Managing Anxiety and Social Media: What I Do To Stay Sane
photo by Ashley Cardoza, an internet turned real life friend

Gather ’round friends, today we’re talking about the real deal stuff that’s been churning on my mind lately. 

I’ve been very open about my journey with anxiety and recently shared some thoughts on how much negativity I come across as someone who spends quite a bit of time on social media. 
After a chat with another mom friend involved heavily in social media, I sat down to think about the changes I need to make in order to keep the noise of my favorite networks at bay. 
Let me be clear in that I do love the community I’ve built on my social media channels and that my role as a blogger wouldn’t exist without them – but with that said, it can be a hot combo of emotions to mix all of the chatter on social media with an anxiety fueled brain such as mine. 

Slowly but surely, I’ve been putting small measures into practice and am honestly seeing a huge difference in how I feel, think and react to all things social.

As I think about it, I cannot believe I haven’t been more thoughtful about all of this sooner. I tend to be hyper sensitive to what I watch on TV, what movies I see and what books I read, but for some reason, I’ve never set boundaries with social media. 
But times they are a changin’. 
Here’s what I’ve been up to and what I’ve got in the works: 

1. Scrap The Facebook App

Ugh, Facebook.
 What a hotbed of opinions. 
I took the time a few months ago to slash the drama and deleted the Facebook app from my phone entirely. I of course still access it on my desktop for work purposes but I don’t spend unintentional time during the day scrolling through all of that crazy. 
Without a doubt, deleting the misinformation/bickering/opinions and such from my right beneath my fingertips has made a huge impact on my overall vibe – if nothing else on this list speaks to you, I strongly encourage you to try deleting Facebook for 72 hours and see how you feel!

2. Streamline That Facebook Chatter

Did you know you can silence groups on your Facebook news feed?
 I get added to a ton of groups daily and while I leave most, some I stay in for networking and business purposes (or family/friend support). 
My news feed was filled with constant commentary from people I hardly knew and much of it was negative, a subtle humble brag or two, and/or controversial. 
So I turned them off. 
I went through and removed myself from a handful of groups and then  “silenced” the comments on every group I remained in. 
The silence feature means that I only see group updates when I manually visit the group page or if someone tags me directly in a comment or post.
 Downplaying just that small section of my news feed has allowed more updates from friends and family to shine through and lessened the mental impact of each scroll.

3. So Long Instagram, Hello Pinterest

Instagram is challenging these days – I miss the old days of chronological order, pre-set free feeds and the chance to post whatever I want, whenever I want. 
But that’s the way of my chosen world so instead of stressing over it, I’m spending more of my mindless scrolling time on Pinterest. Before I go to bed at night, I love the chance to mindlessly scroll on my phone, listening to the silence of sleeping babies and soaking in a face mask. 
Pinterest has become my chosen platform because it leaves me feeling inspired and motivated. 
I mean, how can anyone have negative feelings about the best recipe for cookie butter brownies or finding the perfect shade of grey interior paint!? Thats the stuff social media dreams are made of. 

4. Be The Positive

I did this for the first time this week and it’s going to be my new thing. 
From now on, when I feel bombarded by negativity on social media, I’m going to be the one putting positivity out there. 
And let me be clear here: that is not typically how I operate. I’m a realist, sarcastic and generally skeptical but I can’t just let all of the commentary get to me. 
The only way I know to take control is to counteract all of the bad noise with good noise. On days that are particularly aggressive in my online world, I’ll be talking about the good stuff I know and see, thanks to social media. 

5. Book It

I’ve started downloading both audio books and traditional books on my phone so that I have them available at all times – if I’m killing time in carpool or trying to drown out the sounds of my kids fighting, I’ll pick up my book on my phone (currently re-reading the White Princess) or put in my ear buds (currently listening to Crazy Rich Asians via Audible). 
While I’m not soaking in Shakespeare, I’m also not soaking in anyone else’s bad vibrations, so I’m calling that a win. 

6. Talk It Out

And finally, a tip I learned from my friend Hitha (a friendship formed on Instagram!), when I’m stuck in that anxiety thought circle, I open my notes app on my phone and voice dictate whatever I’m thinking. 
Getting that damn spiral out of my brain and downloaded onto something else typically helps me feel better immediately – and most of the time, I never go back and read what I was thinking about, instead I just delete the note a few days later.
 I also try to get work done this way when I don’t have much free time (or free hands) and dictate notes to myself about blog post ideas, to-do lists and reminders so that I can free up a little brain space for all of the good stuff. Because there is good stuff out there, friends, I know it. 

Leave your best tips and practices for minimizing the social media anxiety in the comments so we can all give them a go!