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The negative effects of social media and how it’s making us sick

Let’s talk about social media burnout, yes it’s a thing. The negative effects of social media and more specifically how it’s making us sick.

It was World Mental Health Day yesterday and I don’t know about you but my social media was bombarded with stories of ‘influencer burnout’. Instagrammers with hundreds of thousands of followers, who seemed to be leading the perfect life admitted they suffered from social media fatigue and had to take a break from Instagram not just once but on numerous occasions. It got me thinking with all these Instagrammers speaking out it must be a bigger problem than I realized. It’s kinda scary right, we’re so obsessed with social media that it’s become an addiction.

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bobs cove, queenstown, hike, negative effects of social media
Bob’s Cove, Queenstown

The negative effects of social media and how it affects our daily lives

When did something that was supposed to be fun and inspirational turn into such a negative and competitive place. We have a good day and then we come home and look at social media and suddenly we have a different perspective “oh, it looks like they had a better day.” I don’t know if any studies have been done but I would imagine that anxiety and depression has increased as apps like Facebook and Instagram have increased in popularity. These apps are designed so that we have the urge to keep checking our phones. It’s mad really, how many times have you put on a movie or TV show you’ve been looking forward to only to spend most of it scrolling through useless content on your phone.

If most of the crap on Instagram is ‘samey’ and unoriginal then why do we aimlessly scroll through it hourly, not really feeling any emotions. We just do it out of habit.

arthurs point, queenstown, shotover river
Enjoying the views from Arthurs Point, Queenstown

Try to see the ‘full picture’ behind the pretty photo

All these stunning photos you see on Instagram you don’t see the full picture. Yes, the sunset in Santorini is incredible but what the photos don’t show is the thousands of other people crammed into its narrow streets,  all trying to get the same shot. When we were there, people were climbing on the roofs of churches and peoples’  homes trying to get the perfect picture. I wonder would people go to the same effort for a photo if Instagram wasn’t around. Sadly, probably not.

santorini sunset, greece
Paul enjoying the sunset in Santorini

Is it mainly women who are affected by the negative effects of social media?

Another thing, why is it mainly women who are negatively affected by social media? Is it in our wiring to be more fooled by the idyllic lifestyle many influencers portray than say our boyfriends or brothers. I honestly don’t know the answer, but what I do know is all the instagrammers claiming burnout are female.

Why do we compare ourselves to them? We think they have it all, that they’re making bucket-loads of money. Suddenly, our normal relatively happy lives seem lacking in comparison. When in reality only a teeny percentage are making the thousands we think and they usually have to work very hard and for a very long time to get to that point. I’m sure if they showed us the ‘real’ side of their lives,  the hours or even days spent setting up the perfect shot, the hours spent afterwards editing it. The long days involved in  press trip. I’m certain we’d suddenly feel happier with our normal lives.

cape reinga, new zealand beach, northland
The beautiful beach at Cape Reinga, New Zealand

When did social media stop being fun?

In the early days, I feel it was fun, less fake. People were real. They allowed us to see their normal lives. We felt on a par with them. But now it’s different, we place anyone with a couple thousand followers on a pedestal. Do you really need to be seen to be living an obscenely perfect life to be insta-famous?

moke lake, queenstown, new zealand, cycling
Cycling Moke Lake, Queenstown

Surely, your loved ones deserve more attention than your phone

Don’t get me wrong, social media can be a brilliant and inspiring tool if used correctly. We just need to put the phone away more. After dinner, put the phone in your bedroom and close the door so you can enjoy that movie you’ve been dying to watch. Turn off your WiFi at night, so it doesn’t feel like you’re always ‘switched on’.

I’m not an influencer by any means, all of the above are just my observations so please don’t take it as gospel. But hopefully what I’ve said has given you some food for thought.

Continue reading: working abroad (expat travel) – how to travel like us

Honestly, have you experienced the negative effects of social media? Let me know in the comments below.

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Let's talk about social media burnout, yes it's a thing. The negative effects of social media and more specifically how it's making us sick.

18 replies on “The negative effects of social media and how it’s making us sick”

I closed most of my social media accounts, except for IG. It happened after I came to the realization that a lot of my time is wasted just scrolling and scrolling without actually looking at anything of worth and depth. I feel way better and more productive since I close my social media accounts.

Well said! Using social media should be fun or useful but if you are an influencer it’s a work and like every other kind of job can be stressful and you might feel the need to detox from it.

Totally agree with this! I love sharing my travel snaps on Instagram but do sometimes feel that trying to trying to get the ‘perfect shot’ takes away from actually enjoying the moment !!

I’ve been avoiding Instagram for the past month while I’m in between trips, and I have to say I’ve been a lot happier for it. I love photography and sharing pics, but there’s an element to it that really gets me down. It’s difficult to work through and put into words, but I think you’ve expressed it really well here.

Well, I do think so social media making us sick. Too much engagement on social networks is truly not a good sign. I personally feel so bore and tired to share each and everything on social media. When I travel I mostly try not to be so busy with my phone. After coming back from the trip I started posting my fave shots but not every day. I really never like to give all the time on here. It makes me sick and kills my times. Whatever time I give on social media just for the sake of my blog. LOL

When people travel just to flaunt beautiful places and try to be famous. It ruins the fun that we try to achieve picture perfect spots and unmind the real beauty of the world. We tend to unappreciate the place 🙁

Great read, and very real. We’re new to blogging and social media, so can’t say we’re burned out just yet, but I can relate to this nonetheless. For one, I can say that I BARELY checked my phone before I started using social media and now I’m glued to it. Might need to reevaluate some things! Thanks for posting this!

First off, I think that it’s important for people to maintain a healthy way of how they view themselves and their lives. You should never ever for a second compare yourself to others. I’m an influencer and I love what I do. Maintaining a blog, and keeping up with your social media posts is a lot of work, especially if you’re still working a full time day job (like myself). I’m so grateful that early on when I began this journey, I created a plan to keep myself well balanced. I never compare myself with anyone else, I always practice gratitude, and I definitely take a moment to realize how far I’ve come along. It’s so important to remember that it’s not a race, it’s a marathon. Great blog post! Wishing all of you the best. ~Elizabeth

Its true, sometimes instead of enjoying the beauty of nature at a hill station, posting it on social media is always on the back of our mind. It’s frustrating when you think about it. It’s good you addressed this persistent problem. 🙂

i agree! Social media is indeed a big help in our society although, this also impacts our life as we tend to over use it. Always remember that everything that is over the limit is bad for us! good post!

Agreed – when you’re not just following your friends on Instagram, when you’re following influencers, it’s an advertising platform- not reality or a way to authentically connect with people. But I think it’s important to remember that you don’t have to follow the things that don’t make you happy :). There *are* influencers who use the platform to share real stories, talk about real issues, or share real pictures- but this is definitely the less-followed minority.

Also to help with the phone addiction, I’ve found that the New York Times article about switching your phone to greyscale has been really helpful!

Very interesting discussion. I think the reason why women are more affected is also because women have a greater tendency to feel inadequate. Too many women suffer from not acceptng their bodies and instagram is just one more factor adding to that social pressure. It’s really sad.

You are right. Social media can increase the odds of suffering depression. SM now is being primary used as a tool for marketing purposes (Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, you name it…) that means people “feel the pressure” (this does not apply to all people, some people really don’t care and just use the SMs to keep in touch with friends and family) to post pictures, videos, statuses, that attract attention. They want to gain popularity, likes, fame, recognition, attention, etc. When they don’t achieve any of this, they feel that their content is not as worthy as any other famous SM celebrity (or friend maybe) is. Another problem is comparing your life to others through the lens of Facebook-Instagram-Snapchat for example. You may think that your daily activities aren’t as fun or entertaining as other people, and that way of thinking can lead to a state of sadness and unconformity.

Social media can be a powerful and useful tool for keeping in touch with loved ones, but it can also do harm to mental health if used incorrectly. You have written a good article for addressing the pros and cons of social media and creating awareness. Thank you!


Amazing read. Thank you so much for sharing this! I totally agree with you. Whenever I feel sick with social media I try to take a long break, and it really helps! Like you said the most important priority should be your loved ones xx

I think that this is a really important conversation to have. Social media is so key to so many of us for work and our businesses but it definitely can have negative impacts. I definitely think I was happier before I started focusing on it. :/

I love this SO much. Not too long ago I had a moment actually where I took a break from Instagram specifically and it was honestly so needed. You’re right – there is so much negativity in these communicative platforms that were meant to be exactly as you said… FUN. Instead it seems so many people become super brave behind the computer screen and now bully others, or compare themselves to other people. I’m definitely guilty of it. So I took that time to re-evaluate why I was online. Why I had my blog and these platforms. I want to not only help others travel with tips, itineraries etc but I also want to have FUN while doing it. So if I miss a day of posting? MEH. As long as I’m happy at the end of the day then that’s all I can ask for.

Thanks so much for posting this. 💖

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