Sadie Lincoln's Advice For Helping Women Have A Better Relationship With Social Media Is Priceless
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There's no doubt about it: We're addicted to technology. Many of us are spending too much time with our smartphones: In 2017, the average American spent 2 hours and 51 minutes on their phones every day. And while time spent with technology and social media may suck precious hours out of our day and lead to negative self-esteem issues, there's no getting around the fact that smartphones and tech are here to stay.
So how can people create healthy boundaries around social media? This is an issue I've struggled with myself. Last summer, I had a big aha moment while on a hike with my family. While walking in the woods, I started taking Instagram-worthy pictures of my kids. I then pulled my attention away from my family and the beautiful surroundings to look at the pictures. I didn't like the lighting, so I made them stop and recreate the moment several times until I liked it. I then proceeded to post it right there on the trail with the imagined justification that showing the world I was on a hike was "healthy" and helpful. The truth is, this behavior was really unhealthy. I took precious time away from my kids and nature to obsess over the image and a clever hashtag.
We are all human, and we are all learning how to navigate this new world of social media together. Here are a few tips that I find incredibly helpful. The first is to recognize why social media is good and then create a practice to leverage the good and ditch the bad. I think social media is incredible because it has given each of us a voice, and it's great that the power to effect social justice and make a positive change in this world is right in the palm of our hands.
While this is exciting in some ways, the biggest negative of social media, for me, is that it pulls my energy away from things that matter most to me like being in nature with my family. If this sounds familiar to you, I have a game-changing practice to share with you.
Follow these steps:
- Take pictures, but refrain from looking at them until later that day or even 24 hours later, when you are alone and can focus. Pretend your phone has film, and you need to get it developed to see the pictures.
- When looking at your pictures, ask yourself, "Is this a moment to share or protect?"
- If it's a moment to share, ask yourself, "Why do I want to share this?" And then remind yourself of your power on social media with this statement: "My voice matters. The message I send will affect others."
- If this is a moment to protect, reflect on this choice as well. Validate this important boundary and give yourself a pat on the back for choosing to keep an important moment just for you.
Let's talk about women and social media.
Social media can be particularly difficult for women, especially because there's so much pressure on women to look a certain way and get enough "likes." So here's my challenge for you: What if we tracked how many words of gratitude, affirmations, and support each of us gave one another instead of tracking how many people liked us?
When you find yourself checking likes (we all do this!), crowd out this behavior by initiating gratitude to someone else on social media. Do more than double click for a heart. Write them a note publicly, and again, really consider how powerful your words are. Many will be affected by these acts of authentically liking other people.
How to manage your time when social media seems to demand so much of it.
When I find myself without enough time or spending way too much of it on social media, I step back and take a moment to identify what matters most. Finishing this sentence is a really helpful way to home in on what I need to prioritize in my life. "When I am my most authentic self, I always value __________." I have a core values exercise I lead that helps you answer this question. It's one of my favorite lessons. Most of my team have gone through it.
The second step is putting these core values to work in an intentional way every day. My top three core values are gratitude, family, and nature, and I have monthly plans that I follow to make sure that how I show up in life supports these values. Lastly, I remind myself that progress is way more important than perfection. I signed up for a full life with tons of curveballs that pull me from these priorities often. I am human, and I try to crowd out the feeling of shame with acceptance and resilience.
Want more advice from Sadie? Get the details on her upcoming retreat in April, and read up on how slowing down led her to a fitter, more productive life.