Updated: Jul 11, 2022
Check in with your body during and after media consumption…
Do you find that watching TV or using social media you tend to feel ‘antsy’ and a little overwhelmed?
Frustrated by others?
A little angry?
Worrying about things that you can’t control?
Do you feel the need to move around?
Be judgemental towards others and their decisions?
Then it’s likely your newsfeed and media consumption isn’t supportive to your mental health.
After learning about boundaries on retreat over a year ago, I realised that how I accessed and used the media and especially social media was having a huge impact on my life.
I was stressed about the planet.
Stressed about children in the UK not having enough to eat.
Stressed about those on social media whose opinions I felt were damaging socially (racist, sexist, homophobic, etc)
Stressed about how certain media platforms were using clickbait to entice people in and completely misrepresenting a story - and by then it’s too late anyway as most people didn’t read it.
The list goes on.
I finally understood that I needed to care about these things and where possible take action. However, I decided to switch it all off and protect myself from damaging information.
The drama of it all was addictive to my nervous system. Hyper-aroused by all of this information was extremely triggering. Being pulled into discussions about how things should be different. My nervous system found it all very exciting and I was constantly in ego looking to convince others of my point of view and trying to save the world in whatever way I could.
The steps I took were:
I stayed friends with many people on Facebook but stopped following a lot of them. This meant they weren’t showing up on my newsfeed. Being quite an empathetic person, I found that I had been unconsciously giving my energy to people who were emotionally dumping. Those people who frequently spill their lives and sadness out onto Facebook but without looking for any resolution. I found it draining and so I stopped following them.
I stopped following people whose ideas were extreme and would leave me feeling worried or upset about the direction the world was going in. So people who were racist, sexist, or any ‘ist’ really.
I literally went through every ‘friend’ and every ‘group’ and checked the follow and notification settings.
I turned notifications off in groups. Only for a supportive women’s community and my Sex, Love & Relationship community do I have notifications on, and even then it’s only the highlights. I only want to be notified of women supporting women or women empowering each other. And that’s it.
I unfollowed lots of groups where there was lots of gossip, attacking and debates which got out of hand. Even some gardening groups where people couldn’t disagree nicely on how best to feed a tomato plant - I stayed in them but stopped following. So they no longer appeared on my newsfeed.
I stopped following and ‘unliked’ ALL media platforms. I decided that if I wanted to hear more about the world I would purposefully go looking for it rather than be inundated by constant misery. I’m aware of so many things that happen at a local, national and international level that unless there was some specific action like a petition to sign then I wasn’t interested. And this was a big one from someone who trained to be a Broadcast Journalist!
I didn’t have a TV so didn’t need to ‘switch off’. We’re currently with my parents who do watch TV. The constant barrage of stressful events and situations even in the adverts is overwhelming. We ensure ourselves and the children aren’t in the same room as the TV when it’s on.
So what am I looking for in the media or social media?
If it doesn’t make me smile, if it doesn’t give me hope, if it doesn’t create community, if it doesn’t help me grow, if it doesn’t empower me - it goes or it’s unfollowed.
I could have come off social media completely but to be honest there were aspects of it, that especially during lockdown, helped create a sense of belonging and community. So I do think it does serve a purpose. Especially when you can feel ‘alone’ in how you see the world. It helps you to connect to those who are like-minded.
Instagram became a little haven for me. I hadn’t really used it before learning about boundaries. Afterwards I filled my feed with accounts that showed men supporting men, women supporting women, growth, development, I’m a spiritual person so those people too who generally tend to be uplifting I follow…
I basically filled instagram with growth, affirmations, tefl-development, empowerment and community.
And if a sneaky post gets through on my feed?
Well… I just scroll on by…
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.