When I think of the relationship that so many of us have with social media, the word that comes to mind is dependency. Even though social media has allowed us to connect with people all over the world and stay in touch with loved ones who may not be near us, social media has also disconnected us from ourselves. At times, we depend on it to take us away from the reality of our own thoughts.
Trust me; I get it. Why would you want to spend time alone with just your thoughts when a funny video is just a few finger movements away? The level of distraction that social media offers can almost transport you into a new reality. It offers a temporary escape from any situation, no matter where you are located.
Boundaries Can be Self-Care
I’m not here to say that a mental break from life is a bad thing. I’m actually saying the opposite. Self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself so that you can remain whole as you walk through what each day brings. It’s just that sometimes, self-care looks like setting boundaries with our time on social media.
Here are a few practical ways to set boundaries around time on social media:
Set a Timer
I know this one seems like the most obvious answer. But setting physical limitations for yourself is one of the best ways to begin to break away from excessive time spent on our phones. You can set a daily limit on any app within your phone’s settings and even check to see how long you spend on each app per day. This might look like you seeing that you spend 40 minutes on Instagram each day on average, so you set your timer to 20 minutes per day instead. Even cutting your time in half is a great step in the right direction.
Find a New Outlet
Another way to set a boundary with social media is to find something else you like to do and just simply do that instead! Maybe you start going on 20 minute walks every day in place of the 20 minutes you would usually spend on the couch scrolling through Facebook. Or maybe you can read for 20 minutes, or even spend that time in prayer! This will look different for everyone. But, doing an activity (big or small) that you love in place of spending that time on social media is another easy way to remove yourself from a screen.
Talk to Someone
This one is my personal favorite and the one I try to do most often. When I catch myself scrolling for a bit too long, I call someone who has been on my mind lately. Whether it’s a friend or a family member, you can simply change your comment or like into a phone call!
But you can take this one even further. Instead of talking to a loved one, you could talk to your heavenly Father. You could just put the phone down altogether and spend some time in prayer. I find this especially helpful (and usually the most challenging) when I begin to play the game of comparison that so often comes with time spent on social media. We can take those thoughts of jealousy, self-loathing, and bitterness towards ourselves and our circumstances to God. Even though this one might be the hardest one of all, I promise you it can become the most rewarding.
What Will Your Boundaries Look Like?
These are just a few examples of what boundaries with social media could look like. Everyone’s relationship with social media looks different. So, it’s likely that the boundaries we set with them will look different too.
Instead of getting jealous of the vacation you see someone posting about on your timeline, take some time to enjoy your own community and the beauty within it! And the next time you begin to compare yourself to someone else, invite the Lord to speak the truth into those negative thoughts. Whatever it looks like for you, setting boundaries can begin to not only allow us to use our time more productively, but we can also begin to heal the relationships we have with ourselves and invite God into that process!
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