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.



9 thoughts on “Finding Relief From Social Media Burnout”

  • It is definitely important to remember that people control how social media shows their lives. We tend to post the good or the aggressive. It is just a little peak, not a realistic view of our everyday lives – for most anyway.
    Thanks for sharing. I could definitely use some time away from my social media. I try to remind myself to get away from it for breaks daily.

  • I’ve found the same with social media -the need to do better, be better, be more than the next person. I have a few groups where I actively participate (as a group leader) and I’ve managed to be moderately inactive on the rest of my personal Facebook page. It’s been a tremendous relief to just focus on the groups – where people want to learn and grow – and not be caught up in the “must be more” mentality.
    On a different note, life with a toddler is very draining! Adequate rest is a must! Praying for time for rest and refreshment with the Lord in this season!

    • Thanks for your prayers! Motherhood has definitely been one of the hardest things I have ever done. Facebook Groups can definitely be a great ministry tool! I read a bit of your blog. We definitely need more Titus 2 women helping younger woman to love our husbands and trust God despite tough circumstances.

  • Great points on a subject that needs to be dealt with often… it is so easy to get off track a “little” and as the “little” grows, we don’t notice and then soon we are burdened down w/ so many cares God didn’t intend for us to carry.

    • Yes! Besides the burdens of my sin nature, I have also found myself taking on other people’s burdens unnecessarily. Social Media can be a place to shine a light and minister to others. But it’s so easy to get wrapped up in other people’s problems and burdens on social media and then we ignore the people in our real life that God has called us to minister to.

  • I was never on social media until I opened my blog a year ago. I still am not on much, but I do know that it can wear me down. I have a love / hate relationship with it. Just watched an interesting Ted Talk by Dr. Cal Newport titled Quit Social Media. I know social media is not wrong or bad, but like you said we need self-control and not be ruled by it.

    • I looked up that TED talk and watched it. I am adding the link to this post. I agree that there are many people using social media that would be better off without it. Self-control is definitely key. The Blog is my primary reason for being on social media, but it is definitely easy to get distracted.

  • I relate to all of what you said in your post. In fact, if I could figure out how to successfully run my blog without ever setting foot on social media-I’d do it in a heartbeat. I know there is much that is good about social media-in fact, I know that I’ve been able to help and encourage many. In the same way, I’ve been helped and encouraged many times over. The problem, for me, is that I gravitate towards it when I don’t have anything else to do. I really want to be able to just sit still and maybe just listen to what God has to say, but I am unable to do that for some reason. Anyway, I say all that to say that I am learning to use it less to pass time and only for blogging related tasks or something business related. It’s not perfect, but at least I’ve taken steps towards it.

    • Being a blogger does make social media seem more inescapable. Right now I am not able to have a mailing list so I feel like Facebook and Instagram are the best places to connect with my readers. But it can be exhausting to constantly interact with so many followers, some of whom may not even be a good fit for my blog. That tension is one of the reasons that I have decided to slow down the blog as well. I want to refocus and make sure I am staying true to my original purpose and not just catering to what is popular with my followings.
      I also am guilty it as a time filler. When nursing Em as a newborn, I jokingly called my phone “Mama’s Pacifier”. Lately, I have been coloring in my adult coloring book to help me when I am figity. I write scripture on the backs of the coloring pages so that I can have reminders of God’s truth nearby.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow and Share