3 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health in a Fast Paced Social Media World

I grew up in a time when mental health wasn’t discussed pretty much at all, and when it was, it was a source of shame and embarrassment. One of the many advantages to social media becoming the phenomenon it is, is the discussion and acceptance it has created surrounding mental health. Between campaigns such as #BellLetsTalk and #HereForYou, speaking up and advocating for your own and other’s mental health has all but become the norm. While social media has allowed such an amazing achievement, considering where we were a mere decade ago in terms of the conversation surrounding mental health, it has also brought upon an onslaught of potential triggers that can negatively impact your mental health. Though at times it may seem impossible to escape the negativity being shared in social media, it is invaluable to put the following steps into practice to protect your psyche.

1. Define What News or Posts Negatively Affect You

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In the past few years social media feeds have taken a turn, not necessarily for the worse, but the subject matter has definitely heightened. Once, your feed was simply a place to share milestones with your friends and family, now when you sign on you can expect to either witness or take part in discussions or arguements running the gauntlet with everything from politics to religion. The hot topics we were warned against discussing in the past have become the very topics that fill our newsfeeds each and every day. While for many this can have little to no impact on their day to day lives, for more it is a constant source that can trigger anxiety and depression, to name a few. Though it is impossible to stop the constant flow of these conversations and articles without deleting your social media accounts all together, it is possible to do a self assessment to see exactly which topics bring up those feelings of overwhelm or dread. Being able to take a stockpile and identify the topics that triggers you, will allow you to begin to use social media with less apprehension and more ease.

2. Unfollow or Block Triggering People

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Though social media is an absolute gift that has allowed us to connect and reconnect with family and friends from your past, it has also brought forth a lot of challenges when dealing with all of these people. In the past we wouldn’t see any of these people for months, maybe even years so catching up would always be on a superficial level. Now, you see their thoughts and opinions day in and day out, which can be absolutely fine, except that not only has social media allowed us to share our opinions, it has also given us a platform to fearlessly voice opinions that are controversial or taboo. Suddenly your sweet little old aunt is sharing memes with some serious racial undertones and you are stuck between a rock and a hard place with how to deal with it. Whilst it can be easy to think “Why not just call her out on it?” Quite often, the dynamics behind such a conversation are much more complex, or, people simply aren’t comfortable with that type of conversation. Thankfully, most social media outlets now have the option to ‘unfollow’ or ‘snooze’ someone, which merely allows one to hide what another party shares from their main newsfeed. This is an amazing feature that allows you to avoid dealing with some uncomfortable topics and conversations, without hurting someone’s feelings or upsetting family dynamics. The next option, if you are in a position where you  are either in an extremely hostile situation or being contacted by an estranged relative, for example, is to block said person. This feature is indispensable, as it allows you to completely stop any unwanted contact in its tracks. It is simply up to you to decide if you need to cut yourself off from someone’s opinions or cut contact altogether to ensure you are choosing the right path with limiting your exposure to someone.

3. Find Balance 

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It goes without saying that social media has not only become a huge part of most of the world’s lives, but it can also become absolutely consuming to some. Notifications in the form of comments, likes, tags and shares can quickly go from a quick check on your phone to being glued to your phone for hours, scrolling aimlessly while waiting for a new notification. With the rise of social media has come another experience I’m sure few ever anticipated: Social Media Addiction. Although we won’t go in depth into social media addiction, just know that not only is it a very real condition, it also aids and abets in other mental health issues. As such, it is absolutely vital to begin to create boundaries within your social media activity to bring some balance within your life. While it can be amazing to connect and experience different cultures through the scope of social media, it is imperative that we remember to look up from the screen and experience life surrounding us. Take this time to do things that make you remember what you love about yourself, or make it an opportunity to continue to learn things about yourself by trying something new. Regardless of how you use this time, chances are, it will allow you time to decompress from all of the information constantly bombarding your brain thanks to social media. That decompressing, or ‘unplugging’ is needed in order to help protect your mental health. We are only given so many trips around the sun, and none of them are promised to us, as such, it is crucial to remember to experience all that life has to offer on screen and off. Balance is the key to maintaining a stable mental health state.

While I’m certain you have benefited from the creation of social media, have you found that you have had to take measures to safeguard your mental health from it?

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3 Tips to Reviving Physical Connections in a Social Media Driven World

Social media is an ever evolving phenomenon which has allowed humankind to connect in a way that would have been unimaginable mere decades ago. The benefits are endless from creating relationships, to allowing family to be a part of huge milestones, to the sharing of opinions and knowledge, however, there are drawbacks, with addiction being a real concern. As these online connections are nurtured, often times our physical relationships can deteriorate. While being able to connect with a friend from elementary school who now lives in another country, it is vital to feed your day to day bonds in order to establish a healthy and happy balance. While the task might seem daunting, here are some quick tips:

1. Offload Apps + Download Phone Usage App

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While simply turning off your notifications to some apps may do the trick, you can also take it a step further by offloading (read: uninstalling) said apps. When you do this, you are the forcing yourself to use your phone’s internet browser to access these social media outlets. One slight change in your phone’s set up can drastically change your time on social media, whereas previously all it took for you to connect was a simple click, now you are forced to navigate yourself to your preferred site as well as utilize a different layout that isn’t perfected for your phone like an app is. Another solution that ties into the same notion is to download an app that monitors your time on your phone. When you are able to actually see just how much of your day is being spent scrolling, it can be extremely eye-opening to all that you are missing during the day.

2. Make It Fun

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There is nothing worse than the moment you look up from your phone and realize that you haven’t spoken outloud to anyone in the room in a long time. When that moment happens, it can sometimes trigger an awareness in you. You begin to notice when you are out with friends that you aren’t actually catching up all that much, but scrolling and occasionally showing a friend a meme. Challenge yourself, your friends and family to turn off their data and go phone-free, or only use their camera. It may sound like a bit much, but you have the ability to change your relationship with your phone while you are out, and make it fun. One of the best examples is to make it a bet. For instance, when you are out at a restaurant, stack your phones, the first one to check their phone pays for the dinner. Another solution is to try to make your moments together memorable—get outdoors, do a paint night or an escape room, if all else fails? Actually engage with the people you’re with. It’s so easy to think you have nothing to share because most of us share it all online, but I challenge you to go deeper than your highlight reel and share all of the details with the people you love the most.

3. Create Solid Boundaries

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It may seem bizarre to even consider the notion of scheduling your social media time, or even having locations where it’s off limits, however it could be extremely beneficial. One instance where social media over-usage can be detrimental is in romantic relationships. Aside from the risk of jealousy from your partner monitoring your interactions, there is the very real problem with forming bad habits. Dinner dates that consist of scrolling as well as scrolling while in bed truly begins to break down intimacy bonds. Thus, creating a schedule or setting barriers such as ‘No phones in the bedroom past 8pm’ or having ‘unplugged date nights’ is incredibly beneficial in ensuring these bonds are being nourished properly.

While social media has allowed us to connect in amazing and unbelievable ways, it has also allowed some of our physical relationships to suffer. Do you think social media has enhanced your relationships or harmed them?

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#Fitfam: 3 Benefits to Joining an Online Fitness Community

From vacations, to promotions, to engagements & new babies, social media has become the vehicle in which we all share the milestones in our lives. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that making your health and fitness journey open to the public is on the rise. Though the mere concept may seem daunting to many because one is opening themselves up to the potential for ridicule, finding and taking part of an online fitness community boasts many benefits. 

     1. Accountability

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No matter where you are in your fitness journey, life happens and it is so incredibly easy to ‘fall off the wagon.’ When you find your niche, whether it be on Instagram, Facebook or one of the whole host of communities out there, you will begin to feel a mindset shift. When you were trying to tackle your health by yourself? Well, it was easy for a simple thing like feeling a little tired to derail your entire day. That minuscule excuse could snowball from a night of binge watching to writing off the entire week because “well, I messed up mid-week, I’ll start again on Monday.” When we try to do it on our own, the ease in which we can fall into this pattern is astounding, but when you’ve surrounded yourself with like minded individuals? That’s where the magic happens. When you make yourself accountable to others, to your community, you suddenly have other people you feel you need to show up for. People from around the globe are suddenly becoming your biggest supporters. Something happens once you begin interacting with these supporters, or ‘virtual cheerleaders’. More often than not, these seemingly random people from around the globe become your friends, people that you are in the trenches with to try to win the war on your health. Suddenly you’re not just making choices to meet your goals, but you’re contributing to a community to remind them ‘I’m still here! We can do this together!’ That feeling of togetherness & belonging paired with their support will propel you into actually wanting to work as hard as you can and show up for these people day in and day out. 

     2. Inspiration 

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If you think back to what motivated you to make your health a priority, chances are it was something or someone who inspired you to make a change. Maybe someone’s physique began similar to your own, maybe someone’s reason why they started really hit home with you or maybe they are just able to do some incredible things you wish you could do, regardless, you were inspired. The amazing thing about this is that inspiration begets inspiration. While something inspired you to be the best version of yourself you can be, you have likely inspired another person to do the same thing. While in the past the furthest you may have been able to be inspired or inspire someone was within your friends family or physical community, social media has enabled that to change drastically. Within these communities, often led by hashtags (#), you will find everything from ‘Transformation Tuesdays’ to daily food logs to ‘Sweaty Selfies’ to incredible yoga poses and feats being met. You may have been plugging away trying the same thing over and over again with little results, but by scrolling, find more insight that rejuvenates your excitement and completely changes your way at looking at things. A couple of decades ago, activities like yoga were unheard of in many remote areas. Now? With a a simple search you can access not just an array of unbelievable poses but a endless supply of other activities & recipes you never would have thought existed to try.

     3. Knowledge

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The wealth of knowledge available to us today is something we could have never imagined. Social media has allowed us to connect with people from every walk of life, and as such has enabled us to access tips, tricks & facts on practically anything we need. Within the fitness communities it is not just useful but vital that we have been able to engage with professionals to ensure our health is never put at risk. From proper form to the always changing method of diets & nutrition it is invaluable to be able to connect with real professionals to gain their insights. Previously someone could take to Facebook to ask opinions, and be given terrible advice. Now, it’s as simple as finding a leader within the fitness field and searching through their posts on any form of social media to find the answer or to comment and wait for their reply.

While it is easy to think of the benefits of sharing your health & fitness journey, the downfalls are just as effortless. Do you think it’s ‘worth it’ to share such a personal struggle online?

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5 Ways Social Media is Making Motherhood Easier

I know what you’re thinking, “ ‘Easier’? She must have gotten this backwards.” In the current social climate it is all but expected that you will feel worse about your life when logging on and seeing all of your friends’ ‘highlight reel’. With everything from new baby announcements, to job promotions, to engagements and too good to be true vacations—we see these highlight reels and it is all too easy to feel like you’re stuck while everyone else is moving forward, especially when you’re a mother. While finding the dark and negative aspects social media has on motherhood and parenting in general can seem effortless, we often forget there is always a silver lining. That silver lining comes in the form of five amazing ways that social media has allowed mothers globally to connect & thrive.


  • Home Based Incomes
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Whether they can afford to spend time with their children or because they can’t afford the ever rising price of childcare, more moms are deciding to stay home with their children. However, this generation of women were raised by the same women who have been fighting to shatter the glass ceiling for decades, so it can be daunting to simply give up one’s career. Fortunately we live in a time where social media has allowed mothers the opportunity to create and market a business in between feedings, diaper changes and soccer practice. Whether it be through building a business with multi-level marketing companies or through creating their own goods/services, it has never been easier for mothers to connect with potential clients & customers on a global scale. Contributing to your family’s income used to mean having to make a choice, that for many mothers, was riddled with guilt. Today, mothers can find balance and make an income based on the amount of work they want to put out, whether it means bringing in a full second income, or covering a monthly car payment.


  •   Rediscovering Your Identity in an Unfamiliar Hobby
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“In the end I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life.” -Janene Wolsey Baadsgard

Something that no one warns you about when becoming a mother is that you lose yourself. I don’t mean you lose a tiny piece of you in those beautiful little eyes that you swear rival the ocean, or that you simply ‘let yourself go’. I mean that (at least for me) the first four or five years of your child(ren)’s life, your purpose and identity begins and ends with them. “But I go out with my friends!” So did I. Still, every time we met up, 9 out of 10 times all I could talk about was my kids, regardless of whether my friends were parents or not. Losing yourself in your children is natural.It is your job to protect, nurture and mould whole human beings; it’s literally the most stressful never-ending job you will ever have. Yet, you were your own human being before you chose to bring children into the world. A human who had enjoyed different events & activities, who maybe thrived in their art class and could never imagine a day going by without writing in some form. A person who wanted to experience everything life had to offer. Yet, as your child’s needs became bigger, your old wants became smaller. So small that one day while admiring someone’s life on Instagram, you think “Remember all of the things I was going to do? That feels like a lifetime ago. Like someone else’s life.” It is incredibly easy once becoming a parent to feel like it’s ‘too late’ to experience life, —that you need to settle into a routine for your children. Some may even feel as though it’s embarrassing or selfish to even suggest said activity to their spouse or friends & family. As luck would have it, simply typing a relevant topic into a search bar can have you fall down the rabbit’s hole of your current interest. There are innumerable niche groups and hashtags to follow on each social media platform that allows for moms to take the steps to find new hobbies & communities who will give unending support to them while they begin to learn and actually try to test the waters of their new interest. Our mothers had local aerobics classes, book clubs and knitting circles. We have been blessed with the unlimited scope of anything you could ever dream of attempting. While in theory, finding guidance on the internet should be lonely, that simply isn’t always the case.  Thanks to social media, ‘finding a tribe’ means finding a group and like-minded people behind hashtags who will encourage each step and answer questions along your journey. Social media has created these little safe spaces for people, some specifically designed for mothers, to break out of the box they have put themselves in. These spaces (again, often groups or within hashtags) are truly invaluable as they allow mothers to truly discover and experience an interest without worry of ridicule or judgement.


  •    Find Your Tribe: Discovering a Community That Lifts You Up
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When you’re young you think your mom has the secret to life packed away somewhere amongst her countless recipes in that little tin of hers. When you become a mother, you realize pretty quickly that none of us have any idea what we are doing. Though there are times that it can feel like every single move we make on social media will be scrutinized, more often we find a circle that is ready to take action to ensure you know that you’re doing the best you can. There are countless memes circulating the internet that pokes fun of people from high school that you barely knew adding you as ‘friends’ on various platforms. While, these memes bring out a good chuckle, those women that you may have barely known in high school can easily become an outstanding support system you had never known you wanted or needed. A girl you shared a bus with may now be a mother to three who can ease your mind when you feel like the world is falling down around you because your once sleep-loving newborn has become a middle of the night terror in toddler form, and “there just has to be something wrong with him!” For many mothers the tiniest sign of illness can see them taking to their favourite social media platform to as other’s opinions, while some may sigh when they read these posts it is especially prudent for mothers living in countries where safe or affordable healthcare isn’t available (That’s a whole topic for another day). Those people who heaved that heavy sigh and wondered “Why doesn’t she just take them to a physician?” Are often outweighed by well-meaning friends, families & yes, those high school acquaintances who will not only weigh in on what they think the issue could be, but also reassure you that you’re an amazing mom and ‘send you love’  along the way. Speaking to my own mother about being a mother in this day and age, we talked about how yes, it may seem harder in a lot of aspects, but the community of motherhood is something she yearned for when we were young. Whereas she had to meet other moms at baby classes, or ‘play school’ (a play themed morning set for preschool aged children), present-day mothers are able to lean on the support of anyone they have made a connection with a mere click.


  • Adapting & Creating Your Own Parenting Style
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I’m sure you’re all familiar with the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”. Well we live in the pinnacle of social interaction, wherein the village we can use to raise our children can have members from every single part of the globe. While the generation before us relied on spanking as a form of discipline, for example, we have learned through studies that this isn’t exactly the most promising way to raise a well-adjusted child. How does a new parent who was raised on spanking unlearn & adapt their parenting style? Well, social media is the best first step. Here mothers can connect with friends, family & absolute strangers to discover different parenting styles around the globe. From attachment parenting to authoritative parenting to helicopter parenting, (and more!) finding what works for you and your family truly takes time, research & discussion and of course, trial & error. While you test out an aspect of a certain parenting technique that is completely foreign to the way you were raised, a the click of a button you can access mothers and see what did & didn’t work for them. You can even join the discussion to see if they have any tips specific to your situation because although A, B & C works, your child just doesn’t respond to X, Y & Z. Maybe you aren’t even interested in developing a certain style, maybe you’re taking from each unknowingly, or maybe you—like most of us—are at a loss for what to do. Social media permits you to either perform a search or compose a post that allows you to ‘scream into the void’ and wait for someone to weigh in on your concerns. While in the past parents, especially mothers, were bombarded with the ‘right way’ to raise your children by mothers, aunts, grandmothers and in laws—today we have more freedom than we could have ever believed. We have the ability to truly take raising our children into our own hands and adapt the best practices to suit our families, with a little help from friends, family & strangers from around the globe.


  • Eases the Feeling of Isolation
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While I touched on an aspect of motherhood that no one tells you about, I’d like to address an aspect of it that is rarely even spoken out loud: isolation. Recently, in passing, I heard the saying “Motherhood is when you’re always & never alone.” That quote, though I don’t know who to credit it to, struck me to my core. Nothing in the entire period since becoming a mother has rang so true. While for many of our spouses, their job ends at the end of the day, our ‘job’ is never ending. We constantly feel the need to be ‘on’ with the constant stream of to-do lists, worries & things we just can’t forget (but always do). It has actually been scientifically proven that stay at home moms are more stressed than their working counterparts. However, because of the raise of over sharing on social media, that pesky highlight reel we talked about earlier, and because many of us are taught to internalize struggle—motherhood can be not just a stressful experience but also an isolating one. On the flip side, while social media can sometimes make us second guess our success in life, it can also be the only adult human interaction many moms, especially stay at home moms, receive during the day. Suddenly a very lonely and stressful day can be eased with a simple message to a friend joking about the struggles of motherhood & the need for something stronger than coffee. 


A reoccurring theme through this list is the sense of community. The human connection is needed for everyone to thrive, but for mother’s it is absolutely invaluable.  Do you think social media has had a more positive of negative impact on parenthood?


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