I love Twitter. It is easily my most favorite form of social media with Pinterest at a close second. When using Twitter, I am amazed how it is a free educational tool whose “lectures” I hardly ever want to miss. It has become a means to create meaningful connections with the “I thought I was the only one’s,” the kindred spirits whose interactions have greatly contributed to being able to verbalize my experiences. It has been a source of plenty opportunities, from writing with various publications to earning scholarships. Twitter is a gold mine and those who are regular users likely value its spoils. But even with this, there are times when using Twitter can be a bit much.
There are moments when casual scrolls through my Twitter feed become an overwhelming intake of others’ thoughts and ideas. What I expect to be the satisfying sip of insights quickly becomes a running facet of content down my throat and there seems to be no gasp for air. For so long, I thought that the overconsumption of the ills of the world was the main problem, my perpetually optimistic heart forced to reckon with the idea that perhaps the world is inherently evil and that its goodness is a rarity. But while that is a problem, I realize that sometimes, the issue is not the intake of the uncomfortable reality of bad things. It is overconsumption itself. It is the combination of intelligent thought, clever marketing, and bold statements that escape my screen and enter my psyche. It is the pixelated ideas moving faster than my mind can process them, essentially biting off more of this brain food than my mind can chew. This overconsumption leads to overwhelm. The overwhelm leads to mental exhaustion. And the exhaustion leads to an exhale to relieve myself of the tension that I feel both physically and mentally.
This is not something that happens all the time, especially now that I have a much better handle on the situation than I did earlier this year. It only happens in those moments when my feed becomes busier than usual. And it turns out I am not the only one who feels this social media overwhelm (although Facebook was the source of online hyperstimulation for this person). It is a real thing, especially for bloggers and onlinebusiness owners who may not have a handle at automating their social media posts. And as with most other moments when you encounter being overwhelmed, it is often an indicator that self-care must be implemented or readjusted to fit your needs.
Self-care is an strategy and sometimes, that means shifting your normal self-care practices around in order to accommodate how your body currently responds to various stimuli around you. And perhaps, one of the most important things to remember is that the stimuli does not necessarily have to be negative for it to be worth reducing or taking a break from altogether. Positivity, especially online, is often portrayed as the need to abstain from any and all form of negativity. “Think happy thoughts” is the unofficial motto of this online ideology and so the more fundamental pursuit of such ideal is to cut out anything remotely depressing. But this practice fails to consider how neutral and perhaps even positive things can take its toll on you. For example, the gems of intelligent thought that fill my Twitter feed every single day are not negative things. Thoughtful commentary on current events and insights concerning innovative ways to share your voice are things that I thoroughly enjoy. After all, that is one of the main reasons I am there in the first place. But sometimes, what can be harmless can be a lot to take in if there is a lot of it happening at once. And you are doing your body a favor to listen to how your body responds and to make changes accordingly.
So what has listening looked like for me lately? It is quite simple actually and it instinctively happens when I have recently felt overwhelmed with information: log off immediately and do something else. For those who spend most of their time on social media during the daytime, it probably means moving on to the next thing on your to-do list. But for people like me who use it most during their evening while they are winding down for the day, it may mean writing in my journal. If I can stand to stare at a screen for a while longer, sometimes self-care looks like watching dog and cat gifs and videos, laughing and admiring their playfulness. There are moments when decluttering my mind requires getting myself outside and running around my neighborhood if it’s not too dark. Other times, it is continuing a chapter from a book that is not too intense (which can be a bit of a challenge to find as my book collection shows that I am naturally drawn to intensity). Whatever the means may be, the end goal is to make my heart, mind, and soul a little lighter.