How This Company Came To Exist – The Whole Story

The longer answer of how this company came to exist is a combination of events, connections, health issues, and a handsome rescue swimmer.

I’ve always worked in marketing. And most would say I am a ‘people person‘, and I was taught by my folks to always be yourself and to never burn bridges. The world of social media launched my senior year of college at the University of Florida. I was fascinated by it. The beginnings were more like an interactive chat room on steroids. Once Facebook opened it up to the public it changed the game entirely. A business could create spaces to communicate with their community and customers in REAL-TIME.

I started doing social media for businesses I worked for, learning what works, what doesn’t, testing different strategies. Before long, I started getting inquiries on training from other businesses. The company I worked for was NOT a marketing agency. But apparently I was making a mark. So quietly, I started building relationships and trust by helping people with their social media for free.

In 2012 I started having a lot of health issues. Weird symptoms not common for a relatively healthy woman in her early 30s. I got some clarification when I was diagnosed with ulcerative
colitis. It’s an autoimmune disease that impacts the function of my digestive system. I will have it for life as there is no cure. This changed everything for me. I started thinking about ways to make money even if I was too sick to leave the house…which happened often. It was a confusing time. I spent a lot of time self-reflecting and trying to figure out who the ‘new me’ was that didn’t involve all the bad food, booze and night life. Eventually I found my way. Stopped drinking completely – which for most isn’t a big deal, but for me it really was. My entire network shifted a bit….for the better. Put more time and energy in whole foods and a healthy balance of fitness and rest.

Now for some good news – in 2013 I met my now-husband. He is a rescue swimmer with the US Coast Guard. Although I don’t believe in love at first sight, we both knew pretty early this was it. What you may not know is if I was going to marry this man, I would have to uproot my world every 4 years whenever the coast guard transfers us to somewhere else in the country. I was happy in Tampa Bay. I had roots down. A strong network of friends who were like family. But this new man….worth it.

Mid to late 2013 comes around and my health is getting worse. I’m missing a lot of work. I’m able to do all my digital marketing efforts from home, which I really enjoyed. My boss at the time expressed interest in putting me on medical leave. After a long, honest conversation I told him I’m thinking of doing something different. I’m considering starting my own company. The marketing genius that he is, he asked me to put together a plan for my new business with all the details. So I did. I took a few days and put it all together and presented it to him and patiently waited for his response. He fired me. Not because I was a bad employee, but because he knows I am loyal to default. I needed the push to take this leap. And that’s what I did and he was my first client. I’m so thankful for my upbringing – I was taught to treat people with respect and to never, ever burn a bridge if you can help it.

So that is how my company started. The combination of perfect timing, encouragement from peers and a whole lot of faith and trust, Bright Light Solutions was born. I launched in January of 2014 in Clearwater, Florida. I grew my business through relationships I built in the Tampa Bay Area and networking in chamber groups, BNI chapters, etc. It wasn’t easy and it was absolutely terrifying, but I am so thankful I took that step.

Fast forward to the summer of 2016, when a second location of Bright Light Solutions was born when my family and I moved to Sequim, Washington. Yes, from sunny Clearwater, FL to the great Pacific Northwest to a place I’d never been nor did I know a soul in this corner of the country. The icing on the top was we had a brand new baby boy in tow. This was the real test to see if I could REALLY do this.

Starting over in a brand new place I couldn’t rely on decade-old relationships, I had to really put myself out there. And I did, even though I was navigating yet another ‘new normal’ of motherhood. Since we arrived I’ve helped close to 100 local businesses and entrepreneurs in some capacity. This area is truly a gem filled with some unique people. I’ve succeeded. I’ve failed. I’ve learned. And I’ve gotten better. I believe in the importance of being a student forever and thankful for the lessons I learned in Washington.

Four years have passed and now it’s 2020. Time to get relocated again. The next stop is Jacksonville, FL. A very familiar area to me as I grew up in Northeast Florida. I plan on flying back up to Sequim on a regular basis to maintain the business that I’ve built as well as work on building a third hub of Bright Light Solutions.

5 Must Do’s Before Entering the Job Market

Soooo….you’re entering the competitive job market. Whether you’ve just graduated college or are jumping back in after being laid off, there are some new ‘rules’ you need to be aware of when applying for positions. More and more employers are doing a search for potential hires online both before and after the interview. And not just using search engines, social media profiles and activity are being combed through for red flags.

What is your online reputation? How are you viewed online? How are your security settings?

Here are 5 tips in helping you clean up your online personality:

  1. Appropriate Profile Picture

This is the most simple, most obvious step in helping your profile. Doesn’t have to be a professional head shot. Just make sure it’s not the following: drunken madness, party picture, obscene t-shirt or gesture. And once you have an appropriate picture, make sure you keep it consistent across all the channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, etc)

  1. Up Your Security on Facebook

Have a few friends who love to ‘tag’ you in unflattering pictures? If you haven’t already, you need to make sure you spend some time in your security settings. You can have Facebook notify you when someone has ‘tagged’ you in a photo or post. Its up to you if you allow it on your timeline.

Go through each of the settings in the ‘Timeline and Tagging’ section of your Settings.

You can also change your privacy settings in this section as well. Depending on the knowledge of who is searching for you, you can make it secure enough where they can’t find you at all. This is under Settings>Privacy. Familiarize yourself with all these pages in settings to make sure you and your information stay secure.

  1. History Purge

Facebook: You may want to go back a few months, years if you need to, and search what is visible on your timeline. This includes photos, status updates and shares of information. Its a given that you really should ‘untag’ any inappropriate photos. But dig deeper, delete random extreme political, religious or angry rants in your newsfeed. Look at your ‘Likes’ as well (Pages). May want to ‘Unlike’ any that could be in the indecent, extremely political, etc. So sorry, you’ll need to disconnect from the Hot Hunks/Babes page on Facebook.

Twitter & Instagram: Go back through and look at your content and photos. Delete any tweets and photos that could be categorized as inappropriate. Now if you have a random account on either of these this doesn’t apply to you. But if your name is tied to your account on either, you need to reevaluate what you’ve been sending out to the world.

  1. LinkedIn

Update your work history, education, organization, skills and certifications. This includes updating your contact information (email, phone, website, etc.). Also include your charity work. As for your title, you can change it to what you do (your specialty/skill set). Simply select the edit profile button, then select the ‘Pen’ next to your title under your name. This will help you get found in searches on LinkedIn. Completely set up your profile before you start connecting with professionals. Start following companies of interest, influential professionals and topics in your industry. Share ideas with your connections consistently.

  1. Think Before Posting/Sharing

As long as your name is tied to your profile, you need to be wary of what you post/share on social media channels. So ask yourself a few questions before sending anything out to the world:

  1. Is it relevant?
  2. Can this be seen as offensive?
  3. Is it resourceful? Will it help someone?
  4. Will this harm someone?
  5. Does it promote or harm your reputation?

Follow key influencers in your industry. Pay attention to what they post/share online. Focus more on posting information that is helpful, funny or inspiring. If you think of others before yourself you will gain followers quickly. Ideally, there should be a benefit to connecting with you online. Help others always.

Well I hope this was some help to you in the job seeking world. Remember its not just your physical/personal reputation that gets noticed, its also your online reputation that can make or break you in an interview.

5 Simple LinkedIn Marketing Tips

Whether you have your profile up and running or you’re just getting started, there are a few things you can do to help market yourself on LinkedIn.

  1. Use a Professional Photo

Make sure your photo is appropriate. In a perfect world, get a professional head shot created. But, if you aren’t quite there yet or lack the resources, no problem, just choose a clear, close-up picture of yourself. Avoid wearing a hat, sunglasses or anything else that can change the way you look. People want to see the person they are connecting with, they want to make sure you are the right connection they are searching for, why not make it easy for them. Also avoid using a picture with an animal, wearing too casual of clothing or using a picture with a adult beverage in your hand. (Sounds obvious, but I’ve seen it)

  1. Customize Your Title

Your title will be defaulted to your job title you enter into your experience section. (Owner at Business USA). Instead of using a generic title, why not get creative. Focus on what you do, what your specialty is, where you operate your business, etc. For example, if you are a real estate agent who specializes in beach front property, instead of using Realtor at Main Street Realty try using Residential Real Estate, Beachfront & Luxury Property Specialist. When people search for what you do, they will find you easier if you have those keywords in your title.

  1. Customize Your Connection Request

Don’t just send a blanket, one-size-fits-all connection request. If you met someone at a networking function, remind them how nice it was to meet them at that event and you’d like to be connected on LinkedIn. The worst thing you can do when reaching out to someone new is to send a connection request stating “Since you’re a person I trust, I’d like to add you as a connection on LinkedIn”. You just met them. How do you trust them already?

  1. Utilize your Summary

Your summary is a chance for you to show a little bit of your personality. Why do you do what you do? What drives you? What is your ‘WHY’? This is a perfect opportunity to give these types of details. This should not be a cover letter. Write in first person. Speak directly to your audience. Use key words you would like to be found for in a search. If you have a target market, speak to them. Give examples of your ideal clients/customers, how you help them and why.

  1. Recommend, Recommend & Recommend some more…

No, this is not endorsing. Which is the most overrated thing someone can do on LinkedIn. It’s too easy to endorse someone. I’m referring to giving someone a recommendation. You should reach out and recommend at least 10 professionals you’ve done business with or can vouch for before you ask for a recommendation. Be specific in your recommendation as well. Don’t just use words like ‘awesome’, ‘hard-worker’, etc. Be descriptive and real. Play on how the connection made you feel or helped you do your job better. And make sure you end with a phrase involving you recommending them to others. Example: “I highly recommend (Connection) to any professional looking to grow their business.”

There are many more tips and strategies in marketing yourself on LinkedIn. These are just a few to get you started. Remember to always be genuine and helpful. Be a resource. Help others before asking for help.

BONUS TIP: Spend some time in Pulse, daily. Follow industry leaders, channels and influential businesses. Share the ideas that you find interesting or that helped you in your business.

Social Media: What NOT to do

We’ve seen the mistakes, some on a larger scale, we’ve seen people get fired, fined and ridiculed. There are a few things to stay away from on social media channels that will help you stay out of trouble.


First off, if you are using your real name on any social media platform, you are tied to your company. Even if its your personal profile/twitter account/page, etc., you are a representation of the company. There is no way getting around this unless you create an account with a totally different name and contact information. Which I’ve seen people do successfully. The more creative and obscure the better. So before you post/share/comment or even like a page, ask yourself, “What would my client think?”


Just stop. Social media is social. Its about building relationships, communicating and helping one another. The quickest way to turn someone away from you and your business on social media is to sell to them. Take time to get to know someone first, if you gain their trust, they will want to help you in any way they can. Be patient and focus on building the relationship.


This could be in any form. Whether it’s a political rant on why the opposing view is ludicrous or you are bashing a business, just don’t. Now, giving a business a legitimate negative review is another thing if it is valid. I’m talking about the book-long, all caps kind of bashing. And as a friend of mine always says, its okay to be political and even religious on social media if you can hang your hat on it. In other words, if it is who you are or the stance your business takes, then go right ahead.


This is in regards to not only photos but language. And no you can’t prevent someone from posting racy photos or posts, but you can prevent them from tagging you or allowing them to post on your wall or tag you. Spend some time in your settings on Facebook in particular, because this seems to be the channel people use for broadcasting inappropriate behavior for some reason. Be careful when sharing videos/articles with this as well. Make sure you watch/read all the way through what you are about to share to the world.

Virus Warning

Social media has been hit hard with viruses over the years. The new way a virus can infect your profile/account is through videos. Ever see a video shared by a friend that doesn’t look like something they would post? More than likely, its a virus. The video screen shot is usually something shocking, inappropriate or racy trying to get you to click to view. First, don’t click on the video. Second, send the infected person an email (not a direct message or post) letting them know they are posting a video that contains a virus. You can also receive a virus via direct message. Again, if it doesn’t seem like something the person would send you, its likely a virus. Don’t click on any links, photos, videos, etc that seem unusual from that particular person. Most social media channels have steps in place to help clean up your profile after you’ve been infected with a virus.

One Message, All platforms

Now, if you are promoting a specific event it is acceptable to hit all your channels getting the word out. But, each channel has a different language, audience and available features. Some channels are more for business (LinkedIn), so you wouldn’t post pictures of your vacation on this platform. Hashtags are also not effective on LinkedIn. There is no purpose for them on this platform. Each channel has its own communication ‘language’, meaning how you communicate with someone on Twitter is completely different on Facebook. And there are always exceptions to the rule, but typically, if someone follows you on Twitter and not Facebook or Google+, there is a reason.

Negative Nancy

We all go through rough patches or funks. This is not the place to vent your frustrations or talk about how much you hate your life. If all you put out to the world is negative energy and information, people will eventually turn the other way. So if you are in a funk, maybe take a social media break for a few days.


We’ve all said it. “I cannot believe he/she just posted that to the world!” Some things are better left quiet. Avoid sharing too much in regards to your health, your ‘extracurricular’ activities, your financial information, etc. Being too open can also be a security risk as well as embarrassing. So avoid sharing information like your colon cleanse details as well as your home address. And yes, its happened and I’ve seen much worse.

There are a ton of other ‘What NOT to do’ examples and tips out there. We all have seen/been annoyed by those handful of people who cannot stop inviting us to play games. We’ve seen those who use social media as their diary or therapist. And we’ve seen those ‘lucky’ few who want everyone to know how amazing their lives are in every aspect.

Bottom line, when communicating and building relationships on social media, you should be genuine, be positive, be a resource and help others.

Social Media: How to Motivate Others

Everyone has an opinion on how to use social media to benefit you and your business. Sometimes it seems like the advice is conflicting, sometimes down right confusing. I’ll be the first to tell you, take in each little bit of information and try out different strategies. Use whatever works for you. If at any point that strategy brings stress/anxiety or frustration to your day, it may not be the right thing for you. I’m a big believer in adding value instead of going the other direction. That being said, there are a few tried and true methods to help motivate and help others, which will in turn put you in a better position for success.

Liking, Following & Connecting

First, you should connect with businesses and individuals on all networks you currently use. Make a list of who you would like to support and tackle a few each day as it may take some time to search and locate them. Understand that some professionals and businesses may not be on social media. For Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn company pages, it’s a simple click of a button. But when reaching out to an individual on LinkedIn, its best to customize your connection request. Mention where you know them from, why you would like to connect, etc.


Tag appropriate individuals and businesses in your posts. This allows your network to have access to them as well. This works really well with upcoming events and promotions. Your network just needs to click on their name and it will take them to their page/profile. Typically, you can tag someone by simply using the @ symbol before their name or business name. It will give your referral partners more exposure and motivate them to do the same for you.


Take the time to comment on businesses or individual’s posts. This will help them gain exposure. Even if it’s a “Thanks for sharing” comment, it helps. Especially if it’s an article a referral partner wrote, you should leave a comment of why you found it helpful/interesting/funny or whatever. Again, by commenting regularly on posts and articles, you motivate others to do the same for you, thus increasing your visibility.


This can be done in several ways on social media channels. You can share an article written by someone on LinkedIn with your thoughts included. You can share event information on Facebook or Google+. You can share information on a business’s products/specials/offers to your network. You can retweet a business or individual’s post on Twitter with comments. You can also share their profile or page with comments on why they should be followed or ‘liked’ on all channels. Again, by sharing their information it allows them to have access to your network which could turn into referrals. It also positions you as a resource and someone who values others successes.

Reviews & Recommendations

Probably the most powerful is the review, recommendation or testimonial. We all build relationships with referral partners, business associates and clients. By taking time and leaving a review on Facebook and Google, writing a recommendation on LinkedIn, you are both helping that individual and building your visibility and credibility. Even if you’ve never used this individual’s service, you can vouch for their professionalism and character. Be specific and genuine. By giving reviews and recommendations, the majority of those you help will in turn help you.

These are just some actions you can take to help others. Keep social media SOCIAL. It’s all about building relationships. The more you help others, in turn, the more others will want to help you. It’s science. (Couldn’t resist, ha)

5 Questions to Ask Before Posting

We’ve all seen the posts. You know the kind, the ones that make you shake your head with embarrassment or stare with shock. It happens every day. But, it doesn’t just happen to the typical person on social media, it has happened to big companies as well. Here is a list of 5 questions you should be asking to help you avoid the ‘Social Media Fail’ which can lead to embarrassment or even worse.

1. Will this Hurt Anyone?

Is what you are about to post going to hurt anyone in any way. Sometimes we get upset or angry over life. That is normal. But blasting it out for the world to see is not always appropriate. And using ALL CAPS doesn’t make it any better.

2. Is this Too Much Information?

This is a broad umbrella question. From the deep personal facts/issues you may be involved in currently to posting about your ham and cheese sandwich. It’s just too much. This also includes scantily clad photos of you on vacation or the 100th picture of your cat. No one wants    to know or cares to know this much information about you.

3. Will I Regret This Later?

This can go many different directions as well. It could be a buzzed post from happy hour at your local watering hole. It can be a long rant about how much you despise your boss. This can even become a legal issue if you are involved in a car accident while posting something, posting something slanderous about someone or even posting very active pictures of you as you are going through a workers compensation claim. Take the time to think about whether or not you may regret posting the text or photo.

4. Would I Say This in REAL Life?

Odds are if you wouldn’t say certain things to actual people in real life, you probably shouldn’t be posting about it. That is what journals are for in the privacy of your own home. So think about the photo or context in your post before blasting it out for the entire world to see.

5. Why Am I Posting This?

What is your motive for posting this? What is your goal? Are you gloating about how awesome you are? Did you have a horrible day and would like everyone to know? Think about exactly why you want to share this information to the world. It’s not just your friends who will be seeing this post/photo. It could be a potential client, a co-worker….or even your boss.

Social Media Messaging for Businesses

What do I say? How do I respond? What is it and why is it important?

Yes, in my experience in social media there are certain questions I get asked over and over again. Each business is different, has a unique target market and message. Just as each business in the same industry is different, so must be our marketing campaigns. The platforms you are active in most depend on your ideal client. And, yes, I do want to help as many people as I can, BUT….I’m not giving away costly information for free. Lesson learned. As any professional in social media will tell you, the questions are constant and the line gets blurry when it comes to sharing information and tips.

So, with that said, there are some strategies that remain the same. A same ‘formula’ to using social media for business. Particularly small, owner-operated businesses who deal directly with the consumer. I plan on writing several blogs in the future that focus on a number of industries like health and wellness, beauty, real estate, business consulting, etc. But for now, I’ve listed some ideas to think about when marketing your business through social media.


No, you don’t have to be on every platform there is out there, just typing that sounds exhausting. But, the ones you are on who appeal to your target market must display the same feel, the same design and same overall message. No, this doesn’t mean copy and pasting posts on different platforms. Each platform has it’s own language. By making everything universal, it gives the consumer the reassurance that they are communicating with the same company. This goes for listing sites as well. Make sure if you are listed that your contact information is correct. I’m referring to sites like merchant circle, yelp, etc. Depending on the region, you may have different business listing sites consumers use.

Emotional Connection

No, I’m not going to get all mushy on you. But, there should be a reason people connect with your business online. Whether it be you share a funny joke, helpful tips or news updates, consumers want to hear what you have to say once they follow you. To get them to take action, you must connect with them emotionally. You can do this by humanizing your brand. Tell your story. Why did you get into this business? Who makes up your team? Why do you do what you do? As business owners, we all have different stories. And people love a good story. This doesn’t mean going into detail of why you are the best. Steer clear of ‘salesy’ posts….it’s not sales media, it’s SOCIAL media.


When I refer to messaging, I’m talking about the posts, the links, the graphics, the images you send out to the world on behalf of your business. This also includes direct messages and customer service, because there are entire generations who would rather send you a message on Facebook than call you. Just as each generation is different, so are target markets. So when thinking of posts to create or share you must keep your ideal client in mind. What types of information would THEY find interesting, helpful, funny or educational? This can also be links to articles of interest. If you are lucky enough to have a writer on staff, you can create blogs on your website and direct traffic from social media. That is the best case scenario, you want the consumer to move from social media back to you instead of an external site. Now, this isn’t always the case, we can’t all have a writer on staff. But you can use your website for material. Entire campaigns can be created using the content already on your site. Ideas like a series of posts going through and answering questions you get asked the most, a series of ‘did you know’ facts about your business, etc.

So, look for more to come on specific examples of content ideas and messaging for specific industries. But overall, keep it consistent, keep it fun and light, and tell your story. We all want to hear what you have to say. Each one of us has an experience, has had an obstacle to overcome and a story to tell. You can, in turn, help others by telling your story.

5 Best Social Media Practices for Small Business

There are many actions a small business can take on social media that will either harm or help them in their marketing efforts. The five actions listed below is the first step in making sure you are sending the right messaging to the right people.


First, make sure your business is set up online properly. It all depends on your target market as far as which social media platforms make sense. Regardless, your business should be set up on Google with a Googly My Business account. Each account you create and manage leaves a footprint which helps you be found easier by consumers.


REPLYING TO COMMENTS & MESSAGES: Create template responses to different scenarios. This is something you can create ahead of time and reference it when needed. Determine how often or how quick you would like to reply to direct messages. Although generally, you want to respond as soon as you can, you may want to also think about setting boundaries when it comes to appropriate times to engage with your consumer.

  • Keep it positive always, direct to private/direct message or offline if anything but positive
  • Set appropriate boundaries for replying to messages

MONITORING & RESPONDING TO REVIEWS: How you respond to a negative review has more of an impact than a positive review. In your Online Reputation Protocol, make sure you create custom responses to many different scenarios. Take conversation offline or in messenger if needed.


Develop a schedule of topics/themes to promote based off calendar events, seasonal promotions, product releases, etc. Keeping these topics/themes in an annual calendar will help you integrate your social media activity with other marketing avenues.

  • Schedule posts in advance. That way it frees up your time to focus on responding to messages, comments, etc throughout the day.
  • Track/monitor analytics on a per project or monthly basis. Focus on engagement insights instead of vanity numbers like followers.


The consistency is whatever works for you. Just make sure you keep it up.

  • Message (posts, replies) – Start with something you can manage, 1-2 posts per week, then build on that.
  • Response Time – Set a time each day to respond to messages and reviews. This is whatever works for you and your schedule. Take advantage of auto-response tools on certain platforms.
  • Branding (colors, images, font) – Keep your image consistent. Designate a range of branding colors and fonts to use throughout your social media activity.


This could be you, a team member or someone outside your business. Just make sure this person understands your company, message, voice, target market, etc. When one person is designated as a manager, it cuts down on messages and reviews falling through the cracks.

Breaking Up with Your Smartphone

My name is Courtney and I’m addicted to my smartphone. Sometimes its Facebook or Instagram that sucks me in. Sometimes it’s the endless rabbit hole that is YouTube or Pinterest. And sometimes I spend too much time looking at old photos and videos reminiscing. Sound familiar?

Well, being online is sort of what I do for a living. So, how do I break up with my smartphone so I can be more present in life while still maintaining my online social media business? I’ve read a handful of articles on this increasing issue and found this article pretty helpful. Although we are just into a week of 2019, I’ve found some actions that have been helping.

Understand WHY

First, what helped me is to identify why I needed to be on my phone. Was it boredom? Was it to escape? Was it to quiet my anxiety? A little bit of all of these to be honest. Once I realized why, it helped me develop a plan. There is so much life to be lived outside our phones. Think about 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Although our never ending news cycle has helped us be more informed, I feel it has also hurt us as a society. I found myself so ‘information drunk’ from digitally ingesting everything from actual news to funny baby goat videos, that it was running my life. And nothing should have that much power.

Set Designated ‘Quiet Hours’

Whether you work from your home/phone or not, this should help you. On most smartphones you can create ‘Do Not Disturb’ times where your phone won’t ring, vibrate or notify you of anything….you know, pure bliss. Determining the right time is crucial, because you don’t want to jump in headfirst. Start small and gradually increase your ‘quiet time’ the more you get used to the routine. Example: 11pm-6am would be a good start. I’ve got mine down to 5pm-10am. Working pretty well so far. Relay this information to those you talk to on a regular basis, that way they won’t assume you are blowing them off.

Be Present

I know it sounds silly. But it is a real problem for me. Whether it’s scrolling through newsfeeds during commercial breaks while watching TV or trying to avoid eye contact as you are in public transit, it’s all bad. I found that the more I was concerned with the posts from others, the less I was satisfied with my daily life. Which is a problem. It has affected my focus in work, my sleep schedule and my ability to pay attention to anything longer that 7 seconds. So when you are having a meal with family or friends, put the phone away. When you walk into the door from work, put your phone away.

Side rant: Have you paid attention to the crowds at events lately? Everyone is taking photos and videos with their phones. Just a sea of smart phones above the crowd at concerts. Be present. I promise someone with professional equipment who is skilled in videography is documenting this event so you don’t have to worry about anything but actually enjoying yourself. Maybe it’s a product of an oversharing world. I’m guilty of this as well. This post is not meant to shame, just information in hopes to inspire you to actually live, and not try and document your life for others to enjoy. Focus on enjoying YOUR life.

Find a ‘Home’ for your smartphone

Find a spot in your home that you can simply leave it and it won’t temp you for attention. I’ve found my nightstand is NOT one of those places. Way too alluring late at night when I can’t sleep. If you like to have your phone near you for emergencies or an alarm clock, find a spot in your room that you can’t reach from your bed. This way it won’t be the very first thing you reach for in the morning. Take a moment for you first. I’ve noticed a difference just in a few days.

‘Time’ Replacement

If you find yourself longing for your ‘fix’ you’ll need to fill the time and distract yourself from this distraction (I know how ludicrous this sounds, but that’s how I feel to be honest. Side note: I picture myself as Gollum longing for my precious) Sad and a little funny, but honest. Maybe some organization is in order. If you are anything like me, there is always an opportunity to be more organized. Which is pretty gratifying. Maybe it’s reading more, maybe its puzzles, maybe it’s cooking, whatever you are passionate about. Or get outside and take a walk, do some gardening or *Gasp* actually talk to someone. You know that thing we used to do before tech ruled our lives. Talk and really listen. It will feel good.

Work in Progress

No, I’m not perfect and I will never claim to be. Striving for perfection will make you just as anxious and depressed as overdosing on social media. Take each step at a time. Give yourself a break. I’m always up for feedback as well. Do you also battle with technology addiction? What has worked for you? Please, if you don’t mind sharing I’d love to hear from you.

How to be Unoffended on Social Media

This year more than any other year I’ve noticed how social media can negatively impact our world. We’ve all seen the posts…in all CAPS with a controversial image or video attached. Yes, I’m over it too. I live in the social media world and 2020 has just about broke me to be honest. And I know I’m not alone.

So how do we continue to utilize the positive aspects of social media without letting ourselves get sucked in to a comment battle with a stranger? I’m still learning and navigating this new world and have discovered a few actions that have helped me.

Limit Your Exposure

Do you check your notifications first thing in the morning? STOP! Take some time to greet the day. Drink some coffee, tea, etc and check in with yourself first before you take on the digital world. Once you are ready, proceed with caution. Understand there are fake accounts that are made and run to cause chaos. There are also people out there who love to watch the world burn. There are also good people who are spreading FACTS and this year it seems there’s an endless supply of people getting duped and spreading lies just to fit their narrative. Understand social media is a place where all of this happens. Good news is you can adjust your social media settings to limit or expose yourself to little or all of it. It is your choice.

Rise Above

Did you just see a post that made your head feel like it’s going to explode? Happens to me all day. I started tracking how much time I spend scrolling on social media and kept a journal on how my mood was throughout the day. Full disclosure – so not related to social media, I’m playing with my nutritional intake and its impact and taking notes. I noticed something. The more time I spent on social media, the more I felt angry. And if you are like me, feeling angry is no fun at all. Since social media is my way of life I can’t just ignore what is happening on each platform. I had to make a firm decision to not get angry or let what I see impact my emotions. It hasn’t been easy. Each person uses social media differently. Some use it to actually connect with others and their community. Some use it as a soapbox to spew all their views onto everyone – sometimes without regard to reality. I’d recommend letting those types of posts roll right by. Avoid commenting or even reading the comments if you can – some comment threads will actually make you question the future of humanity. Rise above and scroll right past.

Give Grace

But what if the dumpster fire post/comment is coming from someone you love and respect? It can get a little tricky. Especially in 2020 where our world seems to be on the brink of an apocalypse. First….breathe. Then give a little grace. Each of us are struggling with our own issues. This year it just seems heavier with everything that is going on both in America and the world. We all missed out of major life events this year.  We’ve lost love ones, we’ve lost businesses, we’ve lost a version of our reality. We’ve all seen the data – depression and suicide has skyrocketed, which we knew might happen. You never know what someone else is going through. Let’s give each other a little grace and kindness.

Why does it bother you?

One action I started taking once I start to feel angry is trying to figure out why it bothers me. What about THIS post or comment bothers me? And why? Is there something I need to check within myself that is making me feel this way? Each one of us has lived a different life. We all have experiences throughout our lives that shape how we view the world. All I know and understand is what I have experienced. I’ve found that it is very important to recognize that crucial fact. I will never know what it is like to live in this world as someone different than me. What I can do is try and understand why I feel the way I do and have compassion if someone else is hurting. If you haven’t done any self-reflection this year you are missing out. Understanding why some things upset you – that you can’t do anything about – will help you be more unoffended on social media and in the real world.

I hope these tips find you well and you are implanting something similar to maintain your sanity. If you have any other tips that have helped you – not including getting off social media – please share!