View My Instagram
See my Page
See My Pins
Twitter

Finding Relief From Social Media Burnout

It happened again. My throat felt as dry as with thirst, but the rest of my body felt like it was drowning. After three consecutive nights of being jolted awake by the cries of a frightened toddler, my body was exhausted. Fluid regulation and digestion are functions that we don’t have to think about often. We usually take it for granted that our bodies will do these tasks automatically–at least, I usually did. But here I was again, on the verge of what we can only guess is an adrenal stress-related flare up. Thankfully I recognized the beginning stages and was able to get enough electrolytes and avoid a full crisis. The following days I devoted to rest and recovery. I stopped social media and decided to not publish on the blog the following week.
The Lord has used this time to refresh my soul and renew my purpose in my work. In this post, I would like to share with you some of the lessons I have been learning during this time of rest. 
(To read about other lessons I have learned relating to anxiety and my health issues, see My Subchorionic Hematoma Story: Second Trimester.)

The Source of Burnout

I have learned a lot about myself lately–about my habits, my thinking, my motives. Most people think that burnout comes from doing too much. In my experience, it isn’t so much about what I do in the outer world. It’s the needless burdens carried on the inside that weigh me down. Burdens don’t usually come in the shapes of heavy boulders. They usually are collections of small things that accumulate over time until they seem like an insurmountable heap. The outside pressures only reveal what is already on the inside.

Finding relief from social media burnout.

The Influence of Social Media

On my Thinking

Of all the outside pressures in my life, social media is the most pervasive. I have always loved people watching, and outlets such as Facebook and Instagram are a fun way to do that without having to leave the house. But as I am watching people’s lives fly by in my newsfeed, my head is filled with distracting dialogues. “Why can’t I pull myself together to look like her?” “ What if that calamity happened to me?” “If only I had majored in something different in college?” “Look at how much interaction she is getting on that post! Why can’t I do that?” “I’m failing as a parent because I am not doing what she’s doing.” And on and on it goes! By the end of the day, I have spent hours in this zone.
I am reluctant to tame this wild beast into submission. I like the thrill of seeing the little red numbers telling me that someone cares about what I have to say. I am comforted by the fuzzy haze that sets in as I scroll through the continuous influx of information.

On my Relationships

It’s only when I step away from it that I can see its effect on me. When Em was a newborn, I got sucked into Facebook Momma (drama) Groups. Although the ladies had a lot of helpful tips, over time I began to rely on their input on every aspect of my mothering. I cared more about what these strangers on the internet thought was important than what my husband or even God thought was important.
After six months of this craziness, I escaped my virtual world. I soon realized how much freedom I had been missing out on. My relationship with my husband improved, and I finally had time to focus on little projects. Although I was committed to being off of Facebook for one month, I continued to avoid it for many more months after that. When I returned, Facebook no longer had the same appeal that it used to.

On my Lifestyle

Now that I am on Instagram, I once again am noticing how much my social media usage shapes my lifestyle. Everyday living has become a spectator sport for many social media users. Each of us wants to be that all-star player with adoring fans. And each of us has to deal with certain consequences of fame as well. We may not have mobs breaking down our doors for our signature or following us home from the grocery store. Our paparazzi lives inside our minds in the form of the perceived opinions of our followers. And they are even harder to escape.
I still find myself looking for postable moments throughout the day. In fact, nearly all of the events of my day can be put into two categories. The first category is all of the things that would make me look good on social media. Of course, not all of these can be accomplishments. Showing some flaws make me appear authentic. But they can’t be too embarrassing. The second category is filled with things I would be ashamed of any of my followers ever finding out about. Instead of social media being a glimpse into normal life, social media had become a lifestyle.

The Root of the Problem

I am finding that social media is not the root of the problem, and it’s not a new problem. One-upping, approval-seeking, self-promoting pride predates the internet by thousands of years. The problems with social media and its cousins (blogging, vlogging, podcasting etc.) are simply new growths from an ancient stump.
A pipe wrench can be used for constructive purposes, or it can become a weapon like in the game of Clue. Similarly, social media (and the internet in general) can be used for both good and bad things. We must make a point to use it for the right purposes with the right motives.  I have personally been blessed by many online ministries, which can aid spiritual growth if kept in balance. 

Finding Rest

Surrender

While I was recovering, I read the book Hinds Feet and High Places by Hannah Hurnard. It’s a wonderful allegory of Christian growth. At the end of the story, the main character is called to make a great sacrifice. From her viewpoint, this sacrifice would mean that her long arduous journey would be in vain. But she sacrifices anyway because she loves and trusts the Shepherd.
Like most stories, everything turns out well in the end, but that scene got me thinking. Was there anything in my life that I needed to surrender? Several days later I was listening to a sermon, and the topic of sacrifice and self-denial came up once again. The speaker challenged us to find the areas in our lives where we had let another master rule. I didn’t have to search far.
My addiction to people’s approval was not limited to my online life. It was invading my closer relationships as well. I realized that when I lived my life with the goal of getting other people’s approval, I struggled to serve God. It’s impossible to walk towards opposite goals at the same time. This conflict only adds to the weight of life’s burdens. I am unable to cope with life’s burdens when I am not surrendered to God. And I was never meant to. God’s Word is full of verses calling us to surrender and give our anxieties to Him. One of my favorites is Matthew 11:28-29:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Prioritize

In my effort to keep my priorities straight, my blogging and posting on social media will be a bit more sporadic for the time being. I still plan to start my series on goal setting. In fact, this post is almost a prequel to those posts. But I would like to slow down so that I can actually process and savor the things I am learning instead of trying to publish them as soon as possible. I hope you will stay with me and challenge yourself to become the homemaker God wants you to be!

Finding relief from social media burnout.

 Although I won’t be quitting social media at this point, I wanted to leave you with this Ted Talk (Quit Social Media) mentioned by one of my readers.

I watched it and was definitely challenged. The presentation counters many of the common objections to quitting and illustrates how people can be more productive without social media in their lives.



Follow and Share