social slowdown

A podcast to help you decrease your reliance on social media & find new ways to market your business sustainably. Get new leads & clients … without needing to be constantly attached to your phone.

Ep. 19: How Social Media & Internet Addiction Impact Your Mental Health as a Business Owner

You’ve probably heard of the many studies about the impact of social media on youth and cyberbullying – but there’s not much talk about how social media usage impacts our mental health, as entrepreneurs and business owners.

When we rely on social media for our businesses and our livelihood, we can see some negative impacts on our own health. And over the past 8 years of running my business, I’ve seen some of those impacts myself. So how can we change the way we use social media so as to NOT completely take over our lives? How can we continue to use social media for our businesses, without feeling like we’re attached to our phones 24/7?

In this episode, I’ll be sharing some tips on how to decrease your dependency on social media not just for your business, but for your mental health. 

Read the full transcript

Meg Casebolt 0:01
You’re listening to social slowdown a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro-businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. Social media is a double-edged sword. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But it also can feel like an addictive obligation. And it’s even more complex for businesses, your audience might be right there, but you’ve got to fight with algorithms to maybe be seen by them. So whether you want to abandon social media altogether, or you just want to take a month off, it’s possible to have a thriving business without being dependent on social media. This podcast is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lip-sync, send cold DMS, run ads, or be available 24/7. Let’s get started.

Hello, Hello friends,

you’re listening to the social slowdown podcast where we’re helping you to diversify your marketing in order to not be as dependent on social media. And one of the key elements that I want to discuss in this podcast that was one of the reasons I even wanted to create this podcast is because I’ve seen some changes in my own mental health as I’ve become more and less addicted to social media over my eight years of business. And I wanted to talk about how social media usage can impact the mental health of us as entrepreneurs and business owners. You know, there’s a lot of research out there about how social media impacts youth and teenagers and cyber bullying. But there’s not really a whole lot out there about how this impacts people who are using social media for literally our livelihood. You know, we are trying to use social media to get new followers to get new clients to get people to buy from us, this is our business. So it’s hard for a regular person for the Average Joe or Jane to shut down their social media usage. But for those of us that are using this to grow our businesses, it’s even harder. So I’m going to be interviewing some therapists and social workers over the next few episodes to really talk through how we can approach this in a way that is sustainable. And that isn’t necessarily as damaging to our mental health, I’m going to be having some case study conversations with entrepreneurs who have been able to change their usage of social media in order to prevent themselves from falling into some of the dangers of this particular addictive channel. But I wanted to take a couple minutes today and just talk about the studies that have been shown. So that way, you have an idea going into the next couple episodes, kind of what we’re talking about here, why this is important for us as business owners. So the first thing is that social media and internet use can literally be classified as being addictive. Starting back in 1996, the American Psychological Associations starting having conversations at their annual meetings about whether or not there needs to be a new clinical disorder. Sometimes people will call it Internet Addiction Disorder, or there are a lot of different use terms that they’re throwing around. But there have been a lot of conversations around whether or not social media is addictive. And the conversations are happening based on criteria that’s been modified about pathological gambling, because a lot of the ways that our brains light up when we’re on social media are very similar to people who have gambling addictions. There have been a criteria that have been discussed in order to figure out whether people would have a diagnosis a diagnosis of internet addiction, and here are the five diagnostic criteria that has been recommended for this. Again, this is not technically a psychological diagnosis. But these are conversations happening through the American Psychological Association. These are the five recommended diagnostic criteria. One, somebody is preoccupied with the internet, they think about previous online activity or they think about what they’re going to do next to the need to use the internet to increase satisfaction. Three, they’ve made unsuccessful efforts to control cut back or stop their internet usage, for they become restless, moody or irritable when attempting to slow down their internet usage. And five they stayed online longer than originally intended. Now, if we were to just take a look at those criteria, I think that all of us who are running businesses would fall into this, like how can you not think about how you’re going to use the internet when it is literally where you work? It’s so hard to tie our businesses into the internet and be able to use it to get clients without necessarily falling into these trappings. There’s another criteria that’s optional. That is that people use the internet as a way of escaping from their problems or relieving a bad mood. So if you’re feeling hopeless or guilty or anxious or depressed, and you go to the internet to play a game or to, you know, watch something on tick tock, then that could also be a sign of internet addiction that you’re using this as a way to escape. This isn’t new. There was a study in 2012 from the NIH that showed that Internet Addiction Disorder rates, if it were a diagnostic would probably be somewhere between two and 8%. And this has increased in the past 10 years. Now they’re saying that between five to 10% of Americans would meet this criteria for social media addiction. And that is a stat from addiction center.com. These are people who are really thinking about the ways that we’re using these tools to modify our mood that we could go into withdrawal that this could cause interpersonal conflict with people in our lives like, this can be a serious problem. And even though I’m talking specifically about social media here, we’re also just addicted to our phones in general. According to a Psychology Today article in 2015 94% of people feel troubled if they don’t have their phones with them. 80% feel jealous when someone else holds your phone, and 70% feel depressed or panicked if your phone is lost or stolen. There’s even an NPR study that found that half a participants would rather have a broken bone than a broken phone. So why is this? It’s because those notifications and the feedback that we’re getting from our phones give us dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that our brains released when we feel good, and a lot of studies have shown that phone activity can cause the release of dopamine in our brains, which makes us feel motivated and happy. And those constant notifications keep bringing you back for more. And the ways that these tools manipulate us can be really problematic for our mental health. There’s a 2018 Lancet study that found that people who check Facebook late at night were more likely to feel depressed and unhappy. That study looked at 90,000 people and found that those who logged on to Facebook before bed were 6% likelier to have major depressive disorder and they rate their happiness 9% lower than those with better sleep hygiene did. There’s a study from the Journal of Social clinical psychology that shows that people who spend less time on social media have less symptoms of depression and loneliness. They looked at 140 UPenn students and one could use social media with no restrictions, and the other one had their social media access limited to just 30 minutes a day on social. And they found that it was a pretty substantial drop off in people who felt lonely by looking at social media. We also know that social media can increase your likelihood of anxiety. The term Doom scrolling has been coined to explain this, the fact that we go to social and we see things that aren’t going well in our society, we just keep scrolling, and it just keeps compounding upon itself and creates even more anxiety. And also there was a huge study that came out in September of 2021, about the congressional hearing that showed that Facebook knew that there are harmful mental health effects of Instagram on teenage girls, and that they didn’t do anything in order to prevent this. And so in the next few episodes, we’ll be talking about things that we as business owners can do to be less dependent on social media, and how specific entrepreneurs have made those changes. But here are just a couple tips that you can think about as you’re moving through your own relationship with social media and thinking about how you want it to feel. The first is to set a timer for when you go on social media, I like to actually set time aside for social media in my day. And that way, I don’t look at it outside of that time period, it doesn’t kind of nag at me in quite the same way that it used to. You can also install an app on your phone or computer that tracks how long you’ve spent on a social networking site.

If you’re anything like me, you’re going to get that pop up that says like, Hey, you spent your half an hour you’re gonna be like, Okay, fine, whatever, I still want to finish watching this video. Another step is to turn off notifications. I know we talked about this in our very first interview with Andrea Jones about how she turns off all of her notifications, she doesn’t have even email notifications on her phone because she finds it too triggering for her anxiety, and being being able to turn that off and recognize that the world will not end. Another thing to consider is that in real life in person, people talk about themselves about 30 to 40% of the time, but on social media, people talk about themselves more like 80% of the time. And so it causes this sort of inflation of the importance of yourself and people want to share everything about their lives. But that may not necessarily be the way that you would interact with them one on one, and recognize that what your day to day life looks like will not compare with someone else’s highlight reel. You still have responsibilities that you are not putting on social media. So don’t expect that other people are spending all their time doing all the beautiful things that they should on their social media without the same day to day tasks. And the last way to sort of rethink this is to plan real world activities that help you focus on what’s happening in your immediate surroundings. So maybe you want to watch a movie, read a book, go for a walk, play, play a game, have an actual phone call, or a real life coffee chat in a safe way, find some opportunities to walk away from your phone. For Christmas. This year, I got myself a Kindle. And that way I stopped reading so many of my books on my phone so that way, I could literally plug it in and walk away and go read a book, or find a way to watch a movie without having my phone in my hand, trying to break that addictive feeling to it was incredibly difficult. I still definitely find myself reaching for a phone all the time. But find some ways to decrease your dependence on social media not just for your business, but also for your own mental health. And make sure to subscribe to the podcast tune into the upcoming episodes where I’ll be talking with people who are doing this who are helping others with this, in order to get even more tips on how to improve your mental health by decreasing your dependence on social media both as a business owner and as a human being. Talk to you that thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social slowdown.com and sign up for our email list so you never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social slowdown comm slash review or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media Talk to you then.

Please forgive any typos as this transcript was automatically generated by otter.ai.

How Social Media & Internet Addiction Impact Your Mental Health as a Business Owner

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