My thoughts On Social Media & How I (Should) Spend My Time

social-media-addiction-how-we-spend-time-livvylandArtwork by Kimberlee.

File this post under: my love/hate relationship with social media. (…aaand the saga continues!)

A few weeks back during a trip to Japan with my husband, I had a major realization: I spend a LOT of time on my phone. Our trip was 14 days total and in the first 12 days, Blake read four books. While he was exercising his brain, learning and enveloped in stories, I was glued to social media, learning zip (except for what top so-and-so was wearing, or where so-and-so was vacationing…very important, life altering facts, right?) and in reality, feeling pockets of doubt every time my thumb hit the screen because social media has a special way of messing with our psyche.

Blake doesn’t have Instagram, he rarely gets on Facebook and is a quiet lurker at times on Twitter (mostly for news updates…or when Kanye tweets). He has no social media on his phone. In stark contrast, Instagram uses up 40% of my phone battery on the regular. That’s on a good day. Hi, my name is Olivia and I’m addicted to Instagram.

By the time we hit day 12 of our trip, I decided it was time for me to close out my apps and open up the book I’d bought for the trip. In the final two days, I went cold turkey with social media and actually finished said book – start to finish. Y’all. ONE BOOK. TWO DAYS. MIND BLOWN. And you know what? My self doubt came to a halt on those two blissful days – I didn’t feel the guilt or shame that comes with wasting time on social media (this is very real for me) and best of all, I felt proud and accomplished for completing something that added value and joy to my life.

Since returning home, I’ve made a conscious effort to get on the ‘gram less in my free time, and instead pick up a book (or two! Yes it’s a miracle, I am reading two books at the same time…!) and also carve out more time to write. Did you know that I love to write? I’d like to think it was once the foundation of my blog – and hopefully by being more cognizant of how I spend my precious minutes, I’ll get back to those roots.

What I’m saying is this – we spend SO MUCH TIME on social media when we could be doing things that make us feel good and enrich our lives. I really do think social media has become this crazy addictive thing in our society… (insert a giant arrow pointing directly at me in this scenario!). Our phones have become our security blankets – an extension of our right hands, and checking social media throughout the day has become a subconscious activity. So much so, that sometimes I’ll be chatting on the phone with someone and I’ll get the urge to minimize the call and check Instagram. It’s completely unnecessary, and also quite scary to think that this is a compulsive action. I am still engaged in the conversation and yet the urge is so strong that I cannot wait five minutes for the call to end. Without even thinking, my fingers are going through the motions to get that social media fix. Though it’s embarrassing to come to terms with how ridiculous that sounds, being aware is the first step to initiating a change in habits.

I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been challenging to distance myself from my phone when 1. social media is addictive and 2. when it’s also my job to maintain a presence on Instagram (…and Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter…but who’s counting?). At the same time, it affects me the same way it affects my friends. We get down on ourselves when we see someone else gallivanting in paradise or someone else’s perfectly decorated living room – because, well, we want to be gallivanting in paradise and we want to be having coffee on that beautiful sofa with an immaculately styled bookshelf in the backdrop. The sad thing is, I KNOW those photos are staged and that coffee was probably brewed as a prop (and probably cold by the time the Instagram shoot wrapped up). Or that the girl laughing on the beach with buttery smooth skin probably made her husband take 100 different shots of the exact same thing and then she edited her skin to be silky smooth (I have never met a woman without cellulite, no matter how small she is!)… but even knowing how the strange world of social media works, I still feel those pangs of self doubt, envy and negativity – and it leaves me feeling worn down and icky.

In the same vein (and for lack of a better transition after my rant in the previous paragraph…), I love what I do for a job and am forever grateful to have this space, but there’s a way to have both social media and “me time” that consists of leaving my phone in another room – insert “balance.” (See? My word for 2018 is still coming into play!). I can get on Instagram and enjoy it for what it is: a platform to connect with my readers, a source of inspiration and a creative outlet. But then I can also get off within a reasonable timeframe (ideally before my confidence dips and questions about what I’m doing with my life start to pop into my head haha) and pick up a book, go for a run or open a word doc and spend time doing something else I really love, that can also provide personal growth. (…Sorry, Facebook, but I just don’t think you can give the same sense of fulfillment!).

Even though it’s only been a couple of weeks since we returned home and I’ve started to build out these new habits, I am already feeling a world of difference. I know it’s not rocket science to get off social media and do something more stimulating or rewarding with my time (riveting!), but I figured if I’m feeling these woes and found some sort of positive solution (or, at the very least, am much more aware of myself), then perhaps my story may resonate with someone else.

And with that, I ask you: what’s something you love to do that doesn’t involve social media?

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! 😉 XO


11 Comments

  • Jaqui says:

    Putting down my phone and doing stuff I truly enjoy (or just need to get done) is one of my main goals this year! I was finding myself scrolling through instagram and pinterest constantly and just felt so “blah” at the end of the day because I wasn’t doing stuff that was productive or made me happy! One of my favorite quotes that I’ve seen about this is “do more things that make you forget to check your phone” and it helps so much! I’ve started crafting more and gardening, and reading and my days feel so much better.

    Jaqui / http://www.blissfuljaqui.com

    • livvy says:

      Ah, that is SUCH a perfect quote and SO true! Also – love that word choice, “productive” – definitely agree with that one. Gardening and crafting sound wonderful and really rewarding, thank you so much for sharing!

  • Madeline says:

    This was a great post. I actually was just talking with a friend today well walking the dogs about this. If I didn’t have a blog, I wouldn’t be on social media at all because I feel it takes up to much of my time and I get nothing out of it. I was trying to come up with some things I could fill my time with instead, like reading before bed instead of scrolling through Instagram or setting a workout routine in place.

  • Meg says:

    I am a stay at home mom (and part time blogger) and this blog post just hit home with me. Sometimes I can’t believe how much time I spend checking in with what other people are doing instead of enjoying the simple pleasures of my own life with my sweet baby. I don’t want to MISS what’s happening in front of my eyes (and so quickly) because I was keen to see other’s lives through a screen. YIKES. I needed this post today. Thank you.

  • Talia Garcia says:

    Yes to all!! Dealing with the same thing and finally spent a few weeks not really posting or scrolling…just allowing my mind to breathe. I too, am reading two books at moment after just finishing (finally) my last fave read. I am a painter, reader, writer, beach lover, nature lover, etc, etc …and getting off my social media reminds me to embrace the things I love and not go down a destructive spiral of comparison on IG. Thx!!! Love your feed and style btw.

  • Ailsa says:

    Wow! You are an amazing writer who has captured a whole lot of my sentiments. I also have physical symptoms that have become quite debilitating. I noticed i too have that itch to rush a conversation to check my insta. Thank you for being so vulnerable and open about your feelings. I’ve followed you for a long time, and you have solidified my follow ( if that makes any sense) in this social media frenzy.
    Love ya

  • MQ says:

    I liked the realness here. You weren’t afraid to talk about downside of social media, even as you are aware that you need to keep and maintain a certain image and social media presence. You weren’t afraid to discuss your own insecurities even if you know that people (like myself) look up to you for creative inspiration in a lot of aspects and tend to also have pangs of envy from time to time. And for that I thank you. I’m also trying to retract some habits that are not the best for my mind and body and although a quarter of the year has passed before all this realization took place, I had to give credit to myself for even trying. And isn’t that what truly matters at the end of the day? Thanks for an eye-opening and real post.

  • Devin Willow says:

    I’m totally in the same boat. I catch myself subconsciously checking Instagram 30, 40 times a day. Now I start to ask myself “why am I looking at this right now?”
    Like you I use it as a source of inspiration (I’m looking to start my own blog), but more than anything it makes me feel like I’m way behind in the game, I’m not living life to my fullest, and my feed is garbage compared to those I follow. It’s time to shift focus and read, draw, go back to school! 🙂

    PS – Hi we went to high school together but never spoke! I love your blog!

  • Sarah says:

    I’m a teacher and work with 6-7 year old’s alllllll day long. My job can be draining. I also have a five year old who I devote all my attention to when I’m home. However, the moment he goes to bed I’m in my room, alone, scrolling through Instagram. What I used to justify as 15 minutes of me time (which is TOTALLY okay) to unwind, has moved upwards to an hour or more! I also find myself shopping more and spending money that I really want to save. The last few months instead of getting on Instagram after my son goes to bed, I’m working out. I’m feeling better about myself and I have more time with my husband in the evenings. I think Instagram is inspiring and connects you to so many amazing people. But, there is an addictive quality to it and it can influence you to do things you might not normally need to do (shop, etc.).

    • livvy says:

      YES to all of this! SO true… it starts off as a quick “…I’ll just check in for a few minutes” and turns into a whole lot of wasted time. Nice to hear I am not alone in feeling this way. Also – thanks for all you do as a teacher! …seriously, y’all are SUPERheroes! xoxo

  • Morgan says:

    Omg yes! I deleted Instagram off my phone 2 weeks ago and I’ve worked out every day, started a business idea, cooked all my meals, kept the house clean, read a book, journaled every morning, painted, and feel closer to myself than ever. Now I’m addicted to be being off social media!

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