I don’t know about you, but my head has felt on the verge of exploding lately. Like many millennials, I’m on social media and enjoy the interaction. But scrolling through Facebook makes me feel restless, and often frustrated with the world (especially lately). I know I’m not the only one who feels like that, because many acquaintances have recently decided to delete various accounts.
But don’t freak out! I’m not suggesting we all up and leave social media and form a compound where we can create a perfect world. In fact, I think we should keep our social media accounts. Here’s why.
We’re called to be artisans of culture.
Now I can’t for the life of me remember who said that. I think it was JPII, but can’t find a reference. Anyway, how are we supposed to promote the good parts of our culture and challenge the bad parts if we run away from it? We have to be in the world, just not of the world. Unless your vocation is to join a cloistered religious community, chances are we’re going to have to continue dealing with whatever the world throws at us. So we might as well be smart and informed about it.
BUT, being informed doesn’t mean we have to know everything about everything.
We’re plugged into news 24/7. It’s easy to get sucked into that and scroll through Facebook or Instagram until 1am (*AHEM* ask me how I know). I think we have to remember that’s not a requirement. We can put our phones down. And it’s okay to not know every single pop culture reference. Trying to stay up on everything is just too much. Has there ever been a time before this when people knew about every single world event within minutes? No! It’s a recent development with the internet.
Trying to stay on top of every single thing makes me feel insane. So here are a few specific things I find helpful to maintaining sanity:
1. Create a morning routine where checking your notifications isn’t first.
Have you noticed how much this sets the tone for your day? I find that if I ignore my phone before work and make intentional time to pray in the morning, life is just better. If you struggle with this too, you could try using an old fashioned alarm clock instead of your phone so that it’s not the first thing you reach for. Or you could disable wifi and data until later in the day.
2. Pick and choose who you follow and what you click when you’re digesting your newsfeeds.
I sorted my Facebook friends into three lists: family, school friends, and then other people I care about seeing things from. Instead of just scrolling my newsfeed, I click on the friend list and only see things from that group of people. This means I don’t see updates from a lot of my “friends”. When I’m being smart and actually follow my own rule here, I don’t see updates from pages on Facebook either. I don’t really care about many pages I liked in the past, so it’s a win for my sanity.
On Instagram, I don’t automatically follow people who follow me. I’m following a little over 100 people right now, and have been needing to narrow that down.
One feature that helps with this is the “save” option on Facebook. When I see something interesting during the day, I usually save it for later instead of clicking and reading it then. When I have time to look at it later, it often isn’t interesting enough to read. Win for my sanity! Be ruthless about what you choose to click. If there are people or pages that ruin your sanity, just unfollow them. #SorryNotSorry
3. When something makes you mad on social media, stop and think before you respond.
Did your distant relative just post something stupid about Trump? How about vaccines and global warming and religion and politics and all the other things that make people mad. It’s okay to not engage, especially when we know the person isn’t interested in actual dialogue. Will this conversation bring both of you to a deeper understanding of each other or the issue? Think before you type. And I’m telling myself that too (LOL so much). I’ve participated in my share of Facebook debates and know how they can go…
4. Find things offline that refresh you and bring you joy.
I enjoy cooking and reading and have been loving local trails for hiking. I met some new friends at a brunch recently, and have been learning calligraphy. So fun! Things like this always refresh me and restore my hope in the world. Find what does that for you.
5. Whatever you do right before bed, make sure it’s offline.
. . . to which we all cackle, because who doesn’t check their phone before trying to sleep. Guilty as charged. But I have to say: putting away my phone, laptop, and tv for a while before bed makes me feel so much more refreshed than scrolling till my eyes droop. Try journaling, praying, reading, or something creative.
Our culture has some major problems, but I don’t think the solution is to run away. Please stay on social media to the degree that you can keep you sanity! The world needs your reasonable voice to challenge it. And we need to protect our sanity so we can be those reasonable voices. Let’s transform our culture together.
[But first, coffee. We gotta stay sane, right? 😉 ]
How do you keep your peace in the age of social media? Have any tips or tricks?