In so many ways, social media is no different to the news or the media.
Just as it's important for our mental wellbeing, in these uncertain times, to stay informed but to limit our intake of news and media - it's the same with social media.
The messages might be different. Perhaps the intention behind messages on social media may also be different. But it's still heightened with all the words, opinions, thoughts, stories, voices. There's so much information we are continually exposing ourselves to, taking in and absorbing, and spending so much of our energy posting or scrolling through social media.
I just cannot see and feel how this constant, switched on relationship to social media, supports us individuals, and collectively, for our mental wellbeing. And to me, mental health and mental wellbeing is more important than anything.
I see and talk to so many people feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, depressed - especially right now - or just feeling heaviness with uncertainty - and I can't tell you how passionate I feel about changing our relationship to social media, just as we change the news and any updates we take in. It's all the same. It's all information.
It's a time for us to be deeply honest about our choices, and things we can change to support ourselves, and each other. This includes our relationship with social media.
I deeply encourage you to look at your own personal use of social media and how it's impacting your own mental wellbeing. Asking some very honest questions about your time on IG and FB and others. Questions like -
Is this making me feel good? Is this supporting me? Do I feel happy as I read this? Do I feel empowered as I read this or watch that story? Am I really feeling connected to that message or to that person? How is social media really making me feel? How do I honestly feel in my body as I scroll through my phone?
And, if the answers are coming up in a very honest and authentic way to you, then really listen. Be really honest with yourself. You may well feel okay with how you're using it and that's great if so. But if you know deeply within yourself that social media is impacting your mental wellbeing, then please take this time, right now, to make some conscious and intentional, and deeply honest changes, that I know will change so much for you, in a positive way.
When we make positive changes for ourselves, our whole wellbeing benefits. Our mood lifts, our immune system becomes stronger, and we start to see all these other ways we could be doing other things, and in more quality ways. And through these times of uncertainty, we can find more light and more joy. And more quality ways and spaces to connect with others too.
I would also encourage us, collectively, as part of leadership - especially in the self improvement / wellness/ coaching space that I am part of - to consider how we are using social media, what we are saying and sharing, and how we might be impacting others with our messages, in both a positive and possibly not-so-positive way. I passionately encourage us all to be deeply honest with ourselves about this.
What messages are we putting out there? Are we truly adding to support? Do we have the knowledge to really be addding value to this? Are we serving by sharing this? Are we supporting others to feel hopeful and positive? Are we also keeping it very real and relatable for others, in a compassionate way? Are we not only speaking words but following through with action? (so important). Is this truly necessary and needed right now? Instead of this post or story, could we be connecting or supporting in a more quality way?
Are we just adding to the noise and to this heightened social media climate? Or could we perhaps instead, really consider how we might lead more deeply and discerningly, through sharing less? Less is more. Adding to the spaces of quiet, calm, stillness. Stepping back, slowing down within ourselves, honouring what we believe in for our own wellbeing and mental wellbeing especially, and taking action in honestly following through on these beliefs.
Compassionate and embodied self leadership in every way. Care, consideration, compassion, connection, community. All the 'C' words that are truly resonant for me, right now, and always. And when I think of mental wellbeing and how I know this to be so necessary with everything, I can visualise really positive shifts and change if we really honour our beliefs around all of this, in conscious and intentional ways.
I was having a conversation with a journalist friend of mine last week. And as we spoke, it was really intersting to me to start to notice even more, right now, my reactions and responses to the news and to social media. As I choose and need to stay informed. But I also have very strict boundaries for myself around what I read, what I take in, and how often I do this. It's not surprising that when uncertainty rises, these boundaries get tested, and I notice when I'm slipping away from these, and I bring myself back to myself in a very honest and assertive way.
You see, I don't mess around with things when I know they're not supporting me. I've learnt to be very aware and honest with myself all the time. And if I know I'm feeling any anxiety or something just isn't making me feel good, or it just doesn't feel right for me - I notice, I become aware, I listen, and I change it. Literally, I click my fingers, and I make a change (I thank my mentor, Hayley, for the clicking fingers approach, it works for me). It becomes a non-negotiable for me.
Mental wellbeing is everything. I may not be able to control circumstances, but I can control my mind, and my own inner world. We all can do this, it's part of self responsibility and self leadership.
But what felt interesting to me was that I hardly use social media these days anyway. Or, I've changed my relationship with it, very much over this past year. I use it very consciously and intentionally. I don't scroll mindlessly through a news feed. I choose whose pages I visit and what I read and take in. And this way of using social media has changed so much for me, in such a positive way.
But even in the conscious, intentional and very limited times I was on social media this past week, I have felt my anxiety increase far more on facebook or IG, than by anything I have read in the news or through the media. And to me, this speaks volumes. And I know I'm not alone. I'm hearing this from many others I speak to, which is why I feel so passioante about expressing all of this.
There is deep wisdom in the phrase 'less is more'. And I know I personally choose to only add to healing and not to harm, and a part of that is by knowing my own relationship with social media, as someone who takes in information, and as someone who adds to the messsages too. Because I truly and deeply choose to support in a compassionate way.
I know and belive that 'less is more' and I choose this way as my way of being. It supports my own mental wellbeing, and it supports others too.
I'd love for you to really consider what I've expressed and written here and if any of this feels resonant and true for you. I'd love to know your thoughts and to have a conversation with you about this, if you feel called.
Our mental wellbeing is more important than anything. And I passionately choose to support you and others, through these times, and always, in all the ways I can.
PS. If you'd like holistic wellbeing and compassionate coaching support, then I'd love to talk with you and you can read more about working together throug this link -
Katie Jane is a Life Coach, Health Coach, Counsellor, Nutritionist, Naturopath, Holistic Psychologist, Mentor, Writer, Meditation teacher. She has been working in the wellness industry for over 15 years and brings all of these qualifications and skills, along with her own lived experiences through challenges, changes and transitions. Katie works with clients in private practice in Melbourne, as well as online and over skype to other parts of the globe. Her approach to life and wellbeing is truly holistic and unique for each individual. She supports and coaches clients to make powerful changes in their hearts and in their lives.