Over 3.80 billion people are using social media worldwide. And an average internet user spends 6 hours and 43 minutes online every day. That’s a lot of time spent sitting on your couch, scrolling through your timelines living other people’s lives—or judging them—instead of reflecting on your own life.
Social media can feel like a space fueled by anxiety. And when you stay online all the time, you lose your sense of reality—or worse, yourself—in social media’s fabricated world. Taking a social media break once in a while is your best form of self-care not just in moments of vulnerability, in the middle of a crisis, when anxieties are high, or when you’re at a transitioning stage in your life.
For many athletes at the end of their careers, retirement can feel like your best days are over. You stop pursuing new dreams and spend time—on social media— reminiscing about your past achievements. While this can be beneficial sometimes, sentimental even, you have to remember that the internet is a scary place and people can hurt you with what you see online.
If you’re feeling discouraged, or that your self-esteem is at its lowest and your retirement is a speed bump in your life, maybe it’s time to take a step back and take a social media hiatus.
Reasons Why A Social Media Break is Good For You
Your retirement can make you feel like the world is moving at a faster pace than yours because you have a lot of time in your hands. You keep up with other athletes and trends about your sport through social media, and you may feel like you’re missing out if you’re not constantly online.
Taking a social media break allows you to overcome your fear of missing out (FOMO) by helping you set boundaries that let you shut off virtual noise from other people. It helps you to stop comparing your life, career, and yourself to other people. When you stop comparing, your anxiety lessens, and you realize that what you have and what you are is enough.
Social media is not going anywhere, but the time to reach your goals is ticking. And it’s running out fast. Take your time off of social media to think about what your ideal life looks like and your plans to make it a reality. While it’s true that you should take your time in visualizing the future you want after your professional career ends, you shouldn’t necessarily spend it on social media. Remember that building your career took years, your journey towards your new goals is also going to time. Being offline gives you more free time to act on your plans and bring you closer to your goals.
For professional athletes, the goal is always to be on top of your game. And when it comes to an end, you will soon find yourself asking, “What else is there for me?”. The time after your retirement is a time for you to set new goals and act on them to turn them into reality. If you’re not careful in what you see on your social media, you begin to make their constructed reality your goal, and in the process, lose focus on your own goals.
As an athlete on your retirement, you should spend your time to grow and improve yourself instead of spending it pointlessly on social media. Taking a social media break allows you to refocus everything on yourself. Furthermore, with less time spent aimlessly scrolling through your timelines, you can become more productive while doing the things that help you achieve your new goals.
Social media connects you with people, but it can also make us feel isolated. For an athlete like yourself, whose spending their time in retirement, being online can trigger your human instinct to feel the need for in-person human connection. Taking a hiatus from your social media allows you to reconnect with real people around you. You also start realizing who your real friends are when you cut yourself away from the validation of people on social media.
When you detach yourself from social media, you learn to live in the moment. Instead of living your life through the lens, you can start directly interacting with your life. Doing this ensures more memorable experiences and a better quality of life.
Furthermore, by taking a step back, you stop obsessing over the past and recenter yourself in the real world. While it’s good to look back on all your achievements throughout your career, too much time spent reminiscing can keep you stuck in your past instead of moving on. By looking at your current reality, you make it easier to move forward with your new goals.
Remember that the end of your career presents you with multiple opportunities to explore. Don’t let social media cost you valuable experiences and don’t let it distract or hinder you from winning the game of your life.