Summer Social Media De-Stress

You can’t sleep, you can’t eat, and omg is that a zit popping up? You appear to be experiencing all the systems of stress, but where is this stress coming from? You’re well rested, works going great, the boyfriend is great, rent’s paid… so what could it be?!

The culprit: Your smartphone, i.e. your new virtual social life. That little hand held-device that is supposed to make your life easier is now causing you to totally wig out. The posting, the commenting, the constant urge to check your wall and change your status. Do you have enough pictures up? Who’s in a relationship, who’s breaking up? AHH, you can’t take it anymore.

A recent study out of the University of Worcester gives light to the cause of this added stress. According to the university’s psychologist, Richard Baldingonce, once an individual starts to use his or her smartphone, the workload management benefits are displaced by the pressure to keep up with their new virtual social life. It’s like highschool all over again. The pressures to keep up appearances, be accepted, be a part of the conversation… who has time for all that pettiness?

To take a further look into this sudden increase in stress among seemingly happy, easy-going individuals we look to a recent survey done by ad agency JWT.  After surveying young adults between the ages of 19-26, they discovered that more than half of the people surveyed were concerned over the growing amount of time spent in maintaining their social media accounts. Respondents of the survey complained that the stress of trying to keep up with the virtual social lives was having a negative impact on their work and studies. Has social media led us to the point where we are so obsessed with our online appearances that we are losing sleep over it?

“We found that the reason young people need breaks is because of their social media responsibilities, but that’s exactly what they do when they’re on a break,” said Lydia Daly, JWT planning director. “It’s a vicious circle.”

So how do we get a hold of ourselves and enjoy life once again, outside of this vicious online social circle? Here are four simple steps to help you get back to living life again, your real life.

1.  Take time to disconnect
Walk away. Just put the phone down and walk away. Go for a run, take a cooking class, talk to a friend (in person), or check out the documentary you’ve been wanting to see. Yes, try one of those wonderfully stimulating activities you use to partake in before smartphones and social media took your life. Listen to Prince, and party like it’s 1999 – for at least an hour or so.

2.  Breathe
Breath in, breath out. You know that involuntary movement we never pay much attention to. Did you know that by simply taking control of your breaths, you can release built up stress? Sign up for a yoga class, buy a yoga dvd, or simply try this simple breathing  exercise. Breath in slowly, counting to 5, and then breathe out counting to 5. Keep going. Feeling like a new you already? As you continue this slow controlled breathing exercise, your nervous system relaxes, reducing stress and inducing relaxation. Slow and deep breaths help to calm and quiet the mind. Namaste.

3.   Eat these 7 foods
By changing your diet a little bit, you can radically reduce your stress. Try out these 7 proven de-stresser foods.

  • bananas
  • salmon
  • broccoli
  • sugar
  • black tea
  • whole grains
  • chicken breast

So the next time you start stressing over the new pic you posted that is getting no likes, put down the phone, grab a banana and relax.

4.    Get up.
Detach yourself from all your mobile devices for 15 minutes and get up and move. Yep, that’s it – shake what your mama gave you. Moving around and being active causes serotonin to be released into your brain. After 15 minutes of dancing around your living room you’ll have forgotten all about that wall post Bobby Sue wrote about you. Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself.

All you have to do it follow this easy advice and I promise you’ll be back to your lovely pre-Facebook days in no time.

- Katie Cohen, Jr. Copywriter