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Episode 66: Scroll Less, Live More - Mindful Media Use

Updated: 4 days ago


This is Episode 66.


"Welcome to 'Wellness in Every Season,' the place where we explore the rich tapestry of motherhood and wellness in all its forms. I'm Autumn Carter, your host and guide. 



Welcome to today's episode of "Wellness in Every Season," titled "Scroll Less, Live More: Strategies for Mindful Media Use” where we'll embark on a thoughtful journey through the landscape of social media and its impact on our daily lives. As we delve into this discussion, you, our listeners, will explore the multifaceted relationship we all share with digital platforms. From the dopamine-driven highs of engagement to the introspective moments of digital detox, we'll uncover the good, the bad, and the strategies for maintaining a healthy balance.

Together, we'll reflect on how social media can serve as a tool for connection and learning, as well as a potential source of stress and distraction. You'll learn practical tips on how to curate your digital environment to enhance your well-being, set intentional boundaries, and cultivate a mindful approach to your digital interactions.

Through personal anecdotes, expert insights, and a series of reflective coaching questions, this episode aims to equip you with the knowledge and tools to take control of your social media habits. Whether you're looking to reconnect with your offline life or simply enhance your online experiences, today's discussion will provide valuable perspectives to help guide your digital journey.

Join us as we navigate the complexities of our online worlds and discover how to make social media work positively in our lives, enhancing our connections and fostering personal growth. Let's begin this engaging exploration into mindful social media use, learning not only how to use it effectively but also how to ensure it enriches our lives rather than detracts from them.

Key point #1

Today, I want to share a bit about my relationship with social media, a journey that's been both enriching and challenging. As a life coach, social media serves many purposes in my life. It's a tool for market research, a platform for sharing relevant content, a way to stay connected with friends, engage in wellness groups, and even a means to buy, sell, and discover local events. Yet, despite its many uses, it has also been a source of stress, leading me at times to pause or even consider deleting my accounts. Interestingly, just as I was about to step away, my studies and subsequent internship required me to stay digitally connected.

Now, I have established specific times for social media use, but I still find myself unlocking my phone for what I call a 'doom scroll'—those times when I've neglected my needs for so long that I feel compelled to disappear into a 30-60 minute session of mindless scrolling or watching silly videos right after our kids are in bed. You might wonder, what exactly is doom scrolling? It's a term that describes the act of endlessly scrolling through social media feeds, often without any joy or purpose, usually when we're feeling overwhelmed or seeking an escape.

This habit made me question when it's emotionally and mentally okay to engage with social media and when it's not. While I had some ideas, I really wanted to explore this deeper, not just for myself but for you, my listeners, because I know I'm not alone in this struggle.

As we dive into today's discussion, we'll also look at what happens in our brains when we interact with social media—the good and the bad. It's a journey into understanding our digital habits and learning how to manage them in ways that contribute positively to our lives. So, let's get started on this path of discovery together.

Key point #2

When it comes to social media, curating our environment is essential—not just to reflect who we are but also to support who we aspire to be. This process of editing friends, groups, and pages we follow can deeply influence our daily thoughts and emotions, shaping our interactions and ultimately, our personal growth.

The science behind this idea stems from the concept of 'mirror neurons' in our brain. These neurons respond not only when we perform an action but also when we observe someone else performing that action. This means that when we see behaviors, emotions, or attitudes displayed on social media, our brains can mimic these reactions internally. Therefore, if we're constantly exposed to negativity or content that doesn’t align with our values, it can subconsciously influence our behavior and mood in ways that detract from our goals.

Conversely, surrounding ourselves with positive influences and communities that reflect our aspirations can motivate us and accelerate our growth. For example, if you aspire to be more fitness-oriented, following health and wellness influencers and joining fitness groups can provide daily motivation and practical advice, making it easier to integrate these behaviors into your own life.

Now, ask yourself: Are the social media feeds I follow inspiring me toward who I want to become? Do the groups I participate in reflect the values I hold dear or aspire to uphold? These questions can help guide your decisions as you curate your digital space.

Additionally, there’s a compelling psychological phenomenon known as 'social comparison theory,' which suggests that we determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others we perceive as part of our peer group. This can be both a pitfall and a potential motivator. If you are constantly comparing yourself to individuals who make you feel inadequate or demotivated, it’s likely undermining your self-esteem and happiness. On the other hand, exposure to individuals who positively challenge and inspire you can elevate your sense of what’s possible and encourage personal development.

A practical approach to this curation involves actively managing your social media presence. Begin by reviewing your friends list and the pages or groups you follow. Unfollow or mute those that no longer align with your interests or values, and seek out individuals, groups, and organizations that inspire and motivate you toward your goals. It's important to do this periodically as your interests and goals evolve.

Why is this so important? Because our digital environment can be just as influential as our physical one. Just as you wouldn’t spend time at a club or a meeting that doesn’t resonate with your interests or that negatively affects your mood, the same should go for your online spaces.

As you go through this process, think about the kind of person you want to become. What qualities do you admire in others? What goals do you have for yourself? Let these reflections guide your social media curation. This isn’t just about avoiding negativity, but about actively creating a space that fosters growth, positivity, and connection in alignment with your true self.


Segment: Mindfulness Practice: 

Here's a mindfulness practice designed to help you engage with social media thoughtfully, with intention, and in alignment with your goals and well-being:

Find a quiet space to begin. This practice is about tuning into your thoughts and emotions, so make sure you have time and a place where you can reflect without distractions. Start by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Inhale slowly through your nose, hold the breath for a moment, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this a few times until you feel grounded and centered.

Now, think about how you typically use social media. Do you use it for work, connecting with friends, exploring hobbies, or finding inspiration? What emotions or thoughts come up when you think about these activities? Reflect on why you use social media. Is it to stay informed, to share your journey, or to foster connections? Note your reasons, either mentally or on paper.

Next, consider what you hope to gain from social media. Maybe it’s deeper connections, learning new skills, or simple enjoyment and entertainment. Also, think about what you want to let go of. Are there habits like doom scrolling, feelings of envy, or spending too much time online that you want to release? Acknowledge how these behaviors affect you.

Based on your reflections, set a few clear goals. Decide how much time you want to spend on social media each day, either in total or on specific platforms. Think about how you can curate your feed to reflect the types of content you want to engage with. For example, you might unfollow or mute accounts that provoke negative emotions and follow those that inspire you. Aim to interact meaningfully, perhaps by commenting thoughtfully on posts or sharing content that aligns with your values.

With these goals in mind, close your eyes again and visualize yourself using social media in a way that brings you joy and fulfillment. Imagine scrolling with intention, engaging with content that makes you feel good, and logging off satisfied. Bring your awareness back to your breath, taking a few slow, deep breaths in and out. Let this signify the transition from reflection to action.

End with a few positive affirmations such as, "I engage with social media mindfully, in alignment with my goals," "I curate my feed to reflect my values and interests," and "I take breaks from social media when needed, to protect my well-being."

Now that you’ve completed the practice, take steps to implement your goals. Check your feeds, set reminders or limits, and notice how these changes impact your relationship with social media over time. Return to this practice whenever you feel the need to recalibrate your digital habits and intentions. This is your path to a balanced relationship with social media, one that serves you rather than overwhelms you.


Key point #3

Curating your social media environment to better reflect and support your aspirations is a significant step towards using these platforms more mindfully and effectively. However, even with the most carefully curated feeds, the nature of social media—its constant availability and the endless stream of updates—can lead to overuse, which may overwhelm or distract from real-life interactions and personal wellbeing. This is where social media fasts, or digital detoxes, come into play.

A social media fast involves intentionally taking breaks from social media to reset your habits and reduce dependency on digital interactions. The benefits of such breaks are manifold: they can help reduce stress, increase presence and mindfulness in daily life, improve face-to-face relationships, and give you more time to engage in fulfilling activities that might not involve a screen.

The duration and frequency of social media fasts can vary depending on individual needs and lifestyles. Here are a few approaches:

Short Daily Breaks: These are brief periods each day where you consciously decide not to check social media. This might be during meals, right after waking up, or before bed—times when social media can particularly distract from personal reflection or quality time with others.

Weekly Breaks: Some people choose to have one day a week free from social media, often referred to as "Screen-Free Sundays" or similar. This weekly break can help mitigate any feelings of burnout and give you a full day to reconnect with other aspects of your life.

Extended Fasts: Occasionally, it might be beneficial to take longer breaks, such as a week or a month. These are particularly useful if you notice that social media is significantly affecting your mood or productivity, or if you find yourself in a major life transition that requires deeper reflection and fewer distractions.

Determining the length and frequency of your social media fasts can be guided by reflecting on how connected or overwhelmed you feel. Do you find yourself reaching for your phone first thing in the morning? Do you spend hours scrolling without realizing it? Are social media interactions replacing face-to-face relationships? These questions can help you decide whether a fast might be beneficial and how often it should occur.

Incorporating regular social media fasts into your life, in conjunction with a curated feed, can provide a more balanced digital experience. By periodically disengaging, you allow yourself space to evaluate how these platforms impact your life and adjust your usage to ensure it aligns with your personal goals and wellbeing. This balanced approach can help maintain the benefits of social media while mitigating its drawbacks, leading to a healthier, more intentional digital life.



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Key point #4: 

Addressing the impact of our social media habits on children is crucial, particularly as they look to us as examples of how to navigate and integrate technology into daily life. Our actions teach children how to value their time, attention, and connections with others. By reflecting on our own behavior with social media in the presence of our children, we can guide them towards healthier, more mindful technology use.

One of the key aspects to consider is the quest for the perfect photo. Social media often pushes us towards capturing moments rather than living them. This can detract from the authenticity and enjoyment of experiences, especially shared moments with our children. When we're focused on taking the perfect picture to share on social media, we're not fully present. Our children notice this shift in focus—they can feel secondary to our audience online. This can subtly teach them that digital validation is more valuable than real-world engagement.

Moreover, children are keen observers and quickly pick up on habits. If they see us constantly on our phones, they learn that this is the normal way to handle downtime or even stress. This can encourage them to develop similar habits, turning to devices whenever they are bored, uncomfortable, or seeking distraction, rather than engaging with the world and people around them.

Being present is more than just putting away the phone. It involves engaging fully with our children, showing them that they are more important than our digital interactions. This presence teaches them about priorities and shows them they are valued, which is crucial for their emotional and social development.

So, how can we set a better example? Start by setting specific times when phones or tablets are put away, such as during meals, at the park, or during family activities. Use these moments to engage in meaningful conversation and shared activities that reinforce family bonds and model healthy social behaviors without screens.

Also, involve your children in discussions about why and how you use social media. I share when I am doing something for my coaching practice or looking up something to show them.This can be a teaching moment to talk about the benefits and downsides of these platforms. Explain why you choose to put the phone down at certain times or why you prefer to keep certain moments private instead of sharing them online. This openness not only helps children understand the thoughtful use of technology but also makes them feel included and respected in family decisions.

Lastly, consider having family challenges where everyone reduces their screen time. Perhaps institute an occasional "screen-free weekend," where the whole family can enjoy time together without any digital distractions. These initiatives can help everyone in the family understand the value of direct, personal interaction and the joy it can bring.

By setting mindful practices and being conscious of our behavior, we can teach our children by example how to use technology as a tool that enhances life rather than detracts from it. This balanced approach can help them develop a healthier relationship with digital media as they grow.


Creating a life hack to effectively manage your time on social media involves a blend of using technology to your advantage and adopting mindful habits. Here’s a structured approach to help you limit your social media usage depending on the device, and ensure that the time spent is uplifting for both you and others:

Set Specific Goals and Intentions:

Before you even unlock your device, define clear objectives for your social media usage. Are you logging on to catch up with friends, gain insights from a professional group, or share something meaningful? Setting intentions helps you stay focused and avoid aimless scrolling.

Use Built-In Digital Time Management Tools:

Most smartphones today come equipped with digital wellbeing features that allow you to monitor and limit your screen time. For example:

iPhone: Use "Screen Time" to set limits on specific apps, schedule downtime, and get detailed reports on your app usage.

Android: Utilize "Digital Wellbeing" to create app timers, activate focus mode during work hours or family time, and use Wind Down settings to reduce blue light at night.

Customize Notifications:

Tailor your notification settings to only receive alerts from important contacts or groups. This reduces the number of times you’re tempted to check your phone and helps maintain your focus on essential interactions.

Curate Your Feed:

Actively manage who and what you follow. Unfollow or mute accounts that trigger negative emotions or lead to unproductive time spent. Instead, follow accounts that inspire and uplift you, aligning with your interests and values.

Create Content Boundaries:

Decide what type of content you want to engage with and share. Aim to contribute positively to discussions, share inspiring stories, and uplift others. This not only enhances your experience but can also positively affect your audience.

Schedule Social Media Time:

Allocate specific times of the day for checking social media, and stick to these windows. This helps prevent the habit of constantly checking for updates. For instance, you might decide to check social media for 15 minutes after lunch and 20 minutes in the evening.

Engage Mindfully:

When you are on social media, be fully present. Engage thoughtfully with content by leaving meaningful comments or sharing posts that resonate with you. This type of engagement is more fulfilling and is likely to foster genuine connections.

Regular Digital Detoxes:

Plan regular periods, like one weekend a month, where you completely log off from social media. This helps reset your digital habits and reduces dependency on digital validation.

Reflect on Your Usage:

Regularly review your social media habits. Reflect on whether your current usage aligns with your goals and adjust as necessary. Self-awareness is key to maintaining a healthy relationship with social media.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage your time on social media, making it a more intentional and uplifting experience. This not only benefits your well-being but also sets a positive example for others in your network.

Key point #5:

As we near the end of our discussion on managing social media use effectively, it’s important to recognize that this is an ongoing journey requiring regular reflection and adaptability. Staying mindful of how our online habits impact our overall well-being is crucial, and it's something that we should revisit often to ensure our digital interactions remain healthy and enriching.

Let's acknowledge the challenges that come with modifying our digital behaviors. It’s not always easy to step back from social media, especially when it's woven so deeply into our personal and professional lives. However, with patience and persistence, and perhaps even with the support of a professional if needed, we can find a balance that works for us.

Remember, the goal isn't to eliminate social media from our lives but to create a balanced perspective that maximizes its benefits while minimizing its drawbacks. Social media can be a powerful tool for staying connected with loved ones, finding community support, and accessing a wealth of information and inspiration. By setting boundaries and choosing to engage with content that uplifts and inspires, we can make our time online more productive and positive.

Furthermore, I encourage you to invest in offline activities that you enjoy. Whether it’s picking up a new hobby, reconnecting with nature, or spending time in meaningful face-to-face interactions, these experiences can significantly enhance your quality of life and mental health.

As we wrap up, reflect on how you can implement these strategies in your own life. Think about the adjustments you might need to make and how you can maintain a healthy balance between your digital and real-world interactions. Remember, this is about making social media work for you, not you working for it.

Now, as we move into the final part of our podcast, I'll leave you with some coaching questions to help you think deeper about your relationship with social media. These questions are designed to prompt reflection and possibly guide you toward more mindful social media use.


Segment: Coaching Questions

As we transition into a more reflective part of our conversation, I'd like to offer some coaching questions designed to encourage deep thought about your social media habits. These questions aim to facilitate self-discovery without judgment, helping you to understand your relationship with social media and how it impacts your life. Consider these questions thoughtfully and take your time to reflect on each one.

What initially drew you to social media, and how have your reasons for using it evolved over time?

When you log onto social media, what are you hoping to find or feel? 

Reflect on a time when social media made you feel really positive. What about that experience felt good, and why?

Conversely, recall a moment when social media left you feeling negative or drained. What triggered those feelings?

How does your current social media use align with your overall life goals and values?

Are there specific changes you can make to your social media habits that would better support your mental and emotional well-being?

How does the time you spend on social media impact your relationships and interactions with others offline?

What might be holding you back from taking a break from social media when you feel it's necessary?

Consider your future self—how do you think they would want you to interact with social media right now?

What steps can you commit to taking today to cultivate a healthier relationship with social media?

These questions are intended to spark introspection and perhaps inspire changes that lead to a more balanced and fulfilling digital life. As you ponder these questions, remember that the journey towards mindful social media use is personal and unique to each individual. Take what resonates with you from our discussion and use it to create a digital experience that enriches your life rather than detracts from it.

Reflect on these questions at your own pace and remember, the goal is not to criticize or judge yourself but to understand and perhaps realign your social media use for a healthier, happier life.


Episode summary:  

As we wrap up today’s episode, I hope you leave with a deeper understanding of the impact social media can have on our lives and the powerful role we each play in shaping our digital experiences. We’ve explored the ups and downs of online engagement, from the joy of connecting with others to the pitfalls of mindless scrolling. We’ve discussed practical strategies for curating a positive digital environment and the importance of regular digital detoxes to maintain balance and well-being.

Remember, the goal isn’t to eliminate social media, but to use it in a way that enriches your life and aligns with your values. Whether it's adjusting your feed to inspire and motivate, setting boundaries to protect your time, or simply being more present in the moments that matter—each small step is a part of a larger journey towards digital mindfulness.

Thank you for joining us, and I hope this episode has inspired you to take a thoughtful look at your own social media habits. Next week’s episode is an interview with Cha Jones where we talk about human design, planning your move based on your human design needs, and more. Until next time, here’s to living more mindfully both online and off.



Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode. I'm Autumn Carter, guiding you through motherhood's seasons. I hope today's discussion inspired you and offered valuable insights.

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