By Tess Bartlett
Several weeks ago I found myself in a slump. I was so tired I felt like I’d hit a wall. I was doing far too much and knew something had to shift. It was during a coaching session with a lovely client that I became acutely aware of how reliant I was on my phone, social media, and the internet. It was the last thing that I did before switching my phone off at night and the first thing I did every morning. My alarm went off and I would reach for my phone and start scrolling. Waking up to images of models on Instagram would immediately put me in the “not good enough” mindset and I would start comparing myself to other people I didn’t even know.
Every time I had a couple of minutes spare I was flicking that damn thumb down the screen, my eyes glazing over and staring intently into nothingness hoping that something of interest would pop up and change my existence. It never did. I was lost in an online world and not at all present in my life. This was definitely not my happy place.
When I logged onto Facebook I noticed that my heart started beating faster and there was a spike in my anxiety. When I shut down my screen I would let out a sigh of relief. It was literally sapping the life out of me. Not only this, there seemed to be a spike in my anxiety every time I logged on. It was after becoming aware of how social media was affecting my mind and my body that I made the decision to beat this social media frenzy and bring space, calm and connection back into my life. I have worked a lot over the years on creating healthy relationship boundaries with those around me, where I am honest, assertive, and where I make sure my needs are being met. The same is needed for social media and the internet.
If you want to live in a world where you have meaningful connections with those around you, where you are at peace and feeling creative and inspired then there needs to be space. In order to make this space you need to have boundaries.
These are the steps that are going to free up your time. They will give you energy to feel creative and inspired to write, where you feel calm, energised and relaxed.
1. Be mindful
When you use social media be mindful of how it makes you feel in your body (download your guide to meditation here). Notice where your mind goes and the stories you are telling yourself. If you find yourself going off into comparison or judgment with stories of “I’m not good enough” or “look what they have” then maybe it’s time to rethink your social media use. Do you notice any change in your breathing? Become curious about any change in your state – are you agitated, frustrated or is there negative self-talk? Or, are you using it as a way of connecting, sharing, and being generous and kind to others?
2. Invest in an alarm clock
Rather than having your phone by your bed and waking up to a boring alarm with instant access to social media and the internet, go out and purchase a snazzy alarm clock. I bought a cool little blue clock with a radio alarm and today I woke up to music. Now that’s what I call an ideal wake up call.
3. Have designated social media times
If you have a business and you use it as part of your marketing strategy, then have a strategy. Instead of checking it whenever you feel like it, allocate times to check it when your fans/clients/readers are most likely to be online and use this time to respond to comments, like posts, share articles and write posts. Allocate 2-3 times a day to do this and leave it at that. No ceaseless checking. If you don’t have a business but find yourself feeling shite after you have looked, then maybe check in with how often you are using it and create some allocated social media times throughout your day. It will feel liberating and freeing to know you have so much time outside of this to do WHATEVER you choose and you will be much more productive when you log on. I schedule posts at night for the next morning and that way I am not thinking about social media when I wake up. It might suit you to schedule posts weeks in advance.Personally I have found that I tend to feel inspired in the moment and so post that way, just find something that works for you. Doing this will free up so much of your time! How many times have you gone to check social media and looked at the clock only to find that 20 minutes have passed?
4. Log out
Once you have finished using social media, log out. Remove Facebook from your phone and only check it on your computer. It’s about being in control of your phone, not having a phone that is in control of you. Here is a great post from Nectar Collective on turning your phone off during the day. Logging out means that every time you want to check social media on your phone you have the added steps of logging on and you can choose not to.
5. Technology free after 6 pm
Being technology free after 6 pm means refraining from surfing the internet while the TVs on, or checking your emails or social media. Doing this allows you to relax and have space to breathe. It gives you down time and your mind, body, and soul will have the opportunity to slow down and be present to what is going on around you. Night time is about switching off and giving your mind and body the rest it needs to recuperate.
Tess Bartlett is a writer, speaker and Director of Tess Bartlett Holistic Coaching where she leads coaches, consultants and creatives who are Catalysts for Change and ready to refuel their passion for their craft and tune into their own superpowers. Tess gained her credentials in Life Coaching from The Coaching Institute, Australia and is a certified Meta Dynamics practitioner, incorporating mindfulness and self-compassion into her coaching practice.
Tess' writing has featured regularly in The Successful Coach Magazine, Happiness and Wellbeing Magazine, Blog Society, and on her own blog Whisperings of the Mind. She is also undertaking a PhD examining the experiences of fathers in prison.