Anti-Social Media     

Anti-Social Media     

I’ve been taking a social media vacation. I needed a break. The more people I speak with, it seems that I am not alone. Others are also spending less time in their online communities yearning for a simpler way of life without the need for constant connection.

How is it that the very thing called social media has actually created a world that feels more lonely than ever before? Why does it now take effort to post, click, and interact, when it used to be light and fun? Why are many of us feeling anti-social with a need to disconnect?

There are a number of factors at play. The main reason this is happening is because we are actually having less and less physical interaction and the cyber world of likes, friends, and emoji’s has attempted to replace communication and connectedness. The bubble we’ve created of online dating and socializing has finally hit us hard. We’ve become burned out from this seemingly artificial way of feeling loved.

The problem is that we have forgotten what it’s truly like to bond and have intimate relationships which can only be created by speaking, listening and being present with another human being. Instead, we partially get involved when in truth, it isn’t a complete relationship. If we aren’t talking on the telephone, facetiming, or meeting up for coffee, then it’s somehow inadequate. Is it better than nothing? Probably. But when it comes to feeding our souls and uplifting our spirits, it may just be having the opposite effect.

With an increase in depression and suicide rates, it has shown that over time, this world of online chatter can magnify our feelings of loneliness, and leave us feeling depleted and unsupported. To top it off, if we’re already feeling down and then tune in to other’s fabulous lives on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, it only deepens our isolation.

Maybe it’s time to do a social media detox. Here is how:

  • Take a Break– Especially if you’re struggling emotionally or spiritually, stop scrolling through your social media accounts. The world will not end if you take 7 days away from your feed.
  • Replace it– Once you start your week long detox, replace your social media time doing something else. What excites you creatively that you’ve been putting off? When was the last time you read a book or took a class? How can you get back into real life instead of your online one?
  • Stop the Habit– Any habit or addiction takes work to overcome. You’ll need to literally make conscious efforts to leave your phone in the car or in a different room in order to be more fully present in your life. If you’re out with friends, stop with the impulsive need to check your accounts and BE HERE NOW.
  • Back to Basics– Start booking lunches and hikes with friends and make a point of bonding physically. Reach out to old friends in order to reconnect. If you’re looking to date, spend less time on the dating apps and more time at networking events or social gatherings. There is nothing more important than that we have physical connection, especially with those that lift us up.
  • Change Your Routine– It is so easy to do the same thing over and over again and sometimes structure is a good thing. But during this cleanse, force yourself to do something different. Finally book that group bowling or karaoke night or take a two-day getaway without the need to post every single detail about your trip.
  • Delegate – If you use social media for work purposes, hire somebody to help. There are plenty of people who can take over and assist with your online messaging. Learning to let go and asking for help will free you up and make room for exciting new opportunities and relationships.
  • Selfies to Selfless– For goodness sakes, stop with the selfies already. Feeling the need to capture every moment of your day is just boring and truth be told, nobody really cares about what you ate for lunch. Instead, be present in what is and breathe in every second instead of looking for the perfect lighting and backdrop for your next photo.

If you’re like me, you may feel more isolated and disconnected than ever. While it’s easy to blame social media, we cannot be held captive any longer. We must make a conscious choice to break free from this modern way of being and get back to living life fully. Spending time in nature, enjoying community, relaxing over candlelight and wine, and listening to soothing music are some examples of how to do this.

If you’re feeling burned out it’s up to you to make choices that lift you back up. The very thing that we have come to rely on to make us happy and to give us a sense of support, is doing the opposite. There is no better time to take a break and see what it’s like to enjoy yourself without the busyness of our online world. Day by day, start to cleanse and recreate new habits that are life-enhancing, heart opening, and ultimately, the way things were meant to be.

 

Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness and Lifestyle Coach Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com

He is the Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!

 

 

Are you Depressed or is it Just the Holidays?

Are you Depressed or is it Just the Holidays?

We’ve all felt down from time to time. Emotions are an integral part of what makes us human. Sometimes the low times can magnify the ups, so they’re not always that bad.

I have struggled with bouts of depression throughout my life. It began from a young age and has carried into my adult years. However, I have learned how to cope by taking great care of my physical health, doing the inner spiritual work and by being innately aware of what is going on with my thought process. But depression is a disease and sometimes it’s difficult to figure out when we are truly and chemically depressed versus feeling down because of outside circumstances or events.

This happens a lot during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Holidays, while supposedly fun and social, can also bring out deep-routed sadness. There are a multitude of reasons we get down with too much spending, family dynamics, and overall fatigue from lack of sleep or overeating topping the list.

Of course, always seek professional help if your depression lasts for extended periods or if you are unable to cope with day-to-day activities.

If you suspect your low mood is due to an external source such as the holidays, here are some useful tips to get you through it while minimizing possible depression and feelings of being overwhelmed:

  • Reduce Sugar
    This is a tough one especially during the holidays but sugar is a known depressant. Desserts and alcohol while initially causing a high, will lead to an ultimate crash in blood sugar, insulin levels, and overall energy. Allow yourself to binge a little bit during the holidays but know when to say enough is enough. Don’t feel the pressure to eat everything on your plate and drink one glass of water or soda between every alcoholic beverage to offset its effects. If something doesn’t tantalize your taste buds, don’t finish it.
  • Find a Friend
    Being around family for extended periods can bring out a lot of stuff from our past. Emotions can run high and toxic memories that we hold deep seem to surface quickly during the holidays. If you’re feeling emotional or drained, find a good friend to talk to. Decompress with somebody who knows you well and can remind you that you are in fact, sane, wonderful, and balanced and that family can bring out our worst. Friends can act as a therapist when we need them the most.
  • Take a Time Out
    Creating a morning practice is something that I recommend to all of my clients and friends. Journaling, prayer, meditation, and reading uplifting material every day, WILL change your life and your mood. It’s more important than ever to continue carving out this time during the holidays. Even if you have to get up 15 minutes early, it’s worth the commitment. This solo time will create a haven for you where you can get centered before the craziness begins.
  • Watch Your Wallet
    If you’re a giver, then this definitely applies to you. Many of us feel pressured to buy extravagant gifts during the holidays especially if others have done the same for us. Take the time to write down how much money you have for gifts (if any at all) and then create a budget for yourself. Carry it with you while you’re shopping and take notes in order to stay on track. Remember, the size or price of our gift in NO WAY reflects our love for somebody. A beautiful card with sincere words goes a long way, often meaning much more to others then a present. Don’t feel the pressure to give back. If you don’t have the money for gifts, learn to receive without the stress of having to return the favor. Those who truly matter will understand.
  • Keep Up with Exercise
    It’s totally fine to take a short break from your exercise routine during the holidays but don’t go too long. The longer you’re away, the more difficult it is to return. Also, exercise creates endorphins, which are the “feel good” hormone. They are more important than ever for those who are prone to depression. Push yourself to do short, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which takes less time but with better results. HIIT also acts as a wonderful detox from sugar and alcohol.
  • Learn to say NO
    So many parties, so little time! It’s easy to get caught up wanting to be social and to visit with all of your favorite people. You must learn that it is okay to say no. If you’re not a “hell yes” to an event, party, or get together, consider turning it down with a polite response. People who love you will not take it personally. It is always best to put yourself first because if we are drained and feeling down, we have nothing left to offer others.