Monday, 25 March 2019

What To Do When Social Media Isn't Bringing You Joy


I am not a millennial. But I have always embraced and get on well with technology and social media.

I have a full-time Financial Services career in the City of London. What I do for a living is not dependent on my social media following. Yet, I truly enjoy the connectivity that I get and the connection that I built from it.

Having said that I can't deny that there have been times when I felt negatively overwhelmed by social media. While I've never experience instances whereby I feel the need to completely shut down my accounts, I definitely acknowledge that there have been times when social media do not do me any  favour for my mental well- being.

Today, I thought I'd share how I navigate the situation when I am negatively affected by social media. When it doesn't bring me joy. When it doesn't give me inspirations or knowledge that I am after.

Typically, when this happens, I  step away from it and go back to basics.

Practice Gratitude

Firstly, I remind myself that social media accounts are something that I maintain entirely separate from my full-time job. I should be grateful that I have a career that enables me to be self-sufficiently independent. One that provides me with a steady monthly income, a vast variety of employment benefits, and a generous paid annual leave. The income that I earn provides me with roof over my head, food on the table, opportunity to travel to places and to treat myself to nice things. Practising gratitude often reminds me how much I already have, puts things into perspective and stops me from focusing on what I don't have.

I then ask myself two fundamental questions - Why I have these social media accounts and what I use them for?

Facebook

Facebook is the first social media account I created. When I created my account, I was a year in, living in London, having moved from Kuala Lumpur. It is not only a great platform for me to maintain connections with my family and friends but also, creates an opportunity to re-connect with so many of my former school and university mates.

As someone who lives far away from family and friends, Facebook has enabled me to keep in touch with them and to keep abreast with the things that are going with their lives. My Facebook connections are definitely based on people whom I truly know in person. Today, I use it sporadically, and mainly for travel photos sharing. But two of my favourite things on Facebook are 'Birthday Reminder and the 'Memory' features. It is always fun to be reminded who I was with or what I was doing on the same date in previous years.

Blog

Believe it or not, my first blog was created in early 2000 - probably was not my best work. I definitely didn't know what I was doing and used it mainly to whine about how busy my work life was. At that time I was working full-time while trying to complete my professional accountancy qualification. 

When I moved to London in 2006, I created another blog. By this time, I had strong support from other bloggers who are my real-life friends. I kept the blog going until around 2013. As the majority of my friends dropped off from the blogging radar to make way for other real-life priorities, I blog less and less and eventually stopped because I didn't think I had an audience - which is probably not the best judgement applied on my part. 

After two years of blogging hiatus, I re-launched theflairsophy. I simply missed writing and penning down my thoughts. I needed a space to download thoughts in my head. Whenever I don't pen things down, my brain feels cluttered and that affects my mental clarity (or lack of it).

In spite of the rise of Instagram, until this very day, I still enjoy reading blogs as I find blog reading therapeutic. While Instagram feeds my thirst for visual appeals, blog posts tend to be more well-thought of curation, a good alternative to reading a magazine and forms part of my lazy Sunday morning routine. 

Instagram

I was introduced to Instagram by a good friend of mine, over dinner one evening. I simply signed up to the platform without actually knowing what I was doing. It was also about the time when I had recently bought myself a DSLR camera and was getting into photography. At the time when I started my account, not many of my personal friends were on it. While Instagram could be linked to Facebook, I've always kept them separate based on the simple logic - no one needs to see the same photo twice.

I have always visualised Instagram to be the platform where I connect with like-minded communities who share common interests with me. As such, my account has always been publicly accessible and my following (albeit small) comprises of both people whom I know personally as well as my 'internet friends'.

Twitter

Probably the least used platform. I created one when it first launched and after a while I deactivated it. I re-created an account when I relaunched this blog as an avenue to promote my blog posts. Even with that intention, it is still the least used platform and one that I could escape not logging into for days.

I believe that social media can be a good thing when used correctly and appropriately. But with most things in life, too much of anything is never a good thing.

So my key takeaways when it comes to using social media mindfully are as follows:

1. Use it intentionally and be absolutely clear why and what you're using it for. 

2. Follow the right people, those who bring your joy, add value to your life, give you inspirations and provide you with the knowledge that you're after. 

3. Do not fall into the comparison trap. Always always remember that social media postings are curated and it is only a minute fraction of the reality that people choose to share. 

4. Be more present, and it is absolutely OK not to be on social media or taking the necessary break if you need to, because our offline lives equally matter, if not matter more.

I hope you have found this useful and let me know if you have any other takeaways on how to use social media mindfully? I'd love to hear! x


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