When Facebook Starts to Depress You

by Laura



                               

social media

Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook news feed and wondered why you felt kind of down?

Maybe you got on to quickly check in with a friend or to post a note and picture about what you’re up to. But, you find yourself scrolling…a quick “like” here…a brief comment there…and you notice something has changed.

Your thinking has changed from That’s a great picture of my friends, to That looks fun. I wish I could do that.

What beautiful scenery! turns to I’ll never get to go there.

I’m glad she finally got to visit there. becomes Must be nice!

You get the picture. (no pun intended)

Social media has its place. Keeping up with friends and family and sharing pictures can be great. It’s fun to see what others are doing, right?

But sometimes, social media can be too much. In fact, maybe it should come with a warning label:

Warning: social media in excess can cause envy and jealously. The potential exists to change your good mood to a sour disposition, which can then be projected on others. Use with caution.

We think we can handle it, don’t we?

Until we can’t.

Here are a few tips I’ve been practicing…

1) Give yourself permission to reduce (or eliminate) your social media time. You are not required to keep up with others in how much you interact online. If someone questions your lack of presence, simply explain you’ve decided to spend less time there. If they don’t like it, who cares?

2) Pay attention to what you’re thinking and how you feel. If you feel a shift in your mood, log out of wherever you are. Better yet, log out before your mood changes. It takes practice and discipline, but it is worth it. Remember, you have a choice in social media—no one is making you scroll through Facebook to the point of depression.

3) Find something else to do. You may feel like something is missing, and it is because that’s how you are used to spending your time. Depending on how bad the addiction is—and yes, social media can be an addiction—there will be a period of withdrawal. Remind yourself that you are not required to check in with others via e-mail or social media around the clock. If you have notifications pushed to your phone, turn them off. Make the choice to check statuses on your own time—not everyone else’s.

It gets easier. Really, it does.

And you may realize two things in the long run…you don’t miss it as much as you thought you would…and your friends and family are a lot more interesting over longer intervals of time.

What has been your experience with social media—do you find yourself needing to scale back?

Email Author    |    Website About Laura

A daughter of the King, saved by His grace, Laura writes to encourage women in their walk with Christ. She is a wife and mother, and shares her heart as a regular contributor here, as well as Next Level Mama and Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. You can find Laura at Laura Rath - Journey in Faith, as well as on Twitter @LauraJRath and Facebook.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbie July 19, 2014 at 11:07 am

Such a great post! I have found myself feeling down and depressed after spending time on social media. I fall into comparison and that is not a good thing. I love the suggestions you made for helping to keep it all in a healthy balance.

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2 Laura Rath July 19, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Thanks Barbie. That’s exactly what we need in this online world – balance.

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3 Chris July 19, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Laura. Thank you for the reminder on how the social media traps the mind, suffers the heart and smashes the soul IF WE LET IT. You have a way with words. Must be a gift. Blessing ~ Chris

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4 Laura Rath July 27, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Chris, thank you for your kind words. :) God bless!

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5 Dawn Paoletta ( July 20, 2014 at 10:40 am

Hi Laura, I think this is a wonderfully timely and sensitive post on the topic. I definitely struggle to find the balance.

These are great tips.

I also am writing this month on SM. Maybe the Holy Spirit is speaking to us all and hoping to touch each of us with the messages we share- including ourselves!

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6 Pam Manners July 20, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Laura,

As my sweet friend, Dawn Paoletta, stated in her comment, I, too, struggle to find the balance on social media. Facebook, for me, can often be like a crash on the Interstate or a train wreck: you want to look away — but you find you can’t.

This post of yours spoke to me LOUD AND CLEAR! I can choose to dive in and drown myself in an ocean of depression and envy via social media sites (with Facebook being the top contender) or….I can stay on dry land. Power down, close the laptop lid and go for a walk. Read a book. Watch a movie. Bake some cookies. Communicate with living, breathing people, like my family.

Beautifully written. Thanks Laura!

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7 Laura Rath July 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm

“Communicate with the living…” Isn’t it weird how we can be so tuned in to what’s on the screen and so tuned out of what’s going on in the room around us? I’ve realized how important it is to give my loved ones my full attention while I can. Pam, thanks for your comment!

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8 Kathy July 20, 2014 at 7:40 pm

This is such a good post about finding that balance. I am not on Facebook but I know so many people that are and often in conversation they express frustration that they spend too much time and are trying to cut down. Even with not being on Facebook, it is still so easy for me to spend too much time on the internet, ugh! I am definitely in favor of powering down and going for that walk!

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9 Laura Rath July 27, 2014 at 7:05 pm

I agree, Kathy. I’ve been guilty of getting lost online surfing the web, but not really doing anything. It’s frustrating, and yet hard to stop. Realizing the problem can be the first step to finding that balance.

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10 Susan Stilwell July 23, 2014 at 7:58 am

I’m behind on posts but had to comment on this one. Good stuff here, Laura! I feel the same way, even though I just got back from my own adventure. It’s embarrassing, so I appreciate the practical steps to keep jealousy and envy at bay.
God bless you :)

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11 Laura Rath July 27, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Thanks Susan. God bless!

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12 Lisha Epperson July 27, 2014 at 8:22 am

I’ve been thinking about this a lot Laura. When anything starts to feel funny I log out. I close the computer. I take a break. Social media is wonderful for connecting but you’re so right – we have to be careful.

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13 Laura Rath July 27, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Glad to see you here Lisha! Sometimes I get on social media, and I realize I don’t even feel like scrolling. It was just habit to get on…so, I get off quick before I end up losing time there.

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