Episode 72: Scrolling Isn’t Resting

Welcome, everybody to The Work Of Becoming podcast! Today is gonna be a little bit of a me at me. It’s gonna sound like a little bit of a rant, and I don’t want this to come off as a holier-than-thou situation where I’m preaching at you because I am absolutely in this position alongside of you. So, today, what I want to talk about is that scrolling does not count as resting.

So, I don’t know if you experience this, but when I get tired throughout the day or when I am perceiving that I’m getting tired throughout the day, my instinct is I just need to sit on the couch and scroll for a couple of minutes. So, I have my particular spot on the couch, and I can put my feet up, and I have a blanket that’s always sitting there, and whenever I feel any kind of fatigue or tiredness, that’s my instinct is to go there, sit there, and scroll. I even, for a while, had it blocked into my calendar like this is my 30 minutes of scroll time in order to rest after work.

But then I woke up one Saturday, and I scrolled for two hours because I was tired. I woke up, and I was really tired. I hadn’t slept well the night before, and I was like, “Oh, I kind of have energy for a walk, but I’ll sit here and scroll for an hour or so, give myself some time to wake up and become more energetic.” And at the end of that hour and a half that I had sat there looking through TikTok or Instagram or whatever, I was actually feeling worse than I felt when I initially woke up.

The PhD in me knows that social media is extremely active for our brain. So, your physical body might not be doing anything, but social media is activating lots of different parts of your brain. It’s activating social comparison. It’s activating planning. It’s activating memories. It’s activating your frontal lobe. It’s activating your amygdala. Your brain is lighting up when it comes to interacting with social media. And that is not actually restful for your brain. Logically, I knew that, but then that Saturday that happened, and I had this sort of crashing realization that when I needed rest, my immediate instinct was to engage in something that was the opposite of restful for my brain.

If you are the kind of person who uses scrolling as an activity when you feel tired or need to rest, I want you to question two things. Number one: I want you to question are you actually tired or are you feeling an emotion that you don’t want to feel? Because, for me, what I also realized is that part of my tiredness was actually anxiety. When I got anxious or when the workday started to stress me out, when my stress level increased, then I would be like, “Ugh, I need a break,” and it wasn’t that I actually was tired. It was that my own interoceptive ability (so my ability to detect the emotions that I’m feeling) is not so great, and it’s something that I’m constantly working on. It’s something that I’m constantly aware of is that I sometimes have a hard time detecting my emotions, and instead of detecting the emotion, instead of saying, “I’m feeling sad. I’m feeling angry. I’m feeling worried. I’m feeling nervous,” what do I say to myself? “I feel tired.” And then what do I do? I need to scroll because I feel tired. But scrolling does not solve for the emotion. It doesn’t not solve for the tiredness if there is any actual fatigue. And, in fact, it makes my stress level worse. In fact, it makes me more tired. And so, why am I doing it?

And so, I have started to kind of follow the guidelines of I’m viewing scrolling as an energy drain, and so, if I have very little energy, that is when I work on putting my phone away. That is when I work on actually restricting social media because I know the less I engage with it, the more I’ll be able to be present in my own life, and that will actually give me energy. So, that’s what I encourage you to think about today.

Lastly, I want to say that a lot of times, our relationship with social media is so toxic because our relationship with stress is ineffective. So, we’re ineffective at managing our own stress, and that is exactly what we talked about inside of this month’s Change Academy workshop, and today is the very last day that you can get access to that workshop. So, if you haven’t joined Change Academy, I highly recommend it because this month’s workshop (the Stress Management Workshop) I’m recording this ahead of time, so I haven’t done it yet, but I know how incredible it’s going to be. We actually hired researchers to come in and help us with the economy slides. So, we’re getting a lot more peer review than we had before, and I already know how valuable it’s going to be. So, if you haven’t joined Change Academy and if you feel like you could do a better job of managing stress and managing your stressors, I highly recommend you jump in before today is over so that you get access to that workshop.

That’s all I’ve got for you, and I will see you next month!


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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.


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