I’ve recently decided that I have too many eggs in one basket and too many fingers in a pie. And as much as it’s brilliant to think that I am a “Jack of all trades”- reality is that where you focus you grow. And unfortunately it is impossible to grow in too many avenues.
I have had to deal with a few personal challenges which caused another Lupus flare. This consisted of mostly extreme fatigue, flu-like symptoms, aching joints and recently swollen face. Not being able to sleep comfortably yet feeling so incredibly exhausted really took its toll. Then the social media frustrations…
As most of you know; I’ve taken a short break from Social Media. This was prompted after the frustration of not being able to follow other accounts, like others’ posts at times and not being able to comment on other’s posts. Should you not know this; these actions are all integral for the growth of your social media profiles. (Besides the fact that I actually enjoy interacting with my followers.)
I do not take it [social media] too seriously; however I do depend on getting work through some of my social media pages. This all led to me deciding on a little detox. Now as much as such a decision is rather easy; allot of my close friends continue checking up on me asking me whether I’m “coping” without my Social Media accounts. Was I really that much on those platforms that people thought I’d struggle?
Whilst all of this is said with tongue in cheek, one of the scariest realisations recently is that people place so much value on social media that they actually identify their social standing or even their life accomplishments on being “available, present and seen” on their profiles. Their “likes” and “followers” become such an obsession that they begin to identify themselves with it! Studies have now shown that teen depression and teen suicidal tendencies are at its highest ever. This largely due to the pressure of a “false life” on social media.
You see it way too often on the story lines. You see someone you idolise at some prominent restaurant and perhaps take a short video of sipping on some exotic drink with bags of shopping around them. This now seems very ideal; and probably cool to the average teen, who copies this. Only they try and emulate what they saw. Perhaps trying on the newest brand clothing and posting it as if they have just bought it. Another peer sees this and envies this. Perhaps goes to a bespoke bar and takes a snap insinuating that they dine there. This is seen by others who now feel so depressed that they are unable to afford these kind of life styles exhibited by their peers. And so the circle continues. Talking to people “in the know”, social media is still so new that these issues that come along with it is just as new, and our experts have no experience in treating this. Or very little at the moment.
It’s become quite evident how Social Media can take over and how one can allow it to affect them. Taking breaks and also limiting the amount of time you “check” on what’s going on, “checking in” to see what is going on, and “checking new likes and follows”, all will benefit your mental health I assure you. What I have personally realised from this is that when I have a spare moment I usually grab my phone and try catching up.
When I announced that I’d take a break, I deleted every social media application off my phone. This not only takes away temptation to “just quickly check what’s going on”, but also in those moments that you’d forget about your decision. I am so surprised that I have continuously had a couple moments free time and automatically went for my phone to catch up, only to see a void where the apps were – and feeling literally confused and lost. Like what now? What can I do with the time I used to spend on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter?
With most smart phones now; you are able to gauge how much time is spent on your phone, and reminders “to take breaks”.
This break from my virtual reality made me realise that I’m not only “detoxing” from Social Media, I’m freeing up “thinking space” and allowing my creative juices to flow freely. Less human interaction – which in reality exhausted me – and more ME time. Whilst social media is an integral part of what I do; I will from now on take one day completely away from all social media, as well as once a month take a four day break. I’d suggest to anyone and everyone to do the same. Take days completely away from Social Media – to allow your mind a break as well as to connect with nature/family/real life/ hobbies etc. It is so easy to get carried away with this virtual reality. So easy to loose sight of YOU. So easy to get caught up in other people’s (pretend?) lives and neglect your own self.