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Does Social Media Ever Burn You Out?

Written by: Ellyn Schinke, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Ellyn Schinke

Whether you just use social media, well, socially or you’re constantly being told by the marketing gurus of the world that you need to be on social media for your business… I would venture to guess that most of us do not have a healthy relationship with social media. And that’s where I was at the start of this year. Which is why, earlier this year, I decided to take a break from Instagram.

Person using smart phone

I could say that I was doing it for mental health and well-being. I could say that I was doing it because I wanted to experiment and see how my life was impacted by social media, but, honestly? None of that would really be true…

The decision to leave Instagram was not an easy one. After all, it is one of the most popular social media platforms out there, I’ve made so many tremendous connections and new friends on social media—Instagram in particular—and, well, I’m an online business owner. Instagram is one of the primary platforms that I feel like social media marketers tout as a place you “must be” and where you “must show up consistently.” However, my frustration with the platform had been building for a while. So, what were my reasons for leaving?

One, I wasn't feeling like Instagram was working for my business. For the 6 months prior, I’d been experimenting with YouTube and for those 6 months, I had more success bringing people from my YouTube channel into my business than I ever had from Instagram. But it was more than that.

The long and short of it was that all the focus on metrics, likes, comments, and growth was making me lose the joy in using Instagram. For so long, Instagram had been my happy place in my business. It was the platform I most enjoyed using. And, well, I just wasn’t enjoying using it anymore. So, I said “Bye, for now!” And deleted the app from my phone…

At first, I didn't plan on being gone from Instagram for so long. It was kind of an accident, if I’m being honest. I just stopped using the app and didn't really miss it. I found that I had more time to focus on other things, like creating new content for my business, really diving into my personal and professional development, diving into my hobbies, and spending time with my family. If I’m really being honest, I feel like I used the extra time to actual build my business in real ways, more than I ever did or had by scrolling through my feed or swiping through stories.

However, after a while, I started to feel disconnected from the connections I had built with friends and peers on Instagram. Like I said, a big way I used Instagram in the past was connecting with people, building relationships, so on and so forth. And I felt disconnected. When my friends would share reels and memes, I couldn’t see them or at least couldn’t fully experience them because, well, I didn’t have Instagram on my phone. When a friend of mine, who I primarily communicated with through Instagram had a baby, I missed it. Peripheral friends I had introduced her too were more in touch with what was going on in her life than I was and that didn’t feel good.

It made me realize that Instagram’s role in my life was not just a platform for business, but also a way to connect with people and build relationships. So, seemingly on a whim and after 5.5 months away, I decided to come back, but with a much healthier approach.

I didn’t set any boundaries around it. I didn’t decide when I was and wasn’t going to use it. I think my intention just changed. I would focus on sharing my life, behind the scenes, etc. with my followers, focusing on building relationships and focus WAY less on all the offering and launching and building I had focused on before. I would use Instagram to BE SOCIAL…and somehow that felt so much better.

So, what changed about my use of Instagram?

The benefits of being away from Instagram for 5.5 months have been numerous. I have a much healthier relationship with the app, and I'm not automatically using it to numb my boredom or kill time. I used to, like so many of us, grab my phone ASAP in the morning—as much as I tried not to—and started scrolling. Anytime I was killing time in line at a grocery store or something, I was scrolling and swiping. But, after 5.5 months away, that wasn’t my impulse anymore, and that’s something I’m happy to say has continued.

I also think I just overall use the app with vastly less expectation. And that’s a good thing.

A friend of mine asked when I returned to Instagram if I felt overwhelmed being back on the app and, to this day, my answer is still “no”. And I think these shifts really have to do with that. It’s not overwhelming because how much I’m on Instagram has considerably decreased. It’s not overwhelming because I’m consciously not overwhelming myself with the app.

I think part of the reason why we get overwhelmed with social media is because we don’t know the limits of our content consumption. I’m sure you’ve heard before that we get more information thrown at us in a day then they used to get in a lifetime 100 years ago—I’m paraphrasing this statistic but it’s something like that. in the same way a computer has limitations on it’s memory and it’s RAM, our brains—despite how powerful they are—have similar limitations. And when we push against those limitations, overwhelm sets in. And social media is a big reason for this feeling and this pushing of our informational capacity.

But I digress…

If you're struggling with burnout, it's important to remember that social media can be a major contributor to stress and anxiety. Social media platforms are designed to be addictive, and it's easy to get caught up in the endless scroll of content. This can lead to feelings of overwhelm and burnout, as we try to keep up with the constant stream of information and notifications.

Taking a break from social media can be a powerful way to combat burnout. By disconnecting from the constant stream of information and notifications, we can give our minds a much-needed break and create space for self-care and relaxation. This can help us to feel more balanced and centered, and it can also help to improve our mental health and well-being.

Of course, taking a break from social media is not the only solution to burnout. There are many other self-care practices that can be helpful, such as meditation, exercise, spending time in nature, and connecting with loved ones. The key is to find what works best for you and to make self-care a priority in your life.

As a burnout coach, I often recommend experimenting with different self-care practices to find what works best for each individual. It's important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to burnout, and it may take some trial and error to find what works best for you.

If you're feeling burnt out or overwhelmed, I encourage you to take a step back and evaluate your current self-care practices and your current social media practices. Are there any areas where you could make improvements or try something new?

Remember, self-care is not selfish – it's essential for maintaining your health and well-being.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Ellyn Schinke Brainz Magazine

Ellyn Schinke, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ellyn Schinke is a former scientist turned top coach and international speaker specializing in burnout and stress management. After burning out while pursuing her Ph.D., Ellyn was sick of all the cookie-cutter, BS burnout tips online and sought out the real, tangible tactics that would actually make a difference in her life. As a result, burnout when from being her lifestyle to her passion. Now, she's focused on helping corporate professionals and businesses free themselves from burnout and take back their lives. Ellyn is the founder and CEO of Coach Ellyn LLC, one of the top burnout coaches on Google, host of the Burned Out to Badass podcast, and more. Her mission: Make burnout a choice.



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