Soapbox

How we use social media could make or break us

I got a haircut recently, and my hairdresser and I had a big old whinge together about how Facebook has become a nasty place that sometimes makes us hate the world, a little bit.

I’m the first to say I generally enjoy social media. I use it and value it – there are clearly so many benefits; for connecting people and communities, for sharing a range of views and ideas, and even for supporting social change. Two years ago I wrote about how social media campaigns can have an impact, by influencing social networks on issues like same-sex marriage, through simple mechanisms like the rainbow profile picture campaign. How sad, by the way, that two years later we STILL aren’t there, Australia…

But it feels like a nastier place lately. The comments sections on Facebook particularly, have always been fraught, but now they seem soul-sucking, showcasing the worst of our tendencies towards blame, spite, and an inability to consider other viewpoints. It’s like the new outlet for road-rage. Continue reading

Anxiety, ‘Manifesting’ and Kindness (be warned: getting into ‘nicer world’ territory here!)

I was due to write another Simplicious monthly post this week, but I hope no one minds if I skip the September post, and instead write one next month to cover both September and October. I have still been cooking from the cookbook as per usual – but have been a little preoccupied and not had the time to properly reflect on it.

I mentioned in a recent Instagram post that my anxiety has flared up again, after some weeks of being in denial about it. I’ve written before about going off my anti-depressants back in 2014, with a follow-up post one year later in 2015. Reading back over them, I realise that a lot of the strategies I had previously been using to manage my anxiety have dropped off; and I’d returned to some quite serious fear-based thinking. This might have been triggered by a number of personal circumstances outside of my control – but was not responded to particularly well by me (and my tendency to catastrophise…).

I think I’d also gotten a bit smug about it all. About ‘getting back in control’ of my anxiety, which over time led me to stop prioritising my mental health and the strategies that help me to manage it. So I’ve started to bring those things back in, in small, achievable ways. When I recently wrote a post about ‘frantic doggy-paddling’, a very kind commenter named Mel suggested the Slow Your Home podcast, which had also been mentioned to me by a friend. I’ve been listening to it in the car, and really enjoying it. Listening to it regularly in this way is also serving as a constant reminder to be mindful, intentional and to slow down. No doubt I’ll be writing more about it in the near future – the Slow Home Experiments are really interesting, and I’ve just started the October experiment on decluttering (yes, MORE decluttering!Β  πŸ˜€ ). Continue reading

My 2015 New Year’s Resolutions were… unsuccessful.

A year ago, I wrote about my ‘resolution’ for 2015: to use social media more mindfully. Less, yes, but specifically more deliberately – not in the absent-minded, scattered, trying-to-fill-a-hole-in-time kind of way. Refreshing Facebook in the hope that some interesting article will appear, to occupy my brain momentarily and make me feel like I’ve spent that time in a worthwhile manner.

For the first part of the year, I did alright. I had rules for myself around when I could check in with social media during the day. It was kind of liberating, and useful when I started studying again and needed to focus. Then it started to sneak back in dribs and drabs, until suddenly I’m grazing on social media while lying in bed again. The blurring of lines also came about, I think, due to the connections and friendships I developed with people online – some of whom I have subsequently met in ‘real life’, and some I haven’t. Although I’d like to break the social media addiction, I’m not willing to give up those positive relationships. Continue reading

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