04/13/2015 04:10 pm ET Updated Jun 13, 2015

How I Changed My Toxic Relationship With Social Media

Alarm goes off. Check Facebook.
Feel alone.
Sitting at stoplight. Check Facebook.
Feel pissed off.
Break between clients. Check Facebook.
Feel sad.
Pee break. Check Facebook.
Feel left out.
Commercial break. Check Facebook.
Feel not good enough.
Finish getting ready for bed. Check Facebook.
Feel empty.


There are always many articles and opinions flying around about the monster that social media can be, all relevant and important. But like everything else in our lives, we each need to find our own balance, and this includes balance with social media and technology. I also think we must learn to disconnect some from our technology, every day and engage with our loved ones, in person! Better yet, disconnect and just sit with ourselves doing something quietly. However, I also think that in some ways the negative light being shined on social media is unfair, and is a light that we actually need to shine on ourselves.

I think my addiction to Facebook portrayed above is pretty classic and what many of our days can look like. This was a couple of years ago. I never walked away from Facebook feeling good, connected, positive or happier.

However, I was also in a pretty crappy place myself. Angry, sad, bitter and feeling very alone about our failed IVF journey and just starting my journey of accepting a "childfull" life. So, of course, my Facebook wall left me feeling all of the above; alone, pissed off, sad, left out, not good enough and empty.

But if I am honest with myself, this was also a lot of my own doing.

I was addicted. Instant gratification of checking my wall left me satisfied for a split second, and the completion of the behavior left me feeling awful but still wanting more.

I was sad and mad; just at the beginning of my journey to choose to get better. So of course, I was never going to leave Facebook feeling any better.

First things first, I detoxed. I started by only allowing myself to check four times a day, in the morning, at lunch, evening and before bed. No more stoplight checks or in between sessions. Then the next week down to three times a day. Then finally down to two times a day, lunch and evening. No more first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Those moments need to be spent being grateful and centered.

Then, I cleaned it up. I made sure to like pages that post the things that were going to improve my life; laughter, thought provoking articles, inspiration, beauty and positivity. And if you didn't use it in these ways, then you didn't make the cut. If I wasn't quite ready to de-friend someone (even if just for voyeuristic curious reasons), I hid them. Finally, I changed how I engage with social media myself, always being cognizant of what I was putting on my wall and posting on others; maintaining that balance of putting good things out into this world but with wholehearted vulnerability.

These changes meant it wasn't long before social media changed for me, no longer the enemy but something that actually enhances my life for the better. Which I think was probably what it was meant to do in the first place. I would like to believe that social media was conceived to make people think, laugh, grow, engage and connect! I have connected and reconnected with so many people, from both past and present, through social media. And these are not superficial connections, but ones where we actually write each other regularly or even meet up for lunch if we live in the same city. We are engaged in each other lives, building friendship, connection and love.

When I am taking care of myself and practicing happy, I use social media to enhance and not compare. I like to hear about the changes in your lives. I love to see your children and pets grow up and do funny things. I enjoy reading the diverse articles everyone posts. I relish the beautiful pictures and quotes.

With all this sparkle and rainbows, I will admit my checking has strengthened some, checking Facebook more often than my detoxed two times a day. However, it is not through addiction but rather a mindful choice. And, better yet I always make sure to spend significant time each day disconnected from all technology.

So bottom line, you won't find your happy on your social media walls. You will only find your happiness from choosing it and practicing it every day, and of course, within yourself.


Eat breakfast. Check Facebook.
I think.
Between sessions. Check Facebook.
I laugh.
Between commercials. Check Facebook.
I grow.
Before night time routine. Check Facebook.
I engage and connect.

How do you use social media to enhance rather than hurt? How do you make sure to find the balance?


To read more about how Justine chose recovery pick up your copy of Ever Upward today at your favorite book retailer.