I can't remember the exact date I was browsing my Twitter feed and saw the horrible video of George Floyd's murder circulating, but I do remember that the amount of shares and views on the video exceeded 100,000. Shortly before George Floyd's death, there was the video of Ahmaud Arbery circulating social media, as well as posts regarding Breonna Taylor's murder.
At this point, I don't think it's an over-exaggeration to say that the world has been in a consistent state of turmoil, and social media has been here to remind us everyday.
I am pretty active on all three of my social media accounts and regardless of which one I am using, I can't catch a break from consistently seeing posts and statuses regarding police brutality, the antics from Agent Orange (Trump), and discussions regarding the unlawful killing of Black people and other people of color. Don't be confused now, I'm not complaining about social media at all. I think it is amazing that the world is using social media to be involved with political and social movements, and to educate and create spaces for people to share opinions and knowledge on the events that are happening in the world as well as a variety of important topics. However, I know that consistently seeing these discussions, statuses, and videos on social media can be triggering and traumatizing for many, myself included. I have told myself a million times to "just stay off of social media" and have even contemplated deleting the apps...but it is just not that simple.
I know self-care is extremely beneficial to my well-being and I like to practice it in all areas of my life. However, social media is my news outlet, and as a writer, I use it to stay informed and updated on world events. So, completely erasing social media, regardless of how much it may be exhausting at this time, is just not an option for me. Can you see why I have struggled with this dilemma for weeks?
I admit it has been difficult trying to figure out whether I want to even stay informed on the current matters or do I want to just take a break and breathe.
Well, I have a testimony for you: in the midst of my internal battle, Jesus came to me and said, "There is a way that you can do both." Look at God...where there is a will, there is a way! So, to my brand ambassadors, YouTubers, journalists, influencers, entrepreneurs, and artists that utilize social media as a source of income, and to the everyday people that use social media for entertainment (I know this has probably spiked due to the stay-at-home orders), xoNecole is here to share some tips with you so that you can practice self-care while still using social media.
Here's four ways to practice social media self-care to bring some light into your world during these dark times:
Turn Off All Notifications
On every single social media outlet, turn off your notifications! Sometimes people tag you in things or you may just be alerted from the app, either way it doesn't help to be notified of something that will re-traumatize or trigger you. Take care of yourself and turn those notifications off and keep them off until you are ready to receive them again.
Muting Is Your Friend
If you're unfamiliar with the muting feature, now is the time to become acquainted. Muting isn't unfollowing or blocking anyone, it is simply hiding their posts. In other words, when you mute someone, you will no longer be able to see anything they post or share. This feature is available on Twitter and Facebook. So whenever you see someone post something that disturbs your spirit, simply go ahead and press that mute button, and don't feel bad for doing this to as many people as you need to for as long as you need to. You can also mute accounts that you know post material that may trigger or disturb you. Muting your followers and accounts helps you monitor what you consume while on social media; be wary of the information you take in on a daily basis.
Set A Schedule
There's a couple of ways to do this, so find what works best for you. One way is creating a schedule for how many hours you're going to spend on your social media accounts a day, i.e. spending 8 hours a day on social media, and using a time-log to keep track of your hours so you don't go over them. The other way to do this is creating time increments for utilizing social media.
For example, you can spend one hour on social media and 4 hours off of social media, and you do this every 4 hours. So basically, every 4 hours you are off of social media, you need to be doing something else to occupy your time. But once those four hours are up, you get an hour (or as long as you choose) to browse social media. You can be creative with how you set and maintain your schedule, but just remember that the purpose is to give yourself time away from social media every day so that you can recharge and not consume so much material that may exhaust you.
In addition, continue utilizing any self-care regimens used off of social media to aid in creating a feeling of replenishment while navigating social media.
Sometimes I have to remind myself to not feel bad for doing whatever it is I need to do to find my balance between Instagram and sanity; staying current on world news is important, but not at the expense of staying in good mental and emotional health.
I have discovered that as long as I am consistent with using my self-care skills daily, I can make it through this difficult time on social media without any mental or emotional bruises. That is the goal.
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