Social Media Anxiety

First, let’s start with some housekeeping. I am re-sharing my Medium article on the blog (same article but listed under a different title). If you use the following link to read this article, I will earn a small commission. It might be only a few pennies but it’s better than earning nothing at all. This article is behind a paywall on Medium but I want to make it available for everyone to read.

♡ Medium Article: Is Social Media Making You Anxious?

Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

Social Media Anxiety

It is no surprise that technology has become predominant in everyone’s lives in the past 20-something years. People now have smartphones and smart TVs, and they don’t even bat an eyelash. Smartphones especially have been making life a whole lot easier by enabling people to stay in touch with friends, classmates, and family at any time of the day. It can be hard to not check your social media sites or text your friends constantly but we love being connected. With the click of a button, we can find pictures and videos of animals, recipes for some of our favorite foods, or any photo from friends’ latest vacation. We have everything at our fingertips and everything that we could want in the palm of our hands.

(っ◔V◔)っSerious Question: What is Social Media Anxiety?

Social media sites can make people feel anxious when they use them too much. It’s important to think about how checking the sites impacts you and try putting the phone down even if you don’t want to stop using the site for good. We can all relate to the feeling of being sucked into the vortex of social media. It’s hard not to get distracted by all the yummy recipe videos and adorable photos of our family pet, but it doesn’t come without a cost. Look at that mouth-watering slice of pie and think about how your homework isn’t going to do itself. One more scroll is time that could be spent doing something more productive.

♡ Related Article: It’s Time to Stop Procrastinating

Down the Social Media Rabbit Hole

Image Source: https://www.deviantart.com/aya-mei/art/

If it’s not the perfectionist’s rabbit hole, then it’s the social media rabbit hole. You may find it hard to get out of the Facebook and Twitter loop when you spend too much time scrolling through social media. It’s important to take time for ourselves, but these days it seems like it’s almost impossible to do so. With the world at our fingertips and the internet constantly online, it can be difficult to unplug. You are always expecting someone to contact you even if you’re not that social yourself. When your phone is constantly in reach and within sight, it’s hard to avoid distractions from all of this constant connectivity.

Social media can have a negative effect on your life if you mostly use the platform for negative engagements such as arguments or venting frustrations. This manifests as social media anxiety where you worry about updating social media and partake in this compulsive behavior because you feel obligated to check in constantly. And it’s not just the social media platforms themselves that are the cause for concern; some experts say that engaging with these platforms too much can lead to a number of mental health problems, such as depression, depression, and FOMO. 

You might have social media anxiety if you answered “yes” to the following questions. Keep in mind that these behaviors could lead to symptoms of anxiety:

Questions
1. Have you ever compulsively checked your phone, laptop, or tablet?
2.
Do you spend hours scrolling through social media feeds?
3.
Do your friends and family think you spend too much time online?

What can you do about it?

There are a few ways to stay off your phone when you don’t want to. For instance, if you’re talking with someone in person, keep your phone in your pocket. Other tips include turning off all notifications and using an app like Freedom, which automatically blocks apps that cause addictive behaviors while blocking notifications. This is a way to control your social media scrolling by not splitting attention. Stop reminding yourself that there will be more to look at. If you’re unable to access your social media for a while, it will create anxiety in the short term and make you more productive. It’s worth standing up for your social media rights as they allow people to communicate, with friends or family. Pictures are a great way to show people where you’ve been or what’s happening in your life. You can send me photos of your pet any day!

(っ◔◡◔)っKey Takeaway: It’s important to remember that social media is supposed to be fun. If you find that it’s not fun anymore, then it might be time for a break.


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

I am mindful of the impact social media can have on mental health, so I make a conscious effort to limit my usage. The upside is that by limiting my use, I am not exposing myself to social media as much. Less time on social media means less anxiety. These days, I am mainly active on Twitter and this blog. I’m not active on Instagram (@serene_hilz), but I do check it occasionally. As for Facebook, my account has been collecting virtual dust for some time.

You can also connect with me on Twitter (@hellokitty8404) and I encourage you to subscribe to my website at http://www.sereneluna.net so that you can receive the latest updates from me.

Thanks for stopping by! ❤

6 Habits to Stay Focused in a Distracted World

As I cozy up to my laptop while sipping my second cup of caffeinated orange pekoe, I contemplate what to write for my next post. Lately, I have had many days where I feel like my time could have been better spent (I’m looking at you, Twitter). Do you ever feel guilty for not doing the thing that you know you should be doing but really don’t want to do it? It is becoming increasingly more difficult for me to stay focussed and motivated to write blog posts, let alone log into WordPress. I am very behind on replying to comments, visiting other blogs, and interacting with other bloggers. It has become more of a chore which is not a good thing, especially since I still need to flex my writing muscle. Blogging can be a lonely path but it’s the path I choose to take.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-REFLECTION 🍵💕

If you have been following me on Twitter @hellokitty8404, you’ll know that I am struggling to find significant meaning and purpose as I am grappling with difficult circumstances in my life right now. I use Twitter mainly for habit tracking and weekly updates. It has gotten to the point where I am more of an open book on Twitter than I am on my blog, which is kinda ironic considering that social media is the thing that kills productivity and keeps us distracted in this already highly distracted world.

If I have the slightest chance of succeeding as a hobby blogger, then I need to have a list of habits that help me stay focused, especially when writing is the last thing on my mind. Even though I no longer need to focus on studying for exams (I graduated in December 2020), I understand that working on a writing project or reviewing notes for work requires a similar level of discipline and focus. If you have a similar desire to be the best version of yourself, then you too will need to learn how to develop strong discipline skills and a constant desire to learn new things. Personally, I feel like this list I have created below ↓  applies to university students as well as ambitious Millennials. Let’s get started, shall we?

6 HABITS TO STAY FOCUSED IN A DISTRACTED WORLD: A PRACTICAL GUIDE

1. Log Out of Social Apps. You have no reason to be on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Log out before these addictive apps take you down a rabbit hole that not even Alice in Wonderland wants to explore. Once you’re an active member of these apps, it becomes even more difficult to leave – good luck with that. Seriously. Don’t kid yourself. 5 minutes turns into an hour. An hour turns into 3 hours. Using your smartphone? Even worse. It’s almost impossible to put the phone down so I suggest hiding it so it is out of sight, out of mind. Log out of the messenger apps too while you’re at it (texting is just as addictive). These apps have no place on your phone which brings me to my next point.

2. Take a Social Media Hiatus. I promised myself in January 2017 that I would not download any more social apps. I seldom keep social apps on my iPhone and use my phone for what it is: a phone. There seems to be a new app released every 6 months and it’s exhausting trying to keep up with them all. This is similar to having a second job but this “job” doesn’t pay your bills. So unless it is a passion with a purpose, why bother? Btw, I am still taking a hiatus from Facebook and Instagram and have no immediate plans to return to these platforms. You can still follow me @serene_hilz so that you’ll receive updates when I eventually decide to return to Instagram. I haven’t posted anything new in years but my thoughts remain the same about social media. Thank goodness I’m done nursing school! 👩‍🎓

3. Go to Bed When You are Tired. Tired at 10 pm? Go to bed. Don’t make the same mistake as me where I end up laying on the couch at night, mindlessly playing Candy Crush or watching dumb TV shows on Netflix. I enjoy staying up late at night when it’s quiet and there are no distractions, but at the same time, extra sleep is really important for mental health and concentration the following day. Nights when I do not get enough sleep, I end up sleeping in and wasting the following day or week playing “catch up.” Go to bed and take cat naps if this is an option for you.

4. Make a Plan every day. This one seems obvious. My MIL suggested that I get a planner. Planners can be purchased from a Dollar Store and it doesn’t have to break the bank. I also bought a journal to write in whenever I am not using the notepad on my iPhone. It helps me stay in the present moment and keeps me focused on important tasks. When I complete a task, I highlight it in bright yellow which gives me a sense of accomplishment. The dopamine rush I get from doing this is much healthier than the brief adrenaline surge from Facebook or some other addicting app. At the end of the month, I review everything I completed plus I don’t feel the temptation to wander mindlessly through my notes, older blog posts, etc.

5. Email is Your New BFF. Forget texting and FB messenger. I once used texting as a way to have deeper conversations with online friends. I thought that these conversations were meaningful but I don’t have a record of them; only a virtual footprint 👣 If I want access to my past conversations, they are buried among hundreds of thousands of text messages that probably won’t be looked at again. I like e-mail because I can keep the important files and discard the rest. The email I use is the same one I had since I was 12 so if a classmate or long-lost relative needs to contact me, they can. Looking back, I remember when we used to send chain mail to our e-mail contacts. It’s bittersweet digging up old emails but I have deleted the majority of them.

6. Classical and Chillstep. If you have a hard time staying focused like I do, try listening to
music. Not just any kind of music, preferably instrumental music. My muse is classical piano music, Lofi, and Chillstep (it’s an acquired taste). YouTube makes it incredibly easy to stream playlists so I recommend starting there. I also used to be into this weird sub-genre called Nightcore, which is another acquired taste. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I even made my own Nightcore songs and upload them to YouTube. At one point, I was so bored that I spent a few weeks pretending that I was DJ Hilz or something.

Note: You can find my YouTube channel @hellokitty8404. I guess people seem to like this music because my channel currently has 538 subscribers to date, and my most popular video has 269,712 views. 💁‍♀️


(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

The world is full of distractions, especially in this digital world, and it is becoming more and more difficult to stay focused. I believe that if you are able to implement my list in your own life, you will be able to focus on the task at hand. ✍📝

If you enjoyed reading this blog post or would like to share some nuggets of wisdom with me, please join the conversation below ↓ in the comments section. I know I haven’t been the greatest at replying to people in a timely manner but I want to get back into blogging again. However, I am always open to discussing this topic with like-minded people who are also motivated and driven to succeed!

P.S. You can now easily save this blog post on Pinterest by clicking here.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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Lingering Hope

My goal for the New Year is to upload more content without setting a set-in-stone schedule. Lately, I have been bothered by the amount of negativity taking place in the WP community. That being said, I am not going to let one Torontonian blogger dim my sparkle! ✨ I recently caught on that she has been purposely shadow-banning me on her blog by removing me from her follower list and sending all of my comments to her spam folder. Seriously, who goes out of their way to remove followers?

This past week, I have been meditating and reflecting on a few things and I realize that drama, both offline and online, negatively impacts my mental health and well-being. This week, I started cutting back on the amount of time I spend on my phone, especially social media, even though the bulk of the drama is taking place in the WordPress community. I don’t think that she and her followers (some are my followers as well) know that I have read their comments. Be careful what you say, because not only do your words dig deep but they also say a lot about your character. Personally, I love how Ryan Biddulph from Twitter handles this kinda thing.

Lingering Hope

Disclaimer: This poem was originally posted as its own daughter page, so nobody stumbled upon it. Even though this poem is unrelated to my little rant *above* I still wanted to include the poem in this blog post, as a way to bring more content to you all. If you like this poem, feel free to check out my other poetry musings here

Thanks for reading! ♡

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Pandora’s Box

It has finally happened. All of the sleepless nights I spent wondering whatever happened to Jenna* became very clear but only for a millisecond. I had forgotten that I buried Pandora’s Box under a pile of 0’s and 1’s, hidden in a place where boredom and curiosity finally revealed it for all its worth. In other words, I didn’t realize that I had access to her gossip and haterade. I had completely forgotten that we were still “friends” in that realm which meant I would be able to see her entire profile. However, whether or not it was my Guardian Angels or God, they protected me at that very moment. Reflexively, I deleted Pandora’s Box, where it will ultimately remain out of my reach forever, and I did this without thinking, without comprehending what had just happened. I only realized what I had done seconds later. Without reading all of the FOMO that I could have feasted my eyes upon tonight, everything vanished before curiosity could even kill the cat. In the end, I didn’t get to see or read anything, which is the irony of it all.

Spoiler alert: the cat is very much alive. Here I was, so close to getting what I wanted, and when I finally had the chance to read her latest gossip like a kid in a candy shop, I had banished it before my eyes like a parent to my inner child.

Did I do this subconsciously out of anger and loathing?

Or did I do this because, at that very moment, a spirit much larger than humankind decided to protect me? But what does this even mean?

Was there something in Pandora’s Box that would have deeply hurt me had I read it? I mean, JD hurt me terribly, and I am still trying to move on in order live a life free of drama.

But what exactly was in her box that I needed to be protected from?

Perhaps, if I am being protected for my own good, then this realization makes me even more curious about what was in Pandora’s Box. At the same time, this eye-opening experience is a reminder that I must remove my washed-up digital footprint from the universe so that another rendezvous like this one won’t happen again. People say that whatever you share online lasts forever, so if that statement is true, I will finally remove my past by locking it up for good and throwing away the key so that nobody, including myself, will have access to it.

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Jenna* is no her real name. The name has been changed because of #confidentiality

 

Social Comparison on Social Media

If someone told me 10 years ago that I would be married by now with a child, I would have laughed at them and thought they were insane. I never imagined myself to be where I am now but despite my highlight reel, I do not make a point to brag about it on Facebook and other forms of social media. I am one who despises when other people brag about how great their lives are and it would be hypocritical of me to do the same.

That’s great your career is going well and you just bought a house with your boyfriend. That’s great you just got a promotion. That’s great you had a wedding that I wasn’t invited to. That’s great you have a lovely family and a million siblings – I wonder what that’s like! That’s great you post a gazillion photos of your amazing life every day. That’s great you are pregnant and a couple years from now you’ll be pregnant again. Since I cannot get away from these announcements, I cut myself off of social media. Please tell me in person so I’ll actually care in a genuine way. The last place I want to find out is on Facebook, where I feel pressured to conform and congratulate you in the most shallow way possible.

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“Being different isn’t a bad thing. It just means that you are brave enough to be yourself.” -unknown

Now, I know that we all have problems but we seldom hear about the bad things in life. I much rather hear about someone’s struggles than see a constant highlight reel of someone’s life. My parents have instilled in me to only post the good things because otherwise, people would know me on a deeper level. Go figure! Isn’t that the point? To connect with people on a meaningful level? Let’s face it, shallow isn’t a meaningful level. If I cannot post freely, then I rather not post at all. I hope that my family doesn’t find this blog because the moment they do I will be getting an earful of lectures. Once my mother found my Instagram I stopped posting because of her criticisms. My parents find ways to creep my Facebook so I stopped posting there as well. My second “private” account is not so private if my real name is searched. Now, how did that happen?? I honestly question the Facebook privacy settings.

My husband strongly discourages social comparison but he doesn’t understand it the same way I do. He didn’t struggle with life the same way I did and he doesn’t suffer from depression, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation. For me, social media brings out feelings of jealousy so I am better off being ignorant to the newsfeed. He says that I attract certain people and in a way he is right. I seem to resonate better with unhappy people in general: the high school drop-outs, low-class people from dysfunctional families, unhealthy people with medical conditions, pessimistic people who see the glass half empty etc. In a way, I want to help them, and perhaps I feel sorry for them. It’s hard for me to resonate with people who are exactly like me.

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Husband with our sweet baby girl.

These people, in contrast, trigger my anxiety and depression. I am not only comparing myself to successful people but when my life is at a standstill I am even more prone to self-loathing. I have a strong, innate desire to be successful and exceed people’s expectations and with that comes dissatisfaction and feelings of unworthiness.

From a distance, someone may think that I have a good life, and maybe I do but its hard for me to see it. I cannot understand why ANYONE would be jealous of me. I have A LOT of struggles but they hardly see this side of me. I occasionally use a private forum on my phone for well-being, logging and calendar charting. I like the anonymity of the social feature but it also saddens me since I will never truly get to know these ladies beyond a phone screen. The relationships are shallow and just as quickly as we became forum friends, one can easily hit the “unfollow” button which I am equally guilty of doing. It’s not that I have anything against these ladies (unless they are rude and end up on the blocked list). However, if you fill my home page with bragger-y, TMI posts, pregnancy announcements, big accomplishments that crave praise etc. I need to protect my sanity (aka. my inner child, the identity I actually resonate with). I hope you understand that my well-being is a delicate vessel that needs nurturing which only I can nurture. My inner child does not receive proper nourishment from validation, likes and praise on social media and yours shouldn’t either. That would be similar to feeding my inner child candy bars, chips, and soda. I need REAL nourishment and that satiation can only come from within.

 

 

Texting Killed the Conversation

There is nothing wrong with texting. In fact, it’s the main way that I communicate with people these days. Being in an isolated location and supervising a newborn 24/7, it’s very difficult to socialize in the real world. Throughout the last 8 years of my life, I became a texting queen. My writing has improved significantly and my WPM speed is stellar.

woman-smartphone-girl-busFor the majority of people, their writing skills may have suffered for the same reason my skills have improved. With the convenience of texting and messenger apps, emojis, acronyms etc. are hurting our writing etiquette. I am beginning to dread the *PING* on my phone; the notification that someone messaged me. Immediately I get a rush of adrenaline and dopamine and before I know it, I already opened the app. Disappointed, I see that a Facebook “friend” (or acquaintance) has sent me a “hi.” That’s it. Hi. Nothing else. No introduction. Just a Hi.  Really now?!

Hi. Hey. Sup. Wazzup. It’s all the same to me. How are you (and God forbid, hru) is pushing it. I used to be inclined to answer to all of these texts and realized over the years that I was just wasting time. One-word responses killed the texting conversation before it even had a chance to grow and flourish into a deep, rich engagement between two people. With a little bit of optimism, I would end up replying with a sentence, hoping that they would get the hint and say something meaningful. I press >>send<< and moments later I hear another *PING.* I open the message with anticipation, only to be more disappointed. They sent me an OK. Just an OK. They couldn’t even be bothered to write the whole word. Maybe next time they’ll send me a LOL or an emoji or some dumb meme that’s been floating around social media.

I decide to call it quits. Before I have the chance to send a sarcastic reply, an eye roll emoji or “……”, I mute the conversation. I put my phone away and get back to work. Minutes later my mind starts racing and I begin to question whether they replied to me. I begin to feel bad ignoring them, so instead, I reply and kindly ask them to stop sending one-word texts. Sometimes the conversation will stop dead in its tracks and I won’t hear from them again. If I’m lucky they take my constructive criticism, but usually I get a response along the lines of “OK” or ‘how are you?”

I have completely lost faith in this person. I delete the conversation, and hit “unfriend.”