Quitting Social Media

Thoughts

‘Social media’ – a selection of platforms which are intended to improve and ease our social lives. The prospect sounds great; to bring us, worldwide, closer together. However, as with all things it has its downsides and with all the news at the moment i’m beginning to realise more and more that the cons are outweighing the benefits. More and more i’m finding social media exhausting, uninspiring and like an addictive chore – and it’s not the people i’m following, I’ve always been sure to unfollow when I’ve felt like i’ve needed to, it’s just having it there, having notifications ping up all the time, using it as a ‘break’ when it never feels like one, along with many other factors.

Quitting Social Media is difficult

To quit or not to quit my social media accounts has been the question I’ve been pondering for the last few years, probably much to the annoyance if those I know. I thought if I don’t like it so much and if I find it that exhausting why not just delete it all but there were and still are some things holding me back from doing so.

The Social Media Generation

The first issue is the fact that I am part of a generation in which the majority have social media. In fact, I don’t know anyone my age who hasn’t got at least one and i’m not alone in feeling that way as only 36% of the UK population aren’t on any social media. Therefore, it concerns me that there will be certain points in conversation I wouldn’t be able to contribute to if I deleted all my accounts completely. Already, as I don’t often go on my social media and I don’t always follow the accounts most do, it can feel that way.

Social Media provides opportunity?

Second is the opportunities you can get through social media. I watched a TED talk (linked below) where Dr Cal Newport argued that this excuse didn’t matter as due to our increasingly saturated economy people value innovation and commitment over a social media presence, arguing that people will ‘come and find you’ and that ‘any 16-year old with a smartphone’ can set up a successful social media presence. However, this sounds like a great argument for a computer scientist, which Newport is. But if you want to get into other fields in which audience engagement is key then a social media presence might be more of an advantage to you. There are also more opportunities advertised for young people on social media and if your career of interest is competitive thats especially useful. There is another term for these things and its called fear of missing out or, more commonly, F.O.M.O.

So why quit?

Social currency and value

Many people can get FOMO not only with the issues I’ve described but also with friends, according to one study 7 out of 10 students would get rid of their social networking accounts if it were not for fear of being ‘left out of the loop’. People see their friends having fun without them and feel left out. People publish their carefully curated lives on social media and it’s a facade, people pick and choose what they want others to see and sometimes it doesn’t feel like the person you know. It’s also a ‘highlight reel’ of all the good bits of peoples lives usually and people can feel like they’re inadequate asking questions of ‘why don’t I look like that’ or ‘why can’t I afford that holiday’. This internal dialogue of many social media users is so damaging to peoples self confidence and self worth, and it sounds awful to think that we can’t be pleased for those friends who do look like that or who can afford it but its often a part of human nature to start comparing and thats not helped with social media use where people are curating a so called ‘perfect’ version of themselves. So it is not to say that we didn’t have this problem before social media of comparing and self deprecating but it was on a smaller scale, comparing to celebrities in the latter half of the twentieth century and before that with friends in person. Then if you bring a number of followers, likes and comments into the mix the problem is exacerbated, its quantified rather than a feeling. It creates a kind of social currency, an economy of attention, that places worth on a person rather than simply a product. There are apps now as well which tell you who specifically it is thats unfollowed you or stopped liking your photos. To summarise, social media is unauthentic, its judgemental and it creates paranoia.

Addiction

Furthermore, social media is addictive. There are attention engineers, psychologists, trained especially to advise social media companies on how to best target the points of the brain which appeal to addiction and more impulsive behaviours (which is why there can be more hate online than there is in person). Cal Newport, whom I mentioned above, referred to social media like a slot machine in your pocket, like being in Las Vegas all the time but rather than gambling money you’re gambling with the worth of your self and the content you publish. As its so addictive, it often means that our attentions are split between the task we have set ourselves and our social media. As soon as a notification appears it can be hard for people not to check it then maybe have a scroll whilst your there. This means that a lot of the time we’re not necessarily focused on the task at hand and we can feel like we’ve been less productive. Of course we can switch our phones off or put them on airplane mode, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be wanting to check and see and its likely you might check it when you have a break. But spending a break on your phone can be damaging too, you’re only temporarily diverting your attention rather than giving yourself time to relax a little. This need for a break is often why people like smoking, it gives them a chance to go outside and often be with your own thoughts or with others. But our phones mean that this break time never really happens. Your brain moves between task to social media to task to unsocial socialising with your phone again. Snapchat I think is the worst for this because it appeals to human curiosity, the fact that you can’t see what the sender has sent makes you feel a need to find out but then once you open it you have to answer it otherwise the message will disappear. And so the cycle goes, our focus is broken constantly pulled in different directions.

Social Media, Data and Information sharing

I have seen some research suggest that social media can be helpful to people at this time during lockdown to help stay in contact with others and the world. But for me I think it makes things more confusing. Social media platforms allows information to be published online to mass consumers in seconds whether it is fact checked or not, and information can be published by anyone. This spreads what Trump has coined ‘fake news’, journalists biting at the bit to get out the latest story in a competitive news race or manipulating information to fuel the latest speculation. In times like these that can spread fear where it may or may not be founded. I follow many different news outlets and each one publishes different data to the next with seemingly no information on why they are different. I still find this to be the case when the information is sent via email but the rapidity increases the likelihood that the information will be edited later.

Information protection is another reason many choose to not have social media accounts or to be wary. I don’t like that I cannot protect my own identity because of the fact that it is not tangible, you cannot see a hacker coming to take your information or exploiting it in any way or you aren’t told explicitly how your information is used or sold. I don’t like the fact that my identity feels like its out of my hands online; it can be taken, manipulated or sold and theres nothing you can do about it once its online. This isn’t only an issue of social media but of technology and the internet in general but social sites are the ones in which you input the most of your personal information. We actively participate in trends, memes, viral challenges that may all help companies collect data. Often social media sites have access to many more sites you visit too. I was thinking of deleting my Facebook account and then I thought of all the websites I signed up to that I still visit which I signed in to through facebook, I began to realise just how much control this website was having on my internet life.

Im not saying that Social media is wholly bad, it has connected us as a human race globally in so may ways, it has allowed us to contact people more easily and its given voices to those who otherwise might not have had one. But I have come to the conclusion that my real friends would still phone me and that ultimately I would be better off in my life without using it, personally and widely anyway, when I can work my way off of it – wish me luck.

What has your relationship been like with social media? Do you find it to be more of a source for good? How do you think some of these issues with social media could be solved?

Sources/ more information:

No Rain No Flowers

Lifestyle, Thoughts, Travel

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Hello, Hope you are all okay!

So yesterday was world mental health day so I thought I would discuss some ways I deal with any anxieties and about why it’s so good to talk to each other about how we feel and be open about it. Mental health shouldn’t be a taboo topic as it is so common and talking about it is one of the best ways to help people with mental illnesses.

So one of the best ways to make yourself happier is to surround yourself with positive motivational people who support you and are always there for you. Make an effort to speak to these people often; with good friends you don’t need therapists.

Another way to feel less anxious is to look after yourself! Make sure you get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet and make enough time for things you like doing. Exercise is also good for relieving stress; even just a small walk around the block can really help.


I have always been quite an anxious person, I wouldn’t say I have anxiety but I’ve always worried too much about things I shouldn’t have to worry about. And through those times I tend to use an app called ‘calm’ and it really does help. Having calming music or having something to basically remind you to breathe really helps. So if ever feeling a bit panicky I would I highly recommend using it.

Life is tough. It’s stressful. It’s annoying. It can be overwhelming. There are times we all get a bit down and anxious and even if you don’t have a diagnosed mental illness it’s still good to do these sorts of things or whatever works for you and makes you feel calm and happy.

So I’ve titled this post ‘No Rain, No Flowers’. this phrase is so true, without some negatives, some failures and some unhappy moments there wont be anything good, you wont be happy and succeed. Its good to remember that in the difficult times because you know you won’t be unhappy forever; there will be flowers.

Failure is something I’ve had to battle and continue to, its something I’ve had such a massive fear of when in reality the little failures we make make us who we are, help us to grow and better ourselves.

 

Overall love yourself! You are always enough because there is no one else like you and if you’re ever feeling down or anxious about anything talk to friends and family or anyone that makes you feel loved.

I hope you liked this chatty post about mental health and happiness. Please fell free to leave a comment and please like and follow to read future posts! 🙂

(All photos are from a walk around Kingston lacy)

(What I’m wearing: topshop teal crop top, vintage striped blazer (you can find similar on ASOS), topshop Jamie jeans, vans)

practice interviews?

Advice, Lifestyle

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if you live in the uk you will probably have to do a practice interview at some point, its not something all schools do but it was in hindsight a great experience so that you can get feedback and know what an interview is like before doing it ‘for real’. I know a lot of people (including myself) get anxious coming to to an interview even if it is ‘just a practice’. Here are my life lessons (haha) from having a practice interview and other advise I’ve been told from employers:

  1. first, breathe! if you’re anxious and this counts for any situation, breathing is always the best way to calm yourself down. For me if i know am overly nervous i know that i am more likely to go blank if they ask me a question and i won’t think clearly so breathing really helps to get out of that mindset.
  2. act confident, interviewers like to see that you turn up with a smile on your face, good posture, a firm handshake and seem like you know what you’re talking about.
  3. I speak really quickly so a definite tip to my future self is to take it a little slower next time!
  4. Have a career\ life goal in mind. The most my practice interviewer wanted to know was what I am planning to do with my life, that i can set goals for myself and how i am going to achieve those goals.
  5. If you a student really take all the opportunities you can, i know that there are so many people who come to having an interview and have nothing to say for what they had done at school and what responsibilities that had taken on. This could be work experience, volunteering, helping out the school in some way or generally getting involved in anything your interested in

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I am by no means an expert in career advise, i have only done a practice interview but this may help those who are about to have there interviews.

For our school we had to find a smart outfit to wear so all the boys wore suits and girls wore dresses or suits. It was a good experience as my interviewer gave me advise at the end and thoroughly went through my cv as to what was good and what i could add or remove.

what advise do you have for interviews?

have you ever had a bad interview experience?

10 things that make me happy

Advice, Favourites, Lifestyle

Happiness is so important to everyone, it is the natural objective everyone strives for; to simply be happy. Often it can be the simplest of things or activity, everyone has that different thing that makes them smile each day. After being inspired by Victoria’s (Inthefrow.com) latest blog post, Here i thought i would share the 10 things that make me happy.

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1. Art:

Seeing a beautiful piece of artwork or sculpture or something beautiful someone has made really inspires me or really getting the time to create something myself and creating something makes me so happy.

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This is my newest piece of work; painting just makes me feel so relaxed and I get really inspired by people. 

2. Candles and cozy days:

On a rainy day when I’ve got time for myself, my favourite thing to do is snuggle up in a warm blanket with a couple of candles burning. Not only does the smell make me feel relaxed but having the warm fuzzy glow adds to the cozy atmosphere which makes me feel comforted and content. Getting to wear those new pyjamas and that favourite cozy jumper just makes me feel so happy knowing that a lot of the jobs are done and that i can have time to myself maybe to watch a film or relax with a good book.

3. Bonfires

On a chilly evening which is all the time in England, having a bonfire with my family and friends makes me feel so happy. Im often sat with a hot mug of soup or hot chocolate wearing a cozy jumper having a good time, sat with the dogs, having heart to heart conversations about anything and everything.

4. Music /festivals

Im writing this as I just got back from Camp Bestival and I had the best time. I also went to Larmer Tree festival this year in which Tom Odell was playing, he was amazing and it had an incredible atmosphere. At Camp Bestival we were at the front singing and dancing along to Jess Glynn and budding musicians on the stage. Even whilst I’m doing homework at home I will listen to some good music and it kind of takes the stresses away and helps with motivation.

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This is me on the worlds biggest bouncy castle with my friends- had an amazing time and yes, I know, we did join all the 5 year olds haha!

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5. forest walks

Even in the rain getting time to clear my mind in the forest whilst walking my two dogs means I can clear my head and look at the beauty of nature around me. My pets make me feel happy too which is an added bonus.

6. New interior items

I’ve always loved moving my room around or creating something new for my room doing a bit of DIY or purchasing a new item. I love getting to see a look coming together and thinking of new ideas of how it will look; so getting that cozy blanket or new item and seeing it fit in with the rest of the scheme makes me happy.

7. Friends and family

These are the people who are always there for me. If I’m having a good or a bad day they are always the first people I want to share it with and they either share in my excitement or will help cheer me up. As I have already mentioned, I have just come back from a festival and that was with my family and close friends and it was great sharing these memories and inside jokes.

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8. A cuppa tea

hmmm…  a cup of tea when it gets a little chillier or when you get up in the morning or to relax is like a little piece of heaven. It means something for me to look forward to in the morning and just tastes good ; my favourites are english breakfast, rose lemonade and a new find- the best of both (normal with green tea).

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Enjoying a nice warm drink on a chilly evening at Camp Bestival!

9. Trying something new

Trying something new whether that means an activity like going on a zip wire and stepping out of my comfort zone or finding a lovely new eatery or shop makes me feel happy. A shop particularly if they have beautiful packaging! but indulging in food, clothes or an activity makes me feel happier and stepping outside of my comfort zone improves my self confidence too as it can bring a proud feeling.

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10. Fitness

After I’ve done a workout or done some yoga, gone for a bike ride etc… I feel so much happier and healthier. I no longer feel that wave grouchiness when I get up and feel ready to take on the day ahead. It improves confidence as I feel so much more alive and no longer like the zombie when I woke up. My recent favourite workout has been the sweaty betty bodybysimone dance cardio, it consists of 5 sections; warm up, cardio, upper body, lower body and cool down.

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After a good meditation and yoga session in the zen den!

What makes you happy?

please let me know what activities and little pleasures you like to indulge in that make you happy, everyones different and will find happiness in different things.

on another note…

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I died my hair lavender, what do you think?

 

How I deal with stress

Advice, Lifestyle

Everyone has moments of feeling stressed, feeling anxious or under pressure. Stress could happen because of exams, many year 11 students are currently sitting their GCSEs, or from work or from situations at home. People deal with these feelings in different ways; some deal with it better than others.

I am definately not an expert on coping with it but I have picked up a few tips that i thought i would share. Some of these tips may be super simple but they are things you don’t realise will help when you are in a confusing, flustered mode of stress.

First, this is the thing that most would recommend for stress- just BREATHE. the most simplest thing, the act we do all the time without giving it a second thought; breathing. Taking deep breaths not only distract you from stressing but are also proven to stop adrenaline which then causes the fight or flight response. Breathing and dealing with your stresses will mean you can have a clear mindset and make better decisions.

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Secondly, whenever I’m stressed I will go for a walk with the dog. It gives you time to think about the situation, have some peaceful time to yourself and your doing exercise which is a massive bonus. Walking and doing other forms of exercise controls the stress hormone and puts you in a better mood. It will also lead to better sleep because your body is more worn out and wanting to sleep.

Write out a ‘To-do list’. This will organise your thoughts and puts you in a better mood getting to tick off each task. This will reduce stress because you’re getting the tasks done that you’ve been stressing about, seeing it on paper should make you feel more organised about the situation and feel ready to take them on.

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Lastly, take breaks. Read. Do yoga. Create something. Do something for yourself. Weather that means baking a cake and being indulgent to just taking a step back; going for a run or doing something you love. Although work/ school and other issues are important its equally as important to look after yourself so take some time each day to do something for YOU.

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I hope this post has helped you in some way in dealing with stress, its something that effects us all particularly in the modern day stresses of day-to-day life. So breathe, go for a walk, organise and take breaks; give it a go and one of these might work for you.

How do you deal with stress? please leave your comments below and try some of these methods out, I’d love to know if they worked for you. Everyone is different and everyone has different ways of dealing with stress.

some good websites ; the help guide , skills you need, health

(photos taken at Stourhead house and gardens, Wiltshire)

what I’m wearing: