Social Networking Comfort Zone

I’m taking part in scroll free September which is being run by the Royal Society for Public Health. The campaign is designed to help us all reflect on our use of social media and to take a break to improve our mental health and wellbeing.

I’ve decided to go cold turkey (and start a week early). On Sunday evening I started my withdrawal from Facebook and Twitter. During the first twenty four hours I was surprised by the level of anxiety that I experienced. I will qualify this by saying that I took the quiz to work out my Social Media Index (bottom section of the RSPH website) and according to that I am at low risk however I do find using social media like a distraction activity that I do regularly during quiet periods in the day. Not having that caused me some anxiety to begin with and during the first day I also found myself with more time that I expected. All the very tiny slices of time actually turn out to be a large amount of time when taken together so I was able to ‘get more done’. During the first day I did more jobs around the house including helping my daughter Hannah redecorate her room. This was beneficial in two ways, firstly it gave me time with my daughter that I was not aware I was missing until that day, and secondly the physical work actually leads to a sense of achievement, things are getting done.

Over the last few days the levels of anxiety have steadily decreased and been replaced by a feeling of calmness and serenity. I realise now that there is an addictive element to even the most casual use of social media which builds anxiety. The need to post updates becomes an imperative. The need to check what’s going on. Social networks definitely play on this. Since leaving Twitter and Facebook they have used email to reach out to draw me back, here are just a selection of the notifications I’ve received..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve also received a growing number of push notifications on my phone, some of these have been specifically triggered by my absence since this is the first time in a decade that I’ve spent more than a day away from social media. This in itself is quite shocking. I am still learning how to make the best use of the time I’ve freed up however I would encourage everyone to take part in this, if only to reflect on the habits that build up which are unconscious until we put them under the microscope. This has been a revelation for me. I am well aware of the benefits of social media however I’m sure that this has positively disrupted my habits around social media use and made me critically reflect on how my time is being spent.

Advertisements