Social Media Anxiety
These are divisive times. Not only have we been going through a global pandemic, seeing those we love falling ill, dying and people everywhere wearing PPE and masks, it seems like we have already been traumatized. We have been trapped in our houses (I am being a little dramatic here…) or have been an essential worker, dealing with sick people, panic, anxiety and food scarcity. When this first began, I remember thinking, “ok, maybe we will be locked down for just a few weeks, it will be alright.” I packed up my two kids and headed to the store because we obviously needed food. We ended up getting a massive amount of food for our family, for fear that there would not be anymore and we would be trapped inside for weeks.
Now this past week, an old wound has been reopened and for good reason. A man was murdered in cold blood and it was caught on camera. This senseless act of murder is not the first incident, but a long line of incidents that has happened to the Black race since they were forced to come to America to be enslaved over 400 years ago. Since then, there have been several historical uprisings by the community to get the rights they so deserve, that is a RIGHT given by the United States Constitution, a founding document of our country. It famously states, “We the people, of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” The first line of “We the people'' establishes that all who are citizens of the United States are GUARANTEED the rights in which it protects. I think we can agree, as Susan B. Anthony stated when she was championing women’s right to vote that, Black people are PEOPLE, and therefore are protected by the rights given in this founding document.
Because of the climate, there has been so much on social media. Peoples’ opinions are rampant. Relatives are posting things that we may be embarrassed and shocked over. There is divisiveness everywhere. People are questioning their whole lives and what they thought they knew. New information comes to light every day, and the voices of the oppressed are just now finally really being heard. Even so, there are some accounts on Facebook and Instagram that are STILL being censored and deleted.
If you feel conflicted, that’s ok. Anxiety and overwhelm could be how you feel daily at this point. We have been through collective trauma together. We have to do better, be better and acknowledge that there is a real problem. We have the power to create real change. We have the power to unwind past wrongs, to say we are sorry and that we are listening. We must allow this conflict to open us and let grace and love in. Choose to love instead of to hate.
I wanted to share some tips for your social media anxiety since emotions are running at an all time high right now.
1.) Think of your social media stream as your house. You really would not allow someone in your house that you were uncomfortable with, or that were combative. Curate your feed. Follow accounts that inspire, inform, educate and bring joy to your life.
2.) YOU get to choose who you follow and who you do not follow. There are 4 actions you can take on FB to curate your feed.
a.)Block- this makes sure that the person cannot see your profile and you cannot see theirs, ever. This can be undone, but I suggest that once you have blocked someone, keep them blocked. You don’t need that energy in your life.
b.)Unfriend- you will only see a limited profile for them and they will only see a limited profile for you. They will know that you have unfriended them, FB does not send a notification, but they will notice you are not coming up in their feed.
c.)Unfollow- remain friends with the person and just don’t follow their content.
d.)Snooze for 30 days- Your crazy Aunt or Cousin has said something really offensive, and you want to still follow them and think they will calm down in 30 days. Snooze.
3. Breathe. There is so much healing power in your breath. My suggestion is a cycle breath. That is a breath in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, then out through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat 15-20 times. Try not to think of anything by breathing in and breathing out. Make this a daily practice, and not just when you are feeling anxious, that way it will be automatic for you to do when you are feeling anxious.
4. Write or speak. Sometimes, we get anxious because we are holding back the truth that needs to come out. Even if you don’t post publicly, write all of your thoughts out in a journal or type in a doc. Allow yourself not to think about what you are writing and just write. Let your thoughts guide the pen. If you’re not a writer, call a friend and vent. Tell the friend you are just going to talk and you need them to listen.
5. Step back. Set some real boundaries around your social media use. Put the phone aside and don’t look at anything for a few hours. Use that time to practice mindfulness. Study objects around you and notice the small details. Or use the time to do things that make you happy. Create a list of things that make you happy and prioritize doing at least one of those things each day.
Remember, you are never alone. We are here for you if you need to talk. Starting next week, we have weekly group classes focused on owning and healing self-worth.
Click the link, here, to fill out the application to register!