Parenting, in fact, living has been changing and evolving so much in the last twenty years. I sometimes feel like we are all involved in some grand experiment about how computers and smartphones will affect society. I can remember before there were cell phones and yet I still use my smart phone a billion times a day and can’t imagine being without it. And social media is the most addictive thing in the strangest way. You just constantly find yourself checking to see what is happening while you were away. And there is always some fabulous post about all the good food, good friends, and cool places you are missing out on. So if you find this happens to you (or your child) and you find social media is increasing your anxiety levels, it may be time for a break from social media. Today I happy to welcome Jill Sylvester, a mental health therapist and author to share with us her expertise on taking a break from social media.
Studies have linked the use of social media to depression, anxiety, poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem, inattention, and hyperactivity — often in teens and adolescents. – Healthline
Jill Sylvester recently authored the self-help book, Trust Your Intuition: 100 Ways to Transform Anxiety and Depression for Stronger Mental Health (affiliate link below). It has a warm, conversational tone but helps coach you through feelings of anxiety and depression. You will learn helpful techniques she uses in her own private practice. Today, I get to share an excerpt from her new book, reprinted with permission, on why taking a break from social media may be just what you need to help ease your anxiety.
Feeling Anxious? You May Need To Take A Break From Social Media
by Jill Sylvester
Using technology for the good it provides, like staying connected, and doing research on topics you are interested in learning more about. Understand recognize though when the social media zaps your energy and you become unproductive. Like anything else, moderation is key. When you begin comparing yourself to everyone else’s perfect life, understand that is an illusion and if you spend too much time on social media, you can get swept away in that illusion, losing the vital force of your own life.Taking breaks each day to read, engage in other activities, or better yet, connect with someone in person, is good practice. Set time limits for yourself, and schedule breaks. Know yourself and when you feel you need to step away and do that. Honor what you need and feel better from the stepping back of what might seem like fun but be unhealthy when you engage in social media for too long.
The Importance Of Taking Social Media Breaks
The following book excerpt has been adapted from Trust Your Intuition: 100 Ways to Transform Anxiety and Depression for Stronger Mental Health by Jill Sylvester, copyright (c) 2019. Published by Old Tree House Publishing.
Yes, even if you’re not a teenager. Take breaks from everyone else’s happy, perfect, beautiful lives. Trust me, as a therapist, I can tell you that’s likely not the whole picture. Feeling down often comes from comparing yourself to everyone else. If you start to feel bad from surfing online—or your body sends you a migraine—shut down the connection. Use technology for what you need. Social media can be an amazing tool. However, when you’re done researching for work or pleasure, shut the thing off and go read a book, go for a run, or even better—go talk to someone in person.
Use social media for good and recognize when the beast sucks your energy and you become unproductive. Like anything else, moderation is the best practice. I remember posting a picture on Instagram one Sunday morning of my perfectly set dining room table with a post that stated how everyone was home for breakfast and our family time together was going to be great. The table looked so inviting! Meanwhile, shortly after I posted, my son stayed in bed because he felt tired (from playing Fortnite) and I sat at the breakfast table feeling sad because the four of us weren’t sitting together like I planned. So much for the post! The picture looked great, but that’s not really how things went down.
Call to Action- Do you need a social media break?
How often do you engage in social media? What do you enjoy most? What don’t you enjoy? What do you need technology for? What time limit per day, per subject, would be healthy for you? How do you know when things become unhealthy? What are the signs your body gives you? They’re there. Trust those messages. Power down for periods of time when you’re at home. The information will still be there the following day. Make the choice to honor how you feel.