I feel like this year has been the year for a real social media jump – anyone who’s anyone is on some sort of platform, we’re more in the know about things than ever before, and – being realistic – we probably share our all important life info via the ‘gram, long before we share it properly via a conflab with our pals. It’s the done thing, no?
& with a good portion of life being lived on the net, it’s a struggle to switch off from it right? I for one, having this lil ol’ blog, find the best way to spread the word is through social media, particularly Twitter. I’m not entirely certain how else I’d convince someone to read my babbling otherwise, ngl. & with social media influencers on the rise & companies cashing in on them for advertising (don’t forget to hashtag now), can we really get away from it?
I’ll not lie, even if I didn’t have this blog, I know I’d still be hooked. Between you, me and probably the rest of the planet, I like a good tweet, and I find myself clicking that darn blue bird icon every… few minutes? As in, it’s a habit, an addictive one, and I get on my own tits with it. Like you literally just opened the app, spent three hours on it (an exaggeration, probably), clicked out, put your phone away, to repeat a mere five minutes later. Is it FOMO? Just an addiction? Boredom? Fu*k knows.
Being a mental health advocate, I also like to spend a fair whack of time on Twitter actually being an advocate; raising awareness, posting stuff people can hopefully relate to, being there for anyone who might need me. I try to post regularly, I try to make a bit of a difference. & with that comes a big ol’ spoonful of – you guessed it! – pressure. Not from anyone else, just me. I constantly berate myself for not being on there enough(?!), for not getting back to people’s messages quick enough, maybe worrying I’m not tweeting the right thing. Oh & you’ll not believe the amount of time spent staring, hypnotized, by the ‘compose’ box. Don’t say the wrong thing, whirls around my brain on a frikking merry-go-round.
It’s. Freaking. Draining.
My boyfriend – ever patient, but also blunt as the day is long – often asks me why the fu*k I spend so long on social media. Why can’t I just ‘switch off’?. “You need to take care of you” he said to me only a matter of weeks ago. Not long after that, I just sorta… burnt out. He was spot on. All that time absorbed by a screen had frazzled my already poorly brain & all I could think was that I’d let people down. I like networking, I love my online friends, I’m so passionate about mental health awareness, but there has got to be some sort of balance, surely?! I can’t be the only human on this tiny planet of ours that has tipped the scales so drastically that they’ve sunk into a puddle, ala the Wicked Witch of the West.
I just feel like… we’re not great at knowing when to come away from things that could potentially be detrimental to our health and wellbeing. This whole social media addiction thing is a real thing, and only we have the power to log out, delete the app, turn the phone off or *breathes deep* deactivate, nay! delete our accounts. Scary stuff.
On a personal level, I’ve felt so fried by t’internet, that I’ve logged myself out of all apps for days at a time, just to try & claim back some of my real life. It was taking a serious toll on my mental health, and who was I to tweet about self-care and the like when I evidently can’t practice what I preach? I needed to tune out to try & tune back in again. In fact, I’ve just had a week away, and it was such a wake-up call. Like, I actually read a book. I held conversations, I left my phone in other rooms, I wasn’t constantly giving into this nagging need to whip my phone out for no reason.
& more than that, a few frank convos with my boyfriend made me see how skew-whiff my priorities had gotten. & y’know, it sounds dramatic (this is me though so), but I realised I’d not really looked at my boyfriend properly in ages. Like really looked at him. I saw how tired he was; I took in how lovely his smile is, how blue his eyes are. I relaxed in to a cuddle, instead of thinking of the next thing I ‘had’ to do. I’d become so enveloped in the online world, that I’d forgotten how beautiful – how important – the real one is.
I just think it’s so crucial to teach ourselves some form of balance. I know it’s not easy, but I feel like for the benefit of our own mental health & well-being, we’ve got to find a way. I mean we could:
- be a little stricter with ourselves, set a certain amount of time aside to look at that stuff
- log out after each use
- we could even simply move those Twitter/Facebook/Insta icons off our homescreen – just to lessen the temptation.
- You can actually get apps now, or there’ll be something inbuilt in your phone, that will tell you just how much time you’re spending on each app a day, and boy, if that isn’t an eye-opener than I don’t know what is!
Social media really does have huge positives – some of the best people I know I’ve met online, and I have some truly brilliant friends because of it. It allows me so much, & it has enriched my life in many ways; but it’s come with a cost. I guess all I’m trying to say is, we’ve got to remember to take care of ourselves, to prioritise our needs . We have to allow space between us & the screen. We must remember to stay connected to the real world & most importantly, to ourselves. It sounds bonkers, but don’t be afraid to ‘miss out’ – all the time you’re looking down, you’re not looking up. That’s missing out.
Sending love, light & self-care wishes your way,