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Social Media and Self-Care: Creating Healthy Boundaries

Written by Emily Fascilla, WCA Philanthropy Specialist

One of the best ways we can maximize our compassion for others is by taking care of ourselves. Boundaries are a crucial component of self-care and this month we are starting with a topic that generations before us did not have to worry about: boundaries with technology.

Excellent self-care can be a challenge, especially in these highly technological times. Oftentimes social media is beneficial, something that connects, informs, and helps us. However social media also has the tendency to lend itself to unproductive multi-tasking, a constant inundation of negative or useless information, and increased feelings of external judgment or comparison.

Fear not: the benefits of technology can be enjoyed without drawbacks if we implement boundaries.

There are two feelings that help us identify where our boundaries need attention: discomfort and resentment. Discomfort is fairly straight forward: when you feel uncomfortable in a moment or interaction, a boundary is likely being violated. Resentment often means we feel unappreciated, dissatisfied, bitter, or discontent. If you notice a pattern of resentment or discomfort while using social media or technology, it’s time to draw a boundary.

1. Turn off Notifications
You do not need to have real-time notifications of every like, comment, or follow you receive through social media channels. Disable all notifications from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn etc. on your phone. Turning off alerts prevents you from becoming dependent on the notification loop. New psychology has proven that the instant gratification we get from receiving notifications actually emits dopamine – the happiness hormone. Unfortunately, you have no control over this type of dopamine because it is dependent upon what others think/do/say/click. Instead of depending on their actions for your source of dopamine, create your own surplus of that hormone through dopamine inducing activities like exercise, reducing stress, and taking vitamins.

2. Delete Apps
Write down a list of the most used apps on your phone in a notebook. For one week, keep a tally of when you feel discomfort or resentment from being in one of the apps. At the end of the week, delete the apps with the most tallies.  If apps leave you feeling resentful or uncomfortable it is admirable self-care to remove them from your life. I deleted Snapchat temporarily when I was experiencing discomfort from how much time I was spending in the app each day. I now have it back, and the time away helped me reset.

3. Lengthen Your Reaction Time
Nothing says you have to immediately respond to a message, inquiry, tweet, email, text, or phone call. Others contact you according to their schedule – they are not thinking of you, your state of mind, or your priorities. Be considerate and respectful, of course, but respond on your time. As someone who sends many emails, texts, and messages – I would rather have a thoughtful response, than a hasty one. No one sends you something with the intent to interrupt your concentration, focus, or personal time. Do not allow an interaction to become an interruption. This goes for those weekend emails, too. Phones have the ability to toggle on a “do not disturb” button that can keep you from receiving work emails or calls during certain hours. They are called smartphones for a reason. Take advantage of it.

4. Remove Yourself from the Comparison Trap
Social media introduced a new kind of comparison. Instead of looking at the lives of celebrities in magazines as a point of unrealistic comparison, we now look at the girl who grew up next door to us, or that guy from our college course. It’s like a class reunion every single day. What are they up to? How far have they come? How far have I come? It’s a cycle – and not necessarily a healthy one. Again, if you feel that pattern of discomfort and resentment when you partake in your virtual-class-reunion each day on Facebook and LinkedIn, draw a boundary. Take a break entirely from that social media channel or vow to check it once every other day with a focus only on keeping up with the people you know and love – instead of keeping up with the Joneses. We are all vastly different people and as such, our timeline, choices, and lifestyles will be vastly different. Comparison is unproductive and useless. Your life is not about what other people are doing; your life is about what you are doing.

5. Find Joy in Technology and Social Media
Breaking unhealthy social media habits is easily done by replacing them with something new. There are many wonderful reasons to use technology and social media and I encourage you to seek out what makes you feel good. While you mark down the times technology makes you feel uncomfortable or resentful, also take note of what you enjoy about technology. Maybe you love the way it helps you share your ideas or express your aesthetic taste through photos. Maybe it’s the advice you receive or recommendations your friends near and far give you. Perhaps it’s the infinite amount of information you can consume through a TEDTalk or a podcast.

To set a boundary is to acknowledge your feelings. Get to it.

EVENTS

Oct 02

2022

SueB 5k 10k 2022

On October 2, 2022, we celebrate the 13th annual SueB 5k 10k at noon After two years of racing virtually, we invite you to join us IN PERSON to raise awareness about domestic abuse, while memorializing the life of an individual who has brought so many people together. The SueB 5k 10k provides a space […]

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Oct 05

2022

WCA Mission Tour

Join us for a 35 minute virtual tour to learn about our mission of safety, healing and freedom through the stories of clients and the impact of our services. The WCA Mission Tour aims to inspire and educate about the complexities and realities of domestic abuse and sexual assault, both here in the Treasure Valley […]

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Oct 10

2022

WCA Mission Tour

Join us for a 35 minute virtual tour to learn about our mission of safety, healing and freedom through the stories of clients and the impact of our services. The WCA Mission Tour aims to inspire and educate about the complexities and realities of domestic abuse and sexual assault, both here in the Treasure Valley […]

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Oct 12

2022

Witches Night Out at the Village

Mark your calendars for Witches Night Out on October 12, 2022 from 5 – 9 p.m. Wednesday, October 12 we will be celebrating Witches Night Out at The Village at Meridian, hosted by Meridian’s Centercal Properties and its marvelous merchants. Several sponsors help make the evening a resounding success, raising funds for the WCA’ clients’ […]

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Oct 14

2022

WCA Mission Tour

Join us for a 35 minute virtual tour to learn about our mission of safety, healing and freedom through the stories of clients and the impact of our services. The WCA Mission Tour aims to inspire and educate about the complexities and realities of domestic abuse and sexual assault, both here in the Treasure Valley […]

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Oct 20

2022

WCA Mission Tour

Join us for a 35 minute virtual tour to learn about our mission of safety, healing and freedom through the stories of clients and the impact of our services. The WCA Mission Tour aims to inspire and educate about the complexities and realities of domestic abuse and sexual assault, both here in the Treasure Valley […]

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Oct 28

2022

Healing Begins with Hope

WCA Healing Begins with Hope Virtual Outreach and Fundraising Event When: October 28, 2022 How: Register here for either a 12noon or 7 p.m. virtual viewing time As the WCA celebrates 113 years of changing lives, we would like to invite our community to mark their calendars and save the date for Healing Begins with […]

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