This guest post comes from social media maven Jenni Prokopy, founder of ChronicBabe.com. Jenni draws on her experience with fibromyalgia and other conditions to teach women to live incredibly in spite of illness. She shared the following insight with us in the wake of the election earlier this month.
I’m hearing from people throughout our community that they’re really struggling, whether it’s political disagreements, family arguments, anxiety about the upcoming winter holidays, lack of a diagnosis, new symptoms, the darkening days of winter…. There are so many things challenging us at the moment.
I’m right there with them. I’m struggling. I’ve had a few days during the past two weeks when I had to force myself to take a shower (and some days, I didn’t succeed). I heard someone say they were measuring their progress the past week by how much less they cried each day, and it dang near broke my heart. I completely relate.
One thing I’ve realized is that social media is contributing to a lot of my anxiety, depression, and fear. Especially in the past few days, I’ve found myself checking Facebook multiple times each hour and feeling outraged, saddened, and powerless over and over, for many reasons.
But what good does that do? That behavior is detrimental to my physical and emotional wellbeing. I feel like all the world’s struggles have been coming at me and tussling inside my brain. So much of what I was seeing is out of my control, and yet I felt a compulsion to try to fix it all. That is exhausting—and futile.
So I’m taking a mini break—just a few days off of all social media. I’m setting a boundary, and nothing is getting inside until I decide I’m ready. There are many ways of setting boundaries to protect our mental and physical wellbeing; this is just one way. And it’s a-ok. It’s perfectly fine to take a break. Seriously. We need it sometimes.
I’m hoping my mini social media break does a few things:
- Helps calm my anxiety and challenging emotions so I can re-focus my energy on my work, personal relationships, and health
- Gives me some time to think about how I want to use social media strategically moving forward, instead of compulsively check-check-checking all day
- Inspires me to create more meaningful ways to connect with people in person or on other platforms besides Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
- Provides some peace and rest so I can come back online ready to be a stronger advocate for our community than ever before
After just one day, I already feel a lightness and relief to not be checking my phone constantly, so I know this is the right decision. A moderator is watching all ChronicBabe social media accounts to ensure no shenanigans, which lets me rest easy. I’ll be back at you next week, and I look forward to it.
In the meantime, you may want to consider taking a break yourself. You may want to remove social media apps from your phone for a day, or turn off notifications. Maybe you take a break from one of them, most of them, or set a timer so you can only be online for a small amount of time each day. You get to set this boundary any way you want, and you can change it any time. How magical is that? If you decide to take a break, let me know. I’m curious to know how many folks are joining me.
This piece reprinted with permission from ChronicBabe.com. Contact the author directly if you wish to reprint it, as well.