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By: Jennifer Hefner

“Do more things that make you forget to check your phone.”

I will preface this blog with “I am not here to bash anyone who loves social media or their screen time!” No, I am not here to treat you like a child, or talk down to the people who love the joy social media brings them. I, like many of you, like using social media too. From learning new food recipes, keeping up with friends, finding new workout ideas, accountability for my health and fitness, and sometimes just sheer entertainment, social media and the internet provides us with so many tools and so much information at our fingertips. So how can we navigate our screen time and in ways to benefit our mindset?

A healthy mindset is created with many positive factors and making sure to use screen time and social media in a beneficial way is crucial to make sure you stay on track in your health journey. We all have heard the negative impact social media can have on children and teenagers. As adults, we are not immune to this either. Body image is a topic that continues to be an issue for many people, and social media and the internet can contribute to this problem. So, let’s look at how using these tools can help us on our health journey.

First off, it is very important to be grounded in a healthy view of yourself. Creating healthy habits in your daily routine and sticking to them will help as you research ideas for your journey. Think about all the ads you see about drink concoctions that will help you lose massive amounts of weight in just a few days. The no carb diet or the supplements and pills that promise to melt fat. The ads that tell you that you don’t have to exercise to get the results you are looking for- the list goes on and on. The photo-shopped images of models or the body building men that make it look effortless. All these images that tell you that you can be happy if you look like these people. But this is not the way to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. What we are looking to create are healthy habits that become a part of your everyday living that will help you have a healthy, sustainable lifestyle that will benefit you as you live!

The problem of the “comparison game” can get us in trouble, that’s why we need to be aware of how we are using social media to help drive our health journey. We need to check in with ourselves frequently and make sure we are tailoring our habits to be manageable and realistic. If we are setting attainable goals that are healthy and maintainable then our mindset can grow positively. Using social media to gain access to healthy recipes, reading material, or to learn about different exercises are all legitimate reasons and can help propel your health and fitness for the good. Some people also find support from online health and fitness groups. This can be a good tool if you are doing a particular program, or if you do not feel you are getting the support from friends or family.

What I will caution users about when utilizing social media is to be careful not to start comparing either your results or body to other people. This is when the negative aspects of using social media can affect us. Feeling like a failure or not good enough is not where we want to go.

Also, be cautious of your time with an online health and fitness group. You may need to reassess your time and progress with a group. Sometimes you need to know when it is time to leave. I have been a part of some great groups that were positive, nurturing, and really helped me stay accountable and launched my health journey. I have also been a part of a group that was WAY too big, too many members, that started out exciting and great but became an energy sucker. It was draining trying to check in with them, the content became way too big, and I was just flat out drained. Just know when to say when and don’t feel bad leaving. It is your health journey!

Screen Time, Social Media, and Mindset. If you have a good foundation on building lasting habits and remember to make your journey realistic and sustainable, utilizing the web can be a useful tool. But like anything else, too much of a good thing can become BAD. Check in with yourself often friend, and become the best version of YOU!

~Jennifer Hefner

Assistant Volleyball Coach

West Virginia Wesleyan College

Change Your State Mindset Coach

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