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How I Fell Down The Social Media Rabbit Hole

Let me tell you how I developed a serious social media addiction, which almost cost me my relationship—amongst other things.

In 2017, I decided to take my passion for marathon running and turn it into an online business: Running Divas, a global women’s running community.

For years I’d owned and managed ‘bricks & mortar’ companies, this would be my first online venture. It was a massive learning curve but I was all in.

My mission was to give every woman the most supportive and nurturing experience to achieve their running goals. That meant, I answered every message and posted quick-time responses on Facebook.

I was soon answering emails and DMs with personalised requests (or demands) for extra support at ungodly hours.

My entire life began to revolve around the Running Divas community, and my smartphone was never out of my hand.

As the months rolled on, the community grew exponentially (eventually reaching 250,000 members). I became obsessed with responding when I saw notifications appear on my screen—it became my full-time job.

I sacrificed seeing ‘real-life friends’, reading books and pretty much everything else. To maximise my hours on Facebook, I traded beautifully prepared dinners for my partner and me, for simple ingredients tossed in a bowl. Leaving my phone for more than an hour (even for business purposes) triggered irrational nervousness and crippling anxiety. I was a living definition of ‘anti-social’.

After dinner, my partner and I sat on the couch, but I vanished into my virtual world.

Slowly, social media took control of my life and began destroying my health, relationship, and business.

After ten months of this addictive behaviour, my partner gave me an ultimatum:

Its the community or me; you need to stop this obsession.

Truthfully, I didn’t see my usage as a problem—until blatantly pointed out. Facing the facts that I was addicted was challenging. However, I eventually realised how I’d lost sight of reality.

This experience has become an essential part of my Life Lessons Manifesto: Balance or Burnout.

Be mindful of who you allow into your space; giving people full access will drain your energy.

It’s also not your job to support everyone. Your ‘friends’ on social media are not real friends. The virtual world does not replace real human interaction. Set boundaries, and don’t forget to play in the real world.

Finally, if it costs you peace of mind, it’s not healthy or balanced and may result in burnout.