As some of you already may know, I started the blog in June 2016, which also included starting @shannatyler_ as a fitness, yoga, and self-love Instagram account. Before I knew it, I began so many amazing relationships, partnerships, and ambassadorships just from being who I was. It blew my mind.
Throughout my two years on Instagram, I recently noticed I actually wasn’t having an unhealthy relationship with social media. Hour and hours of liking pictures. Days and days of scrolling pages. Weeks and weeks of analyzing hashtags. It started to make not present in my close relationships and less attentive to the people I love.
I’ve considered breaking up with Instagram countless times and deactivating my account to reclaim my life. Mostly because of self-imposed pressure and silly comparison. Until a month ago, I decided enough was enough.
As with any tool, I needed to use it the way that made sense for me. I have now developed a much healthier relationship with social media. To the point where we are at the honeymoon phase again. How? I’m happy you asked because I’m sharing how to develop a healthy relationship with social media below with tested and true tips.
Realize the role social media plays in your personal and professional business. We use social media for different reasons. Some of us use it for personal reasons, to keep our family updated and our friends entertained. Some of us use it for professional businesses, to keep our customers engaged and our products/services marketed. Some of us even use it for both. That said, social media plays a role.
When I first started my Instagram, it was mostly to connect with like-minded women in NYC. I didn’t know that it would be what it is today. Quite honestly, I wasn’t prepared! I had brands sending me products and reps asking me my social media rates. I was thrust into a role that I had no idea to play. That’s what led to the pressure.
Fast forward to today, I have become more firm about roles that I play on social media, which has minimized the pressure. I use social media as a way to connect with entrepreneurial women just like me and now prospective coaching clients too! For my professional business, I realized the role I wanted to play was not as a business woman with Instagram. It was taking out all the fun for me! So now I’ve gotten a manager who handles and negotiates all the inquiries I receive from brands and reps.
When you are analyzing your relationship with social media, it is important to come to an understanding what role it plays in your life. Just like a person, it makes it such a healthier relationship when we know what role it plays in our lives. It also is important to set boundaries in social media, just like in relationships.
Set boundaries on what you will share and keep private. We all know that social media can be a wonderful place to share our lives. We also know that some things we just don’t want to share and want to keep private. Part of our healthy relationship with social media is setting boundaries on what we share.
I’m very honest about my mental health struggle on my Instagram now, but it wasn’t always that way. I remember the decision process to share my major depression diagnosis in 2014. I remember the thought process that I went through. I remember the emotion breakthrough I experienced once I decided to share it. But I set boundaries then and still do now.
I only shared pieces of my depression that I felt ready to share with others on my Instagram posts and Instagram stories. When asked questions, I only shared what I ready to share with people. To this day, I set boundaries on what I share in my major depression diagnosis story and what occurred. That’s because I believe there are pieces of my life that I need to keep private. Social media doesn’t need to hear it all. And that’s what’s been healthy for me.
You have a choice on your social media. Just like any relationship, you decide what the hell you want to share and when (even if that’s never!). And that’s okay! It’s healthy and it feels good as hell. But I must say, I’ve shared the most I ever imagined because of the strength of growing a wonderful community.
Build a community and not a following on your account. Let’s be real, ya’ll. We look at the follower count. We look at the number of likes. We look at the number of comments. It’s there and we do notice it. It’s what we focus on building that’s important. Let’s focus on the community.
When I was at my unhealthiest with social media, I began to feel discouraged that I didn’t have a large “following”. I began to compare myself to all the other Instagrammers who grew faster than me. I began to consider deleting my Instagram because of this unhealthy relationship I cultivated with social media. Each follower I lost, I would lose it. Each follower I gained, I would celebrate it. Not until Self Soul Sport came.
Hosting the first SSS event in June 2017, I realized what I shared and what I cultivated was more than a following. It was a community. There were times I still backtracked and looked at how many followers I had, but then I would always come back to community. Today, I could give two shits about my follower count. I’m more concerned about the community. That’s not to say sometimes I don’t find myself looking at the followers I have, but I return back to community. The community is always stronger than the following.
You may be here and thinking about how you can grow your social media account. You may be here and thinking about how you want to consider buying followers. I urge you not to. I urge you to focus on what you can share and what you can build. Build friendships off social media. Build or join a community of people just like you. Self Soul Sport has been that community for me, and I’m thankful for them every single day.
Take a break from social media when you need it. Just like any relationship, we just straight up need a break sometimes. We are tired of looking that person’s face and hearing that person’s voice. There’s times we are going to feel that way about those Instagram squares.
I used to think social media breaks were not smart. I used to think I needed to be on social media all the time or I wouldn’t get that follower or have that brand to work with. I quickly began burnt out. I quickly began to resent opening my Instagram. I quickly began not wanting to answer any messages. That’s when I knew something needed to change.
Last year, I started implementing social media breaks. It saved my relationship with social media. I began taking a day off throughout the week or days at a time. I remember I took a full week once. I needed those breaks to acquaint myself with why I was on them to begin with. Then I would return thankful for social media and the community I built. It really helped me become more healthy in my mindset toward social media. I have my next social media break planned the night of June 1st and June 2nd for my birthday, and I’m soooo excited!
Do you need a break too? There’s nothing wrong with that! You’re literally in a relationship with social media. You’re connected to social media through your phone, your feed, your story, your bio, and all of it. If you need that break, do it!!
Have fun on social media, and don’t take it too seriously! I’m gonna keep this one short. Have fun!! Healthy relationships are built on fun too! We have creative freedom on our social media accounts. We can literally share whatever the hell we want. It doesn’t all have to be all serious crap, we can show our personality a little bit.
For instance, I love to mask with my favorite brands and record myself dancing in my room. it’s literally the most fun I have on Instagram. I love it! I look forward to sharing that part of myself and brightening people’s days with my antics. I’m loving the GIF option where I can be quirky and have a good time. It’s healthy!! I don’t just go on for business or for community, I go on for my damn self! To have a good time!
I’m asking you to have fun on Instagram this week! Add something fun or quirky. Maybe you can add a funny meme or record a funny video of yourself. It’s definitely helped me cultivate a healthier relationship with my social media.
What can you do to develop a healthier relationship with social media? Share below! This social media world can be so hard to do by ourselves that I know we can all use some honesty on what it can play in our lives.
Also, believe me this helped me too. I made note of what I needed to do for myself while I wrote this. For me to develop a healthier relationship, I can start incorporating more breaks again. One thing I’ve been doing that’s been awesome is keeping more parts of my life private that I don’t want and/or need to share (i.e. family, friends, events that I would like to be more present in). How about you?