THE BLOG
01/14/2014 02:55 pm ET Updated Mar 16, 2014

The Diagnosis: Social Media Overload

I realized last month just how burnt out and completely overstimulated I was when it came to social media. There were times I would pick up my phone -- out of sheer habit -- and pop on over to Facebook or Twitter, scrolling aimlessly to see what had happened since the last time I had checked in. (Which honestly, was probably only about 10 minutes prior.)

This caused me to stop and think: What has my life come to? Do I really need social media each and every day? What would happen if I disappeared from social media for awhile? Would I have withdrawals or anxiety if I took some time off, or would I find some sense of calm and peace?

And after having those thoughts, I realized just how addicted I had become to "being connected" in the online world. After much reflection, I decided it was time to make some changes in my life.

Do you think you too might be experiencing social media addiction?

My Social Media Overload Symptoms

I began writing down when I felt most agitated, upset, and/or hollow. After a few days, I had a well-crafted list of my social media overload symptoms.

  • Overstimulation: The information is constant. I couldn't process it all.
  • Loss of my own creativity: I had no idea any more if my ideas were my own, or someone else's I had read.
  • Decline in relationships: I seriously needed to reconnect with my husband and friends in person.
  • Lack of sleep: When the urge to check my phone at 2 a.m. to see if I had any updates, I realized I needed help!
  • Aches and pains: My wrists, thumbs, and neck and shoulders began to talk back to me.
  • Oblivious of time spent online: I'd get online to check "just one thing" and 30 minutes to an hour later, I had been sucked into the social media vortex!
  • Email overload: All the notifications from Twitter, Facebook, and other channels were taking me nearly one hour a day (or more) to sift through!

My Self-Prescribed Social Media Cure

After being completely transparent and honest with myself, which came from forcing pen to paper in my journal and making a list of my social media overload symptoms, it was very apparent that I needed to back off the online world.

  1. I began by turning off all social media notifications -- both the ones that would pop-up on my smart devices, as well as the numerous email notifications I received on a daily basis.
  2. Next, I implemented specific times of the day to check in and see what was happening online. I set a timer so that I would know when 15 minutes had passed.
  3. Finally, I took Sunday off from all social media. In fact, I took a vow of Sunday silence. This has been very refreshing! I now spend my Sundays doing lots of things I want to do, including moving forward in my current writing projects, cooking with my husband, and playing with my cat, Shakti.

Have you noticed symptoms of social media overload in your own life? How are you coping with all the information coming your way?