Molenda   •   May 4, 2017

Anushree   •   July 18, 2017

I just chanced upon this post and these are absolutely amazing tips! Thanks for sharing💚

Rachel Molenda   •   July 19, 2017

LuanA   •   August 9, 2017

Very valid points! I will try to be more disciplined. Turning notifications off is very helpful.

Rachel Molenda   •   August 9, 2017

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