It’s time to take a break from social media

It’s time to take a break from social media

I felt sick to my stomach as soon as I read the comments. Yet I compulsively kept scrolling through my Facebook feed, checking back to see if anybody else had responded.

It was the morning after the US election, and my news feed had lit up with over-arching statements, generalities and sharp, personal attacks. Like most millennials, I spend a disproportionate time in front of my phone screen, often to the detriment of my own health. The social commentary around the election had only elevated this, and over a period of three days I felt increasingly anxious, lethargic and unwell.

Technically, I should have stepped back from social media as soon as I became unsettled: but it’s like a drug. It’s the first thing I check in the morning, and the last thing I see at night. And even when I feel the negative side effects, it only takes one ‘like’ to receive the hit of gratification I need to keep going through the day.

I know it’s unhealthy, but as someone who works in communications, using social media is part and the parcel of my life. Yet after those few days of feeling depressed, I finally realised just how dangerous my social media obsession was, and I had to stop.

After I deleted Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snap Chat off my phone I didn’t feel incredibly different. But over the few days I spent on ‘sabbatical’ from my personal social media, I detoxed. The negativity, anxiety and anger ebbed away, and I regained some control of my emotional wellbeing.

I don’t have a perfect remedy to the negative side effects of social media, largely because I do enjoy using it. Facebook gives me the ability to connect with friends on the other side of the world, stay up-to-date with news, and do business. But now I’m back on, I realise I need to control it, rather than every comment, smiley face or emoji controlling me.

It’s not easy to step back from social media, but sometimes your own wellbeing requires you to put up boundaries in cyberspace as well as in real life. Here’s some indicators you may need your own social media sabbatical.

  1. You check it compulsively

It’s normal to check your social media regularly, but if you’re struggling to get through the hour without scrolling through your news feed, it’s time to stop. Social media should add value to your life, not detract from you actually living it.

  1. You have FOMO

FOMO (Fear of missing out) comes from a place of deep insecurity and a need for acceptance. Checking Twitter to stay ‘in the loop’ and finding value in the conversations, events and photos you’re in only adds to this mindset and will leave you unhappy.

  1. It’s compromising your real-life relationships

Online relationships are never a substitute for real life relationships. If your social media is detracting from time spent investing in your marriage, couple relationship, family time or friendships, you need to reprioritise.

  1. It’s distracting you

If you’re taking a Snap Chat while a friend is talking to you, you’re ignoring them. And while it’s become increasingly acceptable to be on social media while we’re with our friends and family, its essential we draw boundaries to keep our face-to-face interactions sacred.

The same goes for the work place. If you’re spending more time on your own social media than doing paid work, either behind a desk or with clients, it’s time to readjust your habits.

  1. You’ve created a pseudo identity

Some people create a false identity online with a different name and life for themselves. More often than not though, we keep our name but embellish our identity.

That means we only share ‘impressive’ images, great selfies, speak a certain way, or create hidden relationships in cyberspace. People online aren’t seeing a true representation us, and basing our identity on this is unhealthy and can be damaging.

  1. It negatively impacts your emotions

If being online causes to feel anxious, angry, agitated, depressed or nauseous, it’s time for a break. You may not even realise social media is cause of these feelings (and often the physical symptoms accompanying them), especially if this is a regular occurrence.

To test this, write down how you are feeling immediately after you check your social media. Then spend half a day free of it, and write down how you are feeling. Compare your lists: is there any difference? Before you check it again, write down any feelings you have. If you feel anxious or agitated by compulsion to use social media you’ll notice and can adjust your habits accordingly.

Are you addicted to social media? Does the idea of not being online make you feel anxious? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how she can best help you or press book now to book on the online diary.

5 Tips for Technology Use in Your Couple Relationship

5-Tips-for-Technology-Use-in-Your-Couple-Relationship

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Do you ever feel like your partner spends more time on Facebook than in actual conversation with you? Perhaps you are in a long distance relationship and texting daily is your saving grace? As with anything there are both positive and negatives to the use of technology, and when it comes to relationships, research shows that it can cause consequences that both help and hurt couples.

According to a study by Paw Research Institute, 66 per cent of American adults actively use social media. There are some people who share accounts and email addresses, and others who maintain their own private use. So what works best in a healthy relationship? For many couples, they feel that technology has little to no effect on their relationship, but for others it can be a pivotal and important factor in what causes or breaks tension.

The Good: Nearly three quarters of the adults surveyed said technology had no impact on their couple relationship. A quarter text each other when they are both at home, and 21 per cent feel their use of technology brings them closer together. In fact, some couples even said the use of technology helped them to resolve conflict as it was difficult to do this face to face.

The Bad: It is so easy to get caught up behind our phone screens, and 25 per cent of the people surveyed said they felt neglected by their partner due to this. A smaller amount mentioned their use of technology had caused disagreements, and at 4 per cent, some people surveyed said they had become distressed when they discovered their partner’s activity online.

For younger couples, these positive and negative side effects were even more prevalent, showing that over the past decade technology has become an integral part of how we do life and conduct our relationships today.

So what does this mean for your relationship?

When you enter a relationship with someone, make sure you talk about your technology use. Obviously this will look different for various couples: if you met online or via a dating site, you probably use social media more than a person who has been in a long term relationship for over a decade. And your age, location and work will also determine how and when you use technology. That being said though there are still some key points to discuss in order to avoid causing tension, and instead use technology to draw you closer together.

  1. Share your passwords with each other.

Letting your partner or spouse know your password is a great way to show that you trust them, and they can trust you in your online activity. 67 per cent of adults surveyed said they do this, and this is a handy way to keep your own independent account but remain accountable to each other.

  1. Consider sharing an account

Clearly this strategy will not work for everyone, but if the presence of an individual profile is going to cause tension in your relationship, talk about setting up a shared Facebook profile, email address or even a calendar.

  1. Set aside time for human interaction

If you are always caught behind a screen, make a night of the week your ‘date’ night. Go out for dinner and talk to each other, take a walk together or have a quiet night at home that is largely free of technology. Make a point to communicate with your partner without the use of technology to maintain a healthy relationship.

  1. Talk about conflict in the open

Social media makes it easy for us to share our troubles and conflict with the world. Avoid doing this. While social media is public, there are parts of your relationship that need to remain private, so talk through your problems face to face. Put the phone down and honestly tell each other how you feel. You love your partner, so show them the respect of working through these things off screen.

  1. Set your boundaries

Couples will use technology for different things. When it comes to your intimacy, it is essential that both of you are aware of what is acceptable and what is not. Will you participate in sexting? And how will you respond if you receive such a text or picture from another person outside your relationship? Will you put up porn blockers on your technology, or do you require your partner be honest about their use of pornography? Clarify these boundaries early, and make sure your intimacy is not solely based on the use of technology.

If you or your partner find that technology is impeding on your relationship and you need direction and support, then here’s what you need to do; contact me on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you or press book now to book on my online diary.