Taking a break from social media?

I got asked about what my opinion on taking a break from social media (or doing a social media detox)? And whether i would/will take a break from social media.

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My opinion on a social media detox is that it is great for those who need it. It is easy to get consumed by social media… even those who don’t have social media as their “Job” can be consumed and obsessed by social media. Infact, i have noticed that it is sometimes those who don’t have social media as a “job” that get the most negatively effected by social media and by comparisons etc

I think it is just healthy to take a step back from social media and focus on actually being present in life and living life. I mean, how many times have you done stuff with friends or family or done stuff such as concerts, parties etc and you just spend your time taking lots of photos and videos that you never really experienced what was happening? Or you spent so much time using your phone and updating social media that you forgot to actually speak to your friends/family/partner? If you aren’t addicted to social media then you might not relate to those scenarios. I can say.. i have been there. Where i have spent more time on my phone than being in the present. Spent more time speaking to people online than i did with my own family, or friends. And it was not healthy.

The more time you spend on social media the easier it is to compare your life with others. Also it is easier to get caught up in likes and numbers if you are far too consumed by social media and if you put your worth and validation in whether others “Like” you or not.

One thing i have noticed when watching others use social media, especially instagram and facebook, is that many don’t actually like photos or posts. They look at the picture/video/text and then scroll by… sort of ghost followers. Likes really don’t mean much either and comparing likes, followers etc will just lead to negative feelings and mindset. You’re worth is NOT in numbers or whether others choose to like your picture/text/video or not.

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In the past i also felt more pressure to post often. Several posts a day on instagram and my blog… but now i just post when i have time and feel like it. If i don’t have any motivation to write posts or no inspiration, well then my blog won’t be updated and i refuse to feel guilty over that. And with instagram, well if i feel like taking photos of my food or posting in my stories then i will but i don’t pressure myself to post. Though considering that i eat several meals everyday it is not so hard to share atleast one picture a day or have “Back up pictures” (Meaning, that i take a picture of both my lunch and dinner one day and then just post them on two separate days. So to those wondering, no i don’t take pictures of my food everyday.) I enjoy posting to instagram and scrolling through IG, it is not something i pressure myself to post on and it is not something that gives me a negative feeling.

Also i spend alot less time on social media now a days than before… of course, somedays i can spend alot of time online, so it varies alot. But whenever i am with friends or family i try to just put my phone aside and be present. I don’t need to document everything. Just like when i workout or do other stuff in life, i no longer (i.e for c.a 2 years now) feel the need to share it online… i can do stuff and can workout without having to tell everyone online ahahha. So i only choose to share small parts of my life, just so that i can be more present in life and living. Just like many days i go for walks and just leave my phone at home, or atleast keep it in my pocket for the whole time and don’t check it.

Also one of the things i have started doing recently is to NOT check my phone/social media the first thing i do when i wake up. For years, it has always been the first thing i do and can lie in bed for 10-20 minutes after i wake up just scrolling through social media. But now i wake up, turn off my alarm, maybe put on a podcast (not sure if that counts as social media?), drink some water, make coffee, eat breakfast if hungry and just take 10-20 minutes before checking my social media. And also not replying to any messages until 2-3 hours into my day has started. And this makes ALOT of difference for me, and helps to take a step back from social media.

I know that alot of social media is “fake” or atleast an altered view of reality. I have stopped comparing my life, my body or my goals with others. Everyone is different and i know that most people have bad days, body photos just show the good sides and angles and that behind goals achieved is alot of hard work. And the best is just to focus on myself. But most importantly, to focus on my own life and living life.

I enjoy social media, but i know that it isn’t real life and that the important thing is to focus on life and living.

 

So will i take a break from social media? If i feel negatively affected by social media or i don’t have time for it or it begins to stress me out then yes, i will. But for now i don’t see any need to take a break just for the sake of it.

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I do recommend that everyone does a little self reflection over their own use of social media. Ask yourself, who do i follow on social media? Do they inspire and motivate me? Do i follow any accounts that trigger me or give me negative feelings? Why do i follow the people i do?

You can’t change what others choose to post, but you can choose to unfollow or block people if they trigger you or give you negative feelings. I personally have certain accounts which i don’t agree with what they post or the message they send out, and certain accounts that just give me a negative feeling afterwards and i don’t follow them, or i just block them if their pictures are always in my recommended page.

And no, don’t ever feel offended if someone unfollows you or blocks you. I have had people block me in the past and that is ok… if they find that my content triggers them or makes them feel bad about themselves, then blocking me is what is best for their health and i don’t take it personally. It is worse when people who don’t like what i post or what i do choose to send me hate messages. It is better to just block and move on.

I do see social media as part of my hobby/job and something i want to grown and expand. So posting is not only for enjoyment, but also because it is something that helps my brand grow and can give me more opportunities in the future.

The fact is that now a days you sort of need social media, or you are seen as “Outside” if you don’t have it. Which is kind of sad as kids and children are using social media at such a young age… i mean there are kids who are instagram stars and youtube stars and aren’t even 10 years old. It is kind of sad, but i think the important thing is to self reflect over your own social media usage and be honest to yourself about why you use it and how much you use it and whether you need to take a break from it.

Anyway, i hope this answered your question and to anyone else wondering.

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Dealing with anxiety – distractions or sitting with the anxiety?

Dealing with anxiety…. that is something i know far too well. Unfortunately, i have had to deal with different types of anxiety for many years of my life.

When i look back on my life, it is only in recent years that i have realised that i suffered from anxiety at a young age. But back then, i never really knew what it was…. i didn’t understand anxiety or why i felt the way i did. I realise now, that alot of the thoughts and feelings i had were due to anxiety. Alot of my anxiety was due to worrying and being a perfectionist back then… the worrying of “what will others think?”, “how will it go?”, worrying about the things i can’t control or all the things that might go wrong. I still have those thoughts and feelings, the anxiety before something new, or anxiety with change or with unexpected/surprise/new situations… but that is a post for another day.

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This post is about how to cope with anxiety:

I am the type of person who relies on distractions to cope with my anxiety.

I go for walks, i clean, i cook, i bake, i listen to podcasts, i go to the gym. I distract myself from my anxiety until it goes down.

And sometimes when i am in the middle of a very bad anxiety attack i have to call someone and talk to my mum or my sister because no other form of distraction works.

Distractions don’t always work…. sometimes i go out for a walk or go to the gym to distract myself from my feelings and thoughts but end up just wanting to cry or lie down on the ground because i still feel awful on the inside/in my mind.

And there are times i try to distract myself with watching YouTube or cleaning or cooking, but i still get the feeling that i just want to crawl out of my skin and get out of my own mind and thoughts.

Othertimes i need to just lie curled in a ball and listen to a podcast and play candy crush or scroll through social media such as instagram, Tumblr or Pinterest to distract myself from my anxiety.

Usually keeping myself busy – especially things like work, cleaning, baking, cooking are helpful for me. I am not the type of person who can just be still and sit with my anxiety.

However… that is the main topic of this point. That sometimes distracting yourself from anxiety isn’t always a good idea. Sometimes you just have to learn to sit with your anxiety and know that it will reach its peak eventually and then it will lessen. The more you run and distract yourself from anxiety, the worse it gets. Sometimes you just have to sit with your anxiety, take deep breaths, maybe sit with someone else or if you have a pet, and just listen to music and take deep breaths. Or even writing down your thoughts can be very helpful.

Distractions are a way to run from your anxiety, and i think facing your anxiety… just like with all problems is the best solution. Sure, distractions work… but they won’t always work. Or there will be times when you can’t distract yourself.

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When i was in eating disorder recovery, one of the things i had to learn was to sit with my anxiety before and after food. 

Before meals there was this constant build up of anxiety and i tried to distract myself with Suduko or Youtube or blogging, but after meals we always had a 30 minute rest time where you had to lie down on a matteress and just rest. And at those times you couldn’t distract yourself from the extreme guilt and anxiety you felt. Instead you just had to take deep breaths. The fact is, that after those 30 minutes the anxiety had begun to lessen somewhat….. not always. Most days the anxiety was non stop because it was 6 meals a day and anxiety before and after each meal. But eventually the anxiety began to lessen and learning to just sit with my anxiety and not have to distract myself or turn to coping mechanisms to deal with the inside feelings, thoughts and panic.

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It is also important to note that when it comes to anxiety regarding food and exercise, there will be times when you can’t distract yourself from the anxiety either. Example, if you are eating out with friends, or if you are on holiday with family, then you can’t just excuse yourself to go for a walk or start cleaning or baking. At those times you just need to sit there and take deep breaths and eventually the anxiety will reach its peak and then it will begin to lessen.

The more you learn to cope and sit with your anxiety, the stronger you will get. You will realise that the anxiety won’t kill you. The anxiety won’t harm you, it is the actions you take to distract/cope with the anxiety that are harmful or dangerous. Also you will begin to realise that you can infact cope with the anxiety, you can sit through it and be ok.

I no longer have anxiety regarding food or exercise, instead it is alot of worrying about the uncontrollable, worrying about things in advance, worrying about the future etc etc

But one of the things i have forgotten over time and stopped doing, is just sitting with my anxiety. Instead i try to distract myself and like i mentioned in the beginning, it doesn’t always work… and i don’t think distracting yourself is the most beneficial over time.

Sure it works sometimes, but i think over time you have to learn to sit with the anxiety and not distract yourself or use harmful mechanisms to cope or escape from your own thoughts. Of course like most things, it is easier said than done.

This is just my thoughts on the subject….. and as mentioned earlier, i have sort of forgotten to just sit with my anxiety and instead rely on distractions. However, i think i am going to try to rely less on distractions and more on just deep breaths, journalling and music to get me through my bouts of anxiety.

I must mention though, that since changing work my anxiety has decreased SO MUCH. I felt incredibly awful – for a bunch of different reasons (i.e illness, antibiotics, stress, anxiety, worry), but can actually say i am doing good now and don’t feel that constant worry and anxiety inside of me. Even if i had alot of nerves, worries and anxiety before starting the job… i have realised that those pre-anxiety nerves and worries/anxieties aren’t always called for. The mind makes up so many negative scenarios and situations and i think of all the things that could go wrong and build up this negative scenario in my mind and things never go as wrong as i think.

Yet another long post – i really should start with YouTube and talking about these subjects. But i would love to hear your opinion on this subject…. if you struggle with anxiety, do you rely on distractions or do you just sit with your anxiety until it is gone?

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I have some previous posts about anxiety here:

Anxiety attacks & help

Dealing with anxiety and panic attacks 

Anxiety and mental health day

Signs of stress/burn out

Mental health posts

Gut bacteria and connection with eating disorders , anxiety, depression

Types of anxiety/my thoughts:

Work related anxiety? 

Summer anxiety

Stepping outside of your comfort zone, trying new things

Change is scary – Feeling both anxious and happy…..

Comparing lifestyles – feeling like you are not doing enough

Overcoming social anxiety as a vegan

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Work related anxiety? If the price is your mental health, then the price is too high.

Let’s talk anxiety…..

Recently i have felt my anxiety coming back again, after c.a 2 weeks of little to no anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety is overwhelming and makes me extremely tired and incapable of doing basic things in life. And other times the anxiety is just at certain times of the day, or a constant anxiety following me the whole day and i can’t really point out the reason for the anxiety.

At the moment it is the type of anxiety making me incapable of doing normal, basic things…. a constant anxiety. Work related, future related. Over thinking, worrying, stressing….. Things such as anxiety to read my emails, anxiety to answer my telephone and thoughts of “what will others think” are popping into my head.

All of these 3 signs, are just a symptom of me needing a break…. but having a break also gives me anxiety. Infact when i have tried to rest and have a break from work i get anxiety over the fact that i am not working or i feel like i should be doing something else productive. But at the same time, working gives me anxiety….. i only have 2 more weeks left of my current work before i begin my next work for the summer, and i hope these next 2 weeks go fast. I have realised that my current work (the same as last summer) is not a work situation i want to do again. I have tried it, i have learnt alot but just like last summer it gives me extreme anxiety and i feel like i lose all control in my life. I can’t control my day, i don’t have a schedule, i begin to fear opening my emails or answering calls and not knowing when, where or how often i will work is not good for my mental health.

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I am someone who needs control in my life. I need structure and routines as well. As long as i have a schedule to follow i am fine, and i don’t mind having irregular work times… infact i much prefer working mornings somedays and evenings other days. I am not someone who wants to work 9-5 everyday. But never really knowing when your next job will be or where it will be is not working for me.

I love working and i love working hard. But i also know that going to work should not make you feel anxious. You should not dread getting a phonecall from your employer, you should not feel so anxious you can’t sleep because of your work situation.

I am looking forward to the 8 weeks of work i have for the rest of summer, even if it will be tough and stressful times, it doesn’t give me anxiety thinking about it. But also i love writing posts, i love posting to social media and trying to connect and help others. That type of work i LOVE and can gladly do for 12 hours a day.

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Sometimes you need to do work just to pay the bills, but at times you have to ask yourself… is it worth it to sacrifice your mental health? If the price is your mental health, then maybe it isn’t worth it.

This is something i am taking with me for the future. For now i only have 2 more weeks and i am hoping that my anxiety will lessen so that i can feel more like myself again and not have this constant uncomfortable and anxious feeling inside of me.

Enjoying being alone – Introverted – Not meeting friends | Advice

Being alone doesn’t mean you are lonely. Infact i am someone who loves my alone time and it takes special people to get me to give up my alone time to be with others.

I am very introverted…. or well, i would say i am an ambivert, because when i am with the right people, or when i am comfortable with friends, new people or my family i am very open and talkative.  When i first meet people i can give the impression that i am withdrawn, silent and maybe even shy when infact i am just observative and choose my words. I might not open up fully until i feel comfortable… but then once i am comfortable my sarcastic humor and my joy for deep conversations and even just talking about everything and anything will begin to show.

What i wanted to write about in this post is about spending alot of time on your own. Maybe you don’t have alot of friends, maybe you are just very introverted or maybe you don’t have time to meet friends and miss out on social events. I would say that i am all 3…. i have a few close friends, i am rather introverted and like my alone time and this summer i am working a whole bunch so don’t always have time to meet when my friends are free from work. So that means that this summer i will spend alot of time on my own.

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This isn’t something i am worried or feel anxious about. Infact i like being alone… i have my routines, i have my habits and i am constantly connecting and talking with people online and talk to my mum on a weekly basis so i don’t feel alone, even if it can go several days where i haven’t talked to anyone. Though of course with work, i can constantly be “talking” (i.e saying hi, have a nice day, and how much everything costs) for 8 hours… but there are no real conversations.

I don’t mind this… but i also know that i need to meet friends. I need to spend time with people who i can talk to about my life or my problems or just sit and laugh with.

If you are someone like me, who enjoys there time alone a little too much .Or who doesn’t feel the need to meet others to be happy, i would suggest… atleast try, a few times a month to meet friends or family. 

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To meet people who you can talk and socialize with. It is so easy to lose focus on real life and real people, especially if you are someone like me who uses alot of social media. Because it can feel like i am constantly talking with people when i infact haven’t spoken a word all day. And that can be very isolating in the long term. It is important to meet people in real life, to continue developing social skills.

If you feel like you don’t have close friends and that is why you are always alone, maybe you can start a new hobby or join a group and try to make friends that way. Even some local FB groups you can make “friend advertisements” and see if you can find people who want to meet you in your city (of course, there are pros and cons to this).

Try to make an effort to meet people a few times a month, because it is positive for your mental health. So maybe call an old friend, meet a family member or why not go on a Tinder date if you are confident enough for that! ( I have personally gone on a few Tinder dates just to meet people every now and then even if it isn’t anything serious, it is also a good way to step outside of my comfort zone and learn new people. So now i don’t even find it nerve wrecking to go on “blind dates”).

It is ok to be introverted. It is ok to enjoy your alone time. Just make sure you aren’t isolating yourself or spending all your time alone.

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I also admit i do get jealous over people who have lots of friends or are always doing things with friends. I sometimes wish i had a huge friend gang which i could spend time with, but i don’t easily make close friends and sometimes have my guard up a little too much to let people into my life, which also makes it hard to make friends. So i just want to say that if you are like me and don’t have alot of friends… it is ok. And know that even those who seem to have a huge friend circle, they don’t always have close friends. And well… some people just make friends easier than others, and i don’t actually have any tips to make close friends apart from just putting yourself out there, meeting new people and trying to be open and open to making friends!

Also a tip, you can always combine things like going for a walk with a friend to both get a workout in and meet a friend (if you don’t have alot of time.) or schedule a lunch date so you can eat lunch and meet someone/a friend!

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This is just some thoughts i have had recently. One of the things i like about school is that it means i meet friends every week when going to lectures or seminars. But during summer it is always so hard to meet because of different work schedules and people travelling away, not to mention that i amn’t the best at keeping in contact. So one of the best tips i can give as well… is to try to stay in contact. Whether it is via FB messenger, instagram or snapchat. Just try to keep a regular contact with people so that it is easier to just spontaneously meet and catch up!

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Signs of stress/burn out

One of the first signs that i am overworked and stressed is being constantly tired. Being able to drink 3 large cups of coffee in one go and still feeling exhausted.

Also memory loss. I would say i have rather good memory, but when i am very stressed i can begin to forget ALOT of things. I can leave keys and cards everywhere, forget about important dates and just simple things i forget completely. Infact i have very little memory from the years that i was depressed and struggled with my eating disorder.. some of it may be repressed memeories as it was very traumatic, but i was in a blur and i wasn’t giving my mind enough energy so i don’t have alot of memory. Only when i look back on certain pictures or previous posts that it can respark a memory i had forgotten… i kind of see this as a good thing though, there is alot from those years that i DON’T want to remember.

Sleep problems – meaning both finding it hard to sleep and then sleeping in until 10 or 11am. When i am feeling relaxed and not suffering from stress or anxiety then i naturally go to sleep around 11pm and wake up at 6 or 7am without an alarm and i feel energized. But when i am not feeling healthy, then i can be awake until 2-4am and either wake up at 7am or wake up at 11am. And somedays i’ll end up sleeping 12-14 hours straight and still feel like i have been run over by a bus.

The simplest of things can feel like too much. When i am very stressed or anxious i almost want to cry because i have obligatory lextures or seminars and i just can’t find the energy to go to school or leave the house.

I don’t workout or go to the gym. When i am stressed, anxious or overwhelmed i can’t find the energy or motivation to go to the gym, so either i just don’t workout or i go out for a short walk to get fresh air. The gym is a form of therapy and anxiety relief, but when i am stressed or very anxious it takes far too much time and energy to get myself to the gym and working out… not to mention that my normal weights feel soo heavy and a 30 minute walk can make me want to lie on the ground and refuse to ever get up. Might sound extreme, but it is my bodies way of signalling just how tired and burned out i am… that just the bare physical movement takes so much energy. My whole body feels heavy and like my brain is in a fog.

Which brings me to the next sign/symptom… brain fog. I can’t think clearly and i can end up saying weird things because i can’t seem to formulate myself… not to mention trying to write essays or formulate myself properly in text can be extremely hard. Which is one of the reasons i don’t blog when i am very stressed, anxious or feeling overwhelmed because i just can’t think straight. I don’t feel inspired to write, have no creativity and when i do try to write it can take me 2-3 hours to try to write a post because i can’t seem to formulate myself in text.

Also irritability and moodswings. The smallest of things can irritate me and i just get this inner angriness and feel irritable at everything. I am a very calm person and it takes alot to irritate me, usually i don’t care… but when i am already feeling stressed and overworked the smallest of things can be too much.

Distancing myself, this has alot to do with the lack of energy i feel. I don’t have the energy to meet people or socialize, i don’t have the energy to go to school and don’t have the energy to reåly to messages. Infact, online conversations can give me even more anxiety when i am already feeling overwhelmed… just the thought of having to reply to people and try to hold a conversation is one of the reasons i don’t reply, because i don’t want the person to answer – so it is easier to just not reply.

 

I remember when i was very depressed, this was just my normal state… always tired, sleeping problems, memory problems, couldn’t think clearly, brain fog, my body felt so heavy and tired and i could barely do half of my normal workout or normal weights because i felt so tired physically and mentally.

These symptoms and signs are NOT normal. Brain fog, memoryloss, extreme tiredness mentally and physically, sleeping problems…. they are signs that something isn’t right. They can of course be signs of other problems which can be physical, such as certain food allergies can give these types of symptoms and other issues. So if you are suffering from some of these symptoms, do seek help and talk to someone.

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For me, the only thing i need to do is rest. To destress and then i begin to feel more like myself again, but it can take weeks to fully recover mentally. Burnout and stress don’t just happen overnight, it is a process that happens over a longer period of time and the signs start slowly appearing and you don’t really register them until it’s too late.

Take time to rest mentally and physically each week. (post about importance of mental rest days HERE)

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