Without outing myself by sharing my screen time, I’ll be the first one to admit that I spend too much time on Instagram and TikTok.
“But I have to spend time on social media because it’s my job! It’s part of running my business!” This is just one of many excuses I tell myself about the amount of time I spend on my phone.
Jokes aside, I do spend a lot of time on social media because it’s a core part of my business, and I genuinely love creating content and connecting with my “Instagram friends.”
But often, I feel like social media takes up too much of my day. I find it addicting and distracting. And if I let it, it can kill my creativity, leaving me stuck in a comparison trap.
Can you relate? 😬
I’ve worked in social media for 8+ years and am currently a full-time influencer … I couldn’t do those things without having boundaries that serve to protect my health, my time, and my sleep schedule!
Keep scrolling to learn how setting social media boundaries can help you maintain healthy habits, protect your privacy and well-being, and prevent social media from interfering with your daily life.
Before we dive into eight boundaries with social media that I live (and post) by, I have to make a disclaimer: These are my personal boundaries.
They don’t have to make sense to everyone, they just have to make sense to me! My boundaries continue to grow and evolve as I grow and evolve as a person.
Table of Contents
Social Media Boundaries To Protect Your Mental Health
While there are so many amazing benefits of social media (especially for us entrepreneurs), it’s important to be aware of the downsides to social media so we can be intentional about how we use it.
Detox Your Feed
When was the last time you took a critical look at your feed? Are you following anyone that annoys you or makes you feel bad about yourself? What about those creators that trigger FOMO or comparison? Are you hate-following anyone?? If so, it’s time to unfollow.
The most important boundary you can set with social media is to take ownership of your feed. Remember that YOU are in control of the content you see. Focus on positive, uplifting content and limit your exposure to negative or triggering content that doesn’t serve you.
If something doesn’t contribute to my feed (and my life in general) in a positive way, I mute, block, or unfollow!
If you can’t unfollow an account (maybe it’s someone you know personally), the “mute” feature is a great way to get some space without the person knowing.
Consume With Intention
I try reallllly hard not to just scroll for scrolling’s sake. Sure, there are certain times when I just want to veg out and consume a bunch of content. I believe that as long as it’s not harming you, there’s nothing wrong with scrolling!
But for the most part, when I’m on social media, I try to stick to posting and engaging with my audience or looking for inspiration and industry news.
For example, if I spend 2+ hours on Instagram just mindlessly scrolling, I tend to get down on myself for wasting so much time. But if I spend 2 hours getting ideas for future content or engaging with my audience, I’m benefiting my account and business.
Set An In-App Timer
I don’t even want to talk about my screen time – it’s not good. In an effort to be mindful of how much time I’m spending on the apps, specifically Instagram, I set timers that alert me when I’ve reached my determined time limit.
You can set app limits through your iPhone or in Instagram settings under “time spent.” I set mine for an hour each day and do my best to log off as soon as I get the timer notification.
Even if I press the “ignore time limit” button, I am able to gauge how much time I’ve spent on the app.
If you find yourself spending too much time on other apps (hello, TikTok), there’s an awesome app called Moment that keeps track of your phone use. It’s awesome because you don’t have to open the app for it to do its job, it provides useful data to improve your phone-use awareness, and it’s free!
Turn Off Push Notifications
A couple of years ago, I turned off ALL of my push notifications and it was liberating.
I found that every time I got a notification about a new comment or DM, I would open the app and get sucked in, wasting who knows how much time.
Without push notifications, I have better control over how much time I’m spending on social media.
If turning off all your push notifications seems a little intimidating, start with just one app. For me, it started with Instagram. When I realized how freeing it was to not have to sift through hundreds of notifications, I disabled push notifications on all my apps!
Give Yourself Permission To Unplug
If I’m not feeling my best mentally, I give myself permission to stay off the app. My longest break from Instagram was about 9 months and it truly changed my whole perspective and approach to social media.
But you don’t have to disappear for the better part of a year, sometimes all you need is a screen-free Sunday!
As a content creator, taking breaks can be challenging because it’s my job. But at the end of the day, I know I can not serve my audience if I don’t serve myself first.
Ultimately, taking frequent breaks reminds me that there is so much more to life than posting on social media and keeping up with other people’s lives. Sure, I miss it when I take long breaks but when I eventually log back on, I find that I didn’t miss consuming content that much.
Shift Your Mindset When It Comes To Comparison
Related to my last point, I try really hard to shift my mindset when it comes to comparison. It’s not that influencer’s fault that I feel bad about myself after I look at her account. It’s not that awesome brand’s fault that I get jealous every time I scroll through their feed with hundreds of thousands of followers. IT’S MINE! It’s my mindset!
Lately, I’ve been working on being mindful and cultivating an abundance mindset. Just because other people have what I want doesn’t mean there’s no room for me. I truly believe that there is space for everyone, and comparison won’t help you get there.
Block The Haters
This is your permission to block the haters.
Hate comment or DM? Block.
Stealing your content? Block.
Copying your content? Block.
I myself am open to civil dialogue but the second my comment section turns to harassment, I delete and block. I am a very sensitive person and as much as I’d like to say that the online hate doesn’t get to me, it does.
I have blocked hundreds of accounts for one reason or another and I do so to protect my peace. I want my social media channels to be a safe and welcoming space for my audience. If someone is bringing negative energy into my space, they get the boot! 👋🏼
Not Everything Needs To Be Shared
This wouldn’t be a talk about boundaries if I didn’t remind you that not everything needs to be shared.
In my time as a content creator, I’ve learned that whatever I share on social media will be judged by the harshest critics. To protect the most precious parts of my life, I don’t share what I don’t want to be judged by strangers.
I don’t share what I don’t want to be critiqued on.
This looks different for everyone, but I choose not to share personal details about my marriage, friends and family, my nutrition and eating habits, religious beliefs, etc.
When it comes to sharing outdoor spaces, there’s a lot of talk about geotagging.
Q&A About Social Media Boundaries
What are social media boundaries?
Social media boundaries look different for everyone, depending on mental health, consumption habits, and the reason behind using social media.
Social media boundaries refer to the limits individuals set for themselves regarding their social media use and behavior. In other words, it’s about better understanding yourself, when and how to disconnect from social media, and recognizing what is and isn’t appropriate to share online.
What boundaries should I set for social media?
Here are examples of social media boundaries:
- Set time limits: Set a specific amount of time per day or week to spend on social media to prevent it from taking over your life. I personally have a 1.5 hour limit on Instagram and TikTok.
- Protect your privacy: Understanding the privacy settings of each social media platform and limiting the amount of personal information you share online. For example, I don’t share photos of the front of my house or neighborhood.
- Share consciously: Share appropriate and respectful content that you feel good about being associated with your business and brand. Avoiding oversharing personal details about your life or sharing content that could be considered controversial/offensive.
- Edit your response time: Establish expectations for how quickly you will respond to messages and notifications on social media.
- Be mindful of your mental health: Recognize when social media is causing negative mental health effects, such as anxiety or depression, and take breaks when necessary.
What is the importance of boundaries in social media?
Setting boundaries with social media protects your mental health and gives you more time to do the important things in life, like hanging out with friends, spending time outside, and running a business.
Final Thoughts On Boundaries With Social Media
I love social media and believe it is essential to building a business in today’s digital world. While it has many benefits, it’s been proven to seriously affect mental health.
At the end of the day, the boundaries I shared in this article serve to protect your peace and mental health, in turn protecting your business and brand.
It’s important to remember that social media should be FUN and feel like a safe and exciting place to spend your time. If it doesn’t currently feel like that, try out some of these boundaries, and let me know if it helps!