One of my favourite things to do during summer holidays is take a social media vacation aka. a SMV. This is often forced because my family cottage is on a remote island with no cell phone service, wifi or electricity. Being away from my technology for a few days is remarkably healing:
- my tendency toward anxiety calms down
- my head clears
- my creativity improves
Most of all, I can actually relax. What a concept!
What do we know about social media and its affect on our health? At this point researchers are spending time understanding the relationships between social media and:
- conduct disorders
The implications are far reaching, and are having the strongest effect on our youth.
Of course, social media can also have its benefits. Research has also shown that social media can:
- improve the transmission of health information
- improved support networks
- reduce feelings of loneliness
Ultimately, the point is to have a balance. And most of us do not have this. We sleep next to our phones, we wake up and grab them first thing in the morning, they stay with us all day, and they come with us to bed each night. They basically become a 5th appendage.
So how do we improve our relationship with social media?
- Take a SMV - You can schedule social media vacations where you turn off your phone for a day or two every quarter.
- Schedule daily social media breaks. For example, turn your phone off during lunch and/or dinner, or during your workout.
- Respect the bedtime hour. Turn off the TV, turn off the computer, turn off your iPad, and turn off your phone! Use the hour before bedtime to meditate, journal, take a bath, read a book, and unwind. You'll build up your own natural melatonin and reduce anxiety before bed to ensure better sleep.
- Wake up slowly. Try waking up and meditating, or practicing gratitude before grabbing your phone.
Even adopting one of these principles will help. Choose the best option for you and make it a priority this summer.
What other ways do you like to take a SMV?