“Oh, that’s right… you’re not on Facebook,” was something I’d been hearing from pretty much everyone for years. It seemed no matter what news I had to share with someone, they would tell me they already saw it on Facebook. Apparently without it, I was going to be the last one to know anything. Regardless, I was confident in making it through the rest of my life without joining that world. In fact, my plan was to be the last person alive not posting, liking, tweeting and sharing.
My plan failed when I finally raised the white flag and created a Facebook account. The goal was to get sponsorships from supplement companies to offset the high cost of competing in natural fitness shows. For the first year, I’ll admit to being too scared to post or share anything.
When someone would request to be added as a friend, I didn’t know what to do. If accepted, would their “not so nice” posts be a reflection on me if we’re connected? I couldn’t embrace social media fully because the majority of posts coming at me carried negative energy that didn’t make me feel good.
When I retired from competing and began writing and speaking more, things changed. Gradually, I realized the upsides to the virtual world. As I made more like-minded business connections, my newsfeed filled with more uplifting content. Then I started doing my part to create and share more of the same. The ability to empower women through social media persuaded me to stick around.
Information is a good thing but it can hurt. You might not think of it but even the good information has its risks. Without self-care practices in place, our emotional health is in jeopardy every time we log on and start scrolling.
Your needs and situation may differ. Complete an honest assessment of how social media affects your emotions. If you’ve been angered or deeply saddened by content on your feed, its time to protect yourself.
The following tips will help keep you sane:
When a post you’re reading begins to trigger an emotional reaction, stop reading it. Simple, right? Yet, how often do you keep reading until the end when you didn’t like the beginning?
Take a look and look away!
Pictures are powerful and can trigger memories and emotions we didn’t intend to stir up. As a divorced woman, I cannot linger on wedding pics. When I do, my mind starts taking a ride on the “you failed!” train.
Avoid scrolling during difficult times!
Holidays can be difficult for many of us for different reasons. Yes, those matching holiday pajamas are cute but sometimes they can make you feel left out. Limit your social media use around times of the year when you know you’re most vulnerable.
Keep it sacred!
Your morning and bedtime routines can make or break the quality of your day. Keep these rituals sacred by not including social media. You have plenty of time in the span of a day to log on later. Instead start and end your day with gratitude, intentions and meditation.
Remove the source!
When the same person’s posts keep affecting you in a negative way, you need to recognize the situation as toxic. Decide to value your emotional well being more than any potential fall out from removing them. Period.
Hastie is a writer, speaker and creator of CenterStage! Her program teaches women how to step out from behind the curtains of their limiting beliefs and into their power. She believes women need to discover who they really are in order to live a more meaningful life.
The former pro-figure competitor used to be shy and hid under baggy clothes while working out. After witnessing a woman at her gym exercising with the lights off, she wrote 10 Steps to Become a More Confident Woman in the Gym, which you can download for free on her website. Hastie can be found in Pittsburgh, PA asking every new person she meets who has the best pizza in town. She is super organized and loves colored office supplies.