This week has been all about asking ourselves questions to identify our needs, dreams and desires; to explore our thoughts and feelings; and to get honest with ourselves. Today is no exception. Today, I’d like to talk about social media. Because a big part of taking care of ourselves is being intentional about our lives, being deliberate about what we invite into our lives and what we keep out. It’s about making healthy, self-compassionate choices.
This is especially important with social media because it’s such a public space. Because, like any activity, it can add to our lives or take away from them.
Margarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.
Editor: Nadeem Noor
Using social media sites is so common right now that we often don’t think twice about how we use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. We just do. It becomes automatic — like other activities, such as driving to work or washing the dishes. We go on autopilot. We have an experience, and we share it. We capture a moment with our camera, and we post it. We have a certain thought, and we casually announce it.
(Of course, I’m not speaking for everyone. Many people are cautious with social media and have very specific, clear-cut boundaries when using it. But either way, it’s still good to revisit and review your use from time to time.)
Lately, I’ve been thinking about social media because even though I often spill my soul in my writing (which is published on the Internet, of course), I’m shier on Twitter and Instagram. Every few months I also take a step back and take a break altogether. While I really enjoy seeing things others post, for me, social media can feel exhausting and even awkward.
Here’s a list of questions to explore how you use social media today and how you’d like to use it tomorrow:
- How often do you check different social media sites (in a day)?
- How do you feel when you’re checking each site?
- How do you feel when you’re posting (and after you’ve posted)?
- Do you currently feel comfortable with how you use these sites? Are you comfortable with how much you reveal?
- How do you want to use these sites? To stay in touch with family and friends? To connect with other entrepreneurs or people in your field? Both? For some other reason? Try to be clear about your purpose and intentions with each site.
- What boundaries have you set around social media, if any?
- What boundaries would you like to set? For instance, maybe you lay out what you’ll post and what you won’t post.
- Do you feel pressure to be someone you’re not on social media?
- Do you find yourself yearning for validation or affirmation (e.g., wanting to get a certain number of likes on Instagram)?
- How do you feel about yourself when using social media?
- How do you feel about your body when using social media?
- How do you feel about your life when using social media?
- What thoughts usually arise when you’re using social media?
- Does your use of social media take time away from more important interests or activities? Which ones?
- Does your use of social media infringe on your time with loved ones?
- What do you love about social media?
- What do you dislike (or even despise) about social media?
- Do you think you need to take a break from social media?
- Would you like to schedule regular breaks?
Again, taking good care of ourselves includes examining our days and how we fill them. For many of us social media is one activity that fills each day (or most days). So it’s important to check in with ourselves regularly to see how we’re using it and how that use affects us.