Therapy Can Work

Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA

Licensed Psychotherapist & Psychoanalyst
Union Square, Greenwich Village, New York, NY

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Therapy Can Work

Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA

Licensed Psychotherapist & Psychoanalyst
Union Square, Greenwich Village, New York, NY

Social Media Fatigue: Are You Tired of Posting and Liking and Scrolling and Clicking and Posting….

Social Media Fatigue
Are You Tired of Posting and Liking and Scrolling and Clicking and Posting….??

If you are, you’re not alone. Yet, like many people, you feel compelled to keep doing it. Checking your phone multiple times per day (per hour?) for the latest “important” post, news about your BFF’s cousin’s ex’s new girlfriend. It’s so important to know that, or is it?

In researching this post I came across study after study citing statistics that will blow your mind. 80% of people in the world are on social media every single day; 20% of people on social media of one kind or another cannot go more than three hours without checking in; 100 million posts are uploaded every day, accompanied by more than 2 billion Likes; the average user receives 285 pieces of content that include 443 minutes of video, and 54,000 words; 30% of regular users’ sleep is disrupted; 51% of Americans check their Facebook accounts many many times per day; addiction to social media leads to poor decision making; attention spans have become reduced to 8 seconds while online, and more stats that you may find hard to believe, but come from reliable sources.

Are you one of these people? Is it stressing you out? Do you spend more time on your phone than you do with real people? Do you secretly (or not so secretly) “adjust” a photo to make it look more amazing to others and garner more Likes? Do you feel jealous when you see posts from other people that are better (you think) than yours? Do you feel irritable or anxious when you can’t check your phone? Or worse, have you become one of those incredibly obnoxious people who have to check their phone “just for a second” in a performance where doing so distracts not only those around you but those on stage? Most importantly, are you beginning to build your self-worth around how many Likes you got that day?

This is serious, and you won’t be surprised to read that it is not good for your mental health. Social media fatigue is a real and serious condition. It creates anxiety, a feeling of being overwhelmed because you’re not keeping up, FOMO (fear of missing out), or boredom. Things that used to excite you no longer do. What happens is the short-term reward stimulates brain pathways in exactly the same way as in drug users – you get hooked and withdrawal is painful.

When it comes to social media, there are times when I just turn off the world…
There are just some times you have to give yourself space to be quiet,
which means you’ve got to set those phones down.

~Michelle Obama

Ask yourself the following questions and be honest about your answers. Do you really enjoy this? Is it truly rewarding? Is it fun? Is your work suffering or could it be better if you’d spent the time on it you were on your phone checking the latest most important Tweet? Do you feel something is lacking in your life that you can’t quite put your finger on? At dinner with friends do you ever interrupt the conversation because of that ping you just have to check? Do you lie about how much time you spend online? Do you get anxious when you can’t check your phone? Most importantly, is this the person you really want to be? Someone who can point to how many Likes you got as evidence of your worth as a person? Is it starting to feel like work to keep that up?

If you’re reading this post, I can guess the answers. But here’s what: YOLO. You only live once, and this moment is the youngest you’ll ever be. Time flies and will fly faster than you can possibly imagine the older you get.

So if you find yourself rolling your eyes at yet another adorable baby picture that you absolutely have to Like or risk offending the poster; if you’re getting bored and really would rather turn off your phone but just can’t; if you feel the need to appear perfect online (btw, there is no such thing); if you compare yourself to others via what you think is an authentic presentation of them online and despair at the result; if you long for some quiet time but just can’t bring yourself to take it, then you are a victim of Social Media Fatigue.

So what can you do about it? I’m not suggesting you proudly announce to the world that you’re deleting all your social media accounts (most people who do that reactivate their accounts within a week). Instead, find ways to reduce the stress, anxiety and dread of constant posting and checking and posting and checking and liking and posting and checking… I suggest some of the following.

It takes discipline not to let social media steal your time.

~Alexis Ohanian
(Founder of Reddit)

Don’t post out of habit. Post only when you have something worthwhile to show the world. The world will not come to an end if you didn’t post a single word or Like anything at all today. Be real. Don’t create a false self. Be who you really are and want to be. Stop following people who feel the need to document every moment of their day. (Here’s me eating at an amazing new pizza place…) Understand that your self-worth is not determined by how many Likes you get, or shouldn’t be. And recognize that maybe, just maybe, there is something that you don’t actually want the whole world to know – you want to keep it private. And that’s ok. Really.

Turn off (as in power down) your phone at night and leave it in another room when you go to bed. It should not be the first thing you look at when you get up in the morning. Try to track how much time you’re spending on social media, playing a game, or “just looking something up.” Be honest about it. You will surprise yourself. There are even apps that can do this for you. Also track whether you spend more time with real people than you do on your phone. If you don’t like the answer, do something about it. You’ll get more laughs (REAL laughs) being with good friends in person than seeing a forwarded joke from them online.

Going even more retro, can you imagine sending a handwritten card or note to someone? On paper that you put in an envelope, stamp and mail even when it’s not someone’s birthday? I’m willing to bet the recipient will be pleased. Try reading a book made out of paper. Ok, I get it, when you travel, a Kindle may be more efficient, but seriously, how many books are you really going to read on your two-week vacation or three-day business trip?

Do you really enjoy this? Scrolling, clicking, swiping, Liking, scrolling scrolling scrolling to the point where you realize you’re not even paying attention to what you’re seeing? Recognizing that a lot of what you see is fake, posted by someone desperate for attention? Who has time for this?! If you want to feel more mature and grow up, you’ll have to get over it. So last, but surely not least, try something radical: delete (permanently) ONE of your accounts. Then see if you really truly miss it, or if you might even feel relief not having to spend precious time monitoring what’s on it. Life’s just too short.

Twitter and Tumblr and Vine and Instagram and Facebook and Myspace,
all these things are social media tools that we were all told we had to have,
and what we’re realizing is that, no you don’t!  No you don’t.

~Alec Baldwin


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