As social creatures, we love how social media connects us and makes us feel part of a community. Many of us rely on platforms like Instagram or Facebook to stay in touch with loved ones, to find inspiration or insight and to perform our day-to-day jobs. Ironically, this reliance on technology can also generate feelings of detachment and isolation from the real world and even a bit of paranoia when the algorithm directing you content feels just a little too accurate (“How did they know that?!”). Whether it’s out of habit or necessity, scrolling can create anxiety cycles that can be hard to break. To help us understand what’s going on, we consulted two Stamford life coaches who specialize in socializing the smart way and how to compartmentalize cyber connectivity.
SOCIAL MEDIA LIMITS
In 2017, after spending more than ten years working in various roles within the mental health field (including private practice, emergency response and the education system), Stamford native Amy Albero founded Revive Center for Wellness (revivecenterforwellness.com). The all-female-staffed wellness center provides therapy, counseling, fitness and nutrition, and mindfulness coaching through its multiple offices in Fairfield County. Revive prides itself as a mental-health-and-wellness hub on Instagram @revivecfw, which posts advice on such subjects as practicing gratitude, combatting procrastination and understanding the hallmarks of imposter syndrome. “My vision for Revive was for it to be a collaborative and supportive community of clinicians focused on personal and professional growth,” says Amy. “I wanted my team to feel a sense of belonging—that they could achieve well-being and could learn and grow from one another.”
Here, she provides tips on how to use social media responsibly.
Quality Over Quantity: “Mindless scrolling can inevitably lead to engaging in comparisons with other accounts, causing you to question your life, your choices and your level of success. While these comparisons can be useful guides that may help individuals to mature, they can also create stress, anxiety and self-doubt when we perceive ourselves to be lagging behind. However, social media accounts are highly curated, often presenting the best of someone, while hiding the imperfections of everyday life. Comparing oneself with these perfect depictions of their peers only heightens the probability of feeling left behind, which in turn increases feelings of anxiety and stress. It is so important that as you are consuming social media content, you are aware of, and attentive to, how what you are viewing and interacting with can impact how you are feeling about yourself and your life.”
Take a Break: “For nearly all people, I recommend that they start the process of reducing stress by logging off social media and putting their phones down for some material amount of time each day. Social media breaks are a great form of mental self-care, which are activities that help us mentally reset so that we can feel more present and focused. For those with more introverted personalities, a social media break may consist of reading a book, listening to music or journaling. For those with more extroverted personalities, going to their favorite local coffee shop or spending time with friends and/or loved ones can help them de-stress. If the activities are working, keep them up! If you are still feeling stressed, try different activities during your social media break until you find what works best for you to lower your stress.”
Set Boundaries: “The best suggestion that I can offer, whether your job involves social media or not, is to create firm boundaries between work and your personal life. Boundaries are empowering and give us a sense of personal control over our lives, which can increase happiness and decrease stress. With boundaries in place, you can be more mindful of, and intentional with, the actual social media content that you are consuming and consider what emotions it elicits within you. In our personal lives, we have a greater control over the content that we consume and can choose to consume content that generates only positive emotions. In other words, mute, block or unfollow accounts that create feelings of stress, sadness or angst.”
Parting Thoughts: “I choose to believe that everyone is doing the best that they can. Having this mind-set allows for a deeper sense of empathy and patience with others. I also encourage people to utilize deep curiosity rather than judgment when someone is expressing a perspective that is different from their own. Remember, just as you cannot be summarized by your worst moments on social media, neither should those whom you presume to judge. We are all so much more complex and layered than our feeds portray us to be.”
In 2018, while serving as an artist’s assistant for a nonprofit board, Emily Derr connected with business coach Beth Weinstein, who aided professionals growing their businesses using spiritual, wellness and purpose-based entrepreneurial coaching and growth strategies. A seed was planted.
“Originally, I wanted to help artists, museums and other creative businesses form transformational collaborations with other businesses and individuals to gain access to members, patrons and donors, along with offering them social media management and public-relations services,” explains Emily. “I came to the realization, however, that these individuals and businesses encountered stressful situations that needed real-world, dogma-free techniques to ground themselves, manage the stress, beat the creative resistance and prevent burnout.”
Emily enrolled in a seven-week intensive workshop with Shirzad Shamin, author of Positive Intelligence, and earned her Level 1 Breathwork Coach Certification from Greg Mannio’s Method Infinite Breathworks, which gave her the tools to help private clients. Her program, Grassroots Impact Coaching, is based on the premise of grounding and growing both professionally and personally.
Read on for advice on how to manage professional and personal burnout (more on Instagram @emilylauraderr).
Do with Less: “With smartphones and technological devices, we are always on. We are always reachable and accessible. Scary! When do you wind down and unplug? With the pandemic, more people are working remotely while juggling family and household obligations. Also, when in-person connection is not possible or social activities are limited due to the pandemic, people rely heavily on social media. With social media, we can have that constant feeling of FOMO [fear of missing out]. People scroll through social-media feeds comparing themselves with others, which can lead to thinking that they are never doing enough and that they have to keep up with their friends, colleagues, celebrities, etc. There is this notion of do, do, do and the temptation to load up your schedule with activities to show others you are productive.”
Prioritize: “Busy has become this badge of honor, but busy really means you have lost control of your priorities. I prioritize, and I ask myself, What are the three most important things I need to do today? I have come to accept that I will never do it all. I have mastered saying no to activities and people that are draining. Most of the time, I recognize when I am starting to feel depleted and I ask myself, How am I feeling physically and emotionally? and What do I need right now? When I need rest, I rest. I take walks, play with my two parakeets, paint, take a virtual yoga or exercise class, practice breathwork meditation or surround myself with people who are supportive.”
Love What You Do: “My advice is to ask yourself if there is something in your current job you really love? If so, design your schedule so you do more of that. Embrace delegating the tasks that are not in your Zone of Genius—from the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. People want to help you, so ask them. Also, is there a project you could initiate to reinvigorate your passion at work? Take some time in the morning or in the evening to reflect on this.”
Parting Thoughts: “If you cannot find or create anything in your current work situation that lights you up, start exploring other opportunities. Schedule virtual or in-person meetings with people who are in professions and industries that interest you. Join virtual communities. Enlist mentors. Volunteer. Look for volunteer roles on volunteermatch.org or catchafire.org.”