When is enough, enough? Social media breaks, mental health, and pressures.

I’ve been wanting to do this discussion post since late March when I took a week off social media. I know a week isn’t a long time, however, it gave me a lot to think about. Furthermore, thinking more and more about it even after the break.

The past few months I find myself wanting to disconnect from social media. Being a self-published writer/poet who’s audience is via internet means it’s pretty hard to not stay connected. Especially if you want to keep growing/do well. There’s this ongoing pressure of always needing to stay on top, needing to know how to constantly win over the Instagram algorithm, figuring out how to use the hashtags, what time and day to post, feeling like I have to always prove something, cross-posting on all social media platforms, always showing that “I’m doing something”, on and on and on and it’s gotten exhausting. Do I ever look up from my phone at this point in my life?

Have we started measuring our success through likes? Are we constantly comparing ourselves to other people’s followings and likes? There are days when I feel like the answers to those questions are yes. And comparing isn’t always a bad thing because we can draw inspiration from others. However, when do we stop and say “hey it’s okay” “I’m okay with what I got” “take a break”?

I have found myself to not really care about social media anymore and like I said on twitter a few weeks ago, I’m probably self-sabotaging my writing career, however I’m not enjoying my life because I’m always on my phone. And I would much rather experience my real life than live it through other people’s accounts “wishing” that was me.

The algorithm olympics are tiring and I am no longer running in it. My mental health has also taken a toll. Because I was always on that thought pattern of needing to post daily and be on the move (online), I was ignoring my mental health and not taking care of myself as I should’ve. There came a point during this week off break when I sat and was thinking of all I was doing and got overwhelmed with so much sadness because it was during the time off that I noticed how time consuming it is. It was as if I have been robbed from time. And guess what? Time can’t ever be given back. I got so much done throughout that week and I really got to spend time with myself with no interruptions. I enjoyed that time.

This is not to say that social media is bad.  That’s not what I’m saying at all. Because of social media, I have met some of my closest friends and have gotten to connect with people all over the world. I understand that people (such as myself) have built a platform online and therefore we feel the responsibility to let you all know when we need a break. And I’m totally fine with that (I hate worrying people). What I’m trying to say is that there should be balance and not feel guilty at all when we want to shut off from the online world. There shouldn’t be any bad feelings when wanting and/or needing to unplug.

Lastly, I’m also frustrated with how much we have to do in order to be seen. For example, if I want to get a publishing deal, I have to meet a certain criteria. That criteria means how much traffic I’m getting on all my platforms (numbers on followers, likes, comments, etc.). On top of that, I have to work so much harder because I’m marginalized. I am a Latina from the Bronx, I don’t write pretty shit, I have a language barrier therefore I’m not eloquent, I don’t have the following to even get glanced at, etc. etc. So yeah it’s pretty frustrating when people don’t even look at your content, they look at your numbers first and if those numbers aren’t up to their standards, then forget the work. And also, seeing people with bigger followings just blatantly steal work/copy from smaller influencers is disheartening. I’ve seen this happen way too many times to my friends and I.

Thanks to therapy, I’ve learned to let go because there came a point where I was letting the frustration of social media consume me. I tried it all: posting daily, getting in chats so we can like our content immediately, always commenting, always sharing, etc. etc. Slowly I pulled back and asked myself when is enough, enough?

16 thoughts on “When is enough, enough? Social media breaks, mental health, and pressures.

  1. I enjoyed reading this because a couple weekends ago I had a same thought that social media is exhausting. I was trying to keep up to date on things I was doing and trying to post constantly throughout the day and I, for the life of me, couldn’t seem to figure out how people do it! After working all day I have no energy to want to try and post anything, and then when the weekend rolls around I want to spend time doing things, not checking Instagram or Twitter, but if you don’t you feel like you’re excluded from some grand club.
    I find it interesting how Instagram is running this pilot test on not showing your likes to others, only you can view who’s liked your posts. I find that interesting; I don’t know if it’s going to help or improve how people use the site as the whole point is for the likes. Sure everyone posts what they’re doing… but it’s only so people can like it. Will people still use the site if they can’t display how many people have liked it? So many questions, but all that to say I enjoyed your post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • thank you so much!!! and i’m very interested in how that new instagram pilot test too. i feel like it’s a psychological experiment lol and we’re the subjects. it’s going to be very interesting. but i definitely understand when it comes to posting all the time and weekends off. it’s a lot of work. and i don’t understand how people do it either. i also have a full time job so my time is very limited. thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i always love reading your thoughts ms. chicnerd. you may not consider yourself “eloquent” but you are so god damn insightful and poignant. i’ve finally gotten myself back in therapy and a social media hiatus was the first thing on the agenda. i’m glad that i’m not alone this self-imposed guilt; it’s comforting to know that the people i look up to also struggle with my day-to-day griefs. much love to you. 🖤

    Liked by 1 person

    • i am so freaking ecstatic that you got yourself into therapy and are taking care of yourself!!!!! that’s so great! and thank you so much for your beautiful words. i think we as people need to speak up more. it’s always rewarding when we don’t feel so alone with our feelings

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This really hits home for me. I recently came back to Twitter after taking a long break. As a blogger, but also as a writer, it’s nearly impossible not to constantly compare myself with how everyone else is creating. No matter what, I always feel like I should be doing more…but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up. And like you said, I’d rather be actually living my life than constantly glued to my phone to see what everyone else is allegedly up to. I’m not sure what the solution is either. I want a book deal some day, so I know that having an online presence is important, or at least it will be. But it’s honestly so exhausting even just trying to find the right balance of involved but not…consumed. Here’s hoping things get a little easier for both of us going forward. Thank you for sharing this – it’s so nice to know I’m not the only one who struggles with social media. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMFG YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!! you worded that so perfectly and summed up all my feelings too!!!! like how do we do well without getting dried out? i feel this so much. and yes! i hope things get easier as well and that we can figure this out. thanks for commenting and stoping by xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great, thought-provoking read Gretchen. I know what you mean about the social media pressures. I am still figuring out Twitter and Instagram. I never know the right time/day to post plus I suck at photography so I’m failing at that lol. At the same time, I still feel like I am enslaved by my phone. Sometimes, I feel guilty about the time I spend lurking on social media streets and mindlessly, looking at others living their real/imaginary online lives.

    I think taking a break/slowing down is so important even for our own peace of mind. We shouldn’t have to worry about our online absence/not so well known presence taking a hit on our work though and the chances that we get in life that sucks. Hugs to you and best of luck, one day Gretchen from the Bronx will be That poet, recognized for what you have to offer the world and not some numbers online.

    Ps: You are super eloquent. This might not mean much coming from an African chic who still thinks in her native language when writing English lol but for real, you write so beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • THANK YOU SO MUCH DIANA!!!!!

      I so agree with you that taking a break and slowing down is important for our peace of mind. Sometimes I feel like we’re so consumed by the internet that we forget to enjoy the little things that are right before our eyes.

      And yes it means so much to me coming from you! My first language is Spanish and sometimes I also have to find the translation of certain words because I just think about them in my native tongue as well lol.

      You are a wonderful person, Diana. Sending you so much hugs!

      Like

  5. Such a relatable post Gretchen! I feel the same way with social media…. I just cant keep up with it all and it is so overwhelming. While I am active on Facebook in my personal life, I am not active on any social media from my blog. Between my personal life, working, kids, reading, blogging, and being active in the blogging community, I just don’t have the time to dedicate to social media. When I first started my blog, I tried to do it all, but I was miserable. Like you said, at some point you have to ask yourself is it worth it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so much work, Amanda!!! I’m glad you found something that works for you though. If we let this social media thing really get to us, many of us would driving each other up the wall. It’s a lot to handle when many of us have more responsibilities in real life. I definitely get it!

      Like

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