LIFESTYLE

How are you doing?

Hi. It’s been a little while since I’ve written a piece for Good Life Detroit because I was taking a brief social media break. How are you doing? I hope you, your family, and loved ones are doing well during this challenging time.

I know things are scary and uncertain and everyone is just trying to do their best each day. The coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us in many different ways– some ways much harder than others.

Taking a social media break is good for your emotional and mental health.
Photo taken May 2019 in Detroit.

Taking a Social Media Break Helps Me Cope During This Pandemic

I’ll be honest– this pandemic has taken a toll on me emotionally and mentally. That’s why I haven’t shared anything in a while on the blog, Facebook, or Instagram. (Last week, I started sharing stories on my Instagram again. You can follow me here if you like.)

I have been pretty active on my Twitter, though. I think that’s because I’ve been relying on Twitter to keep up with the news updates of the pandemic and any new changes in my local area.

After a while, though, I realized I needed to reduce my time on Twitter because I was spending too much time on it. I’d check it first thing in the morning. Then again at breakfast. Lunchtime. Evening time. Before I’d go to bed. In the middle of the night when I needed a late meal (because pregnancy…’nough said!).

It became a bit of an obsession where each Twitter session I was spending probably an hour scrolling through tweets and replies. After having two minor anxiety attacks I told myself, it’s time to step away and let yourself breathe. It’s time for a social media break!

Detroit street art at Heidelberg Project in Detroit, Michigan by Tyree Guyton.
Photo I took at Heidelberg Project (Tyree Guyton’s art) in Detroit, May 2016.

I still check my Twitter often and I do prefer to use it for instant news updates, but I am being more mindful of my time on the app. I’ve noticed my anxiety has decreased and I’ve been keeping myself busy with other, more important tasks and my favorite hobbies.

In regards to taking a break from blogging, I honestly didn’t know what to write about at first. Sure, I’d come up with all sorts of content ideas, but I just didn’t know where to start.

Sometimes I didn’t have the energy to write. I also didn’t want to write the wrong thing because I wanted to be mindful of how this pandemic is affecting other people.

I know many people have lost loved ones or some people are sick, too. Even though I don’t know every single person who has been hurt by the coronavirus, I just wanted to give it a little time before I wrote again.

I guess you could say I was thinking of them…you…and I wanted to find a good time to start writing again.

Family and Friends Share Encouraging Words

I’m not really sure if now is a good time to start writing again, but it feels like it might be. My family and a couple of my Instagram friends shared with me encouraging words on why a social media break and a break from everyday life can be helpful. I thought I’d share them with you in case you’re looking for encouragement, too.

I was chatting with a friend of mine on Instagram and she had mentioned to me she thinks many people are experiencing information overload and that adds to people’s stress.

I thought about how information overload was causing me to feel more anxious than usual. I realized she was right. We all have been experiencing information overload– 24/7. That’s why taking frequent breaks from the media and social media apps is important for our well-being.

Detroit mural art by Detroit artist Sheefy McFly.
We’re all in this together! (Photo taken early March 2020 before the Michigan lock-down. Mural art by Detroit artist Sheefy McFly.)

My oldest daughter Michala told me she thinks a social media break is important, too. “I think it’s healthy to take a break because if we know too much information, it’s going to overwhelm us.”

Travis said he thinks one way we can cope during this pandemic is to focus on recharging. “I think as Americans we’ve all been pretty busy up to this point so if you’re able to, take this time to recharge.”

Another friend shared a beautiful thought with me that has brought me hope. She mentioned, “We all need to do whatever it takes to get us through. Not through the way others think, we should get through, but through the way [we] will come out on the other side.”

My family and friends’ advice helped me to realize it’s okay to take a break from our daily routine and pause for a moment…or for a long period of time. A social media break is also good for our hearts and mind.

Eight Ways I Stick with Taking a Social Media Break

The CDC recommends we “take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media” because the more we hear about the pandemic it can be very upsetting for us.

A few ways I limit my time on social media:

  • Sign out of my social media apps when I’m finished browsing through them.
  • Remove my social media apps from my phone’s home screen so I’m not tempted to log into them.
  • Turn off notifications on all of my social media apps.
  • Set time limits on when I use my social media.
  • Sometimes I designate a day to just refrain from hopping on social media.
  • I started reading more books and set an alarm on my phone to remind me to read.
  • Going on walks and playing outside with my kids to clear my mind and get exercise.
  • Being mindful of my time with my family and making them a priority.
Take a social media break to focus on spending more time with your family!
Family time is precious and I am grateful for my family!

During this health crisis, it’s okay to slow down and focus on healing. There’s no rush to get a million things done right now because the most important responsibility you have is to stay healthy, stay safe, and keep your loved ones safe, too.

It’s okay to just be and take in the present moment. This is something I am working on during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am focusing more on living in the present moment. It’s helping me cope and find the blessings in my life.

“If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Has anyone shared with you wise words that are helping you get through this right now?


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All photographs are courtesy of Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.

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