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.
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.
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!