May Health 2017 – Mark’s Challenge

When social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter started to become mainstream I wanted nothing to do with them. I didn’t feel comfortable with certain privacy aspects of it, and I felt that in general I didn’t need it in my already full life.

Then, several years ago, we moved across the country and were just settling into our new life in Guelph. As we didn’t have any history here, no immediate family or friends, it was suggested that social media, Twitter in particular, might serve as a portal in getting to know our community better.

It really did.

Since that first tweet I can say, without exaggeration, that social media has been a major force in changing our lives for the better. We have met some of our best friends, learned about the wonderfully interconnected nature of Guelph, and have participated in shaping the ongoing positive changes in this great community.

But…

I also spend far too much time scrolling through Twitter and Facebook feeds. It’s not that I’ve found extra room in my already full life. It’s that I’ve reduced the amount, and/or quality of some activities in order to squeeze social media in: while I eat; while I read; even sneaking in peaks while playing with our daughter.

Since diving into social media my mind seems more scattered than it used to be. It can feel like I have many things going on at once but aren’t sure where to start/stop/continue. Or that I have every intention to follow through with a task, and thirty seconds later get side-tracked with another task, only to completely forget about the original task. And there is a constant urge to check in and see what’s happening.

And from what I read (on the the Twitters and the Facebooks) this isn’t uncommon. Social media, smartphone use, and the always on, interconnected, real-time nature of the Internet is changing how we’re thinking, processing, and managing information.

While we can have debates about the pros and cons of this process, the fact of the matter is that I don’t like how it’s affecting me. I don’t like how I’m responding in order to adapt to these changes.

So here’s what I’m going to do about it for May Health

  1. Limit checking in on personal social media (Twitter/Facebook) to 5-10 minutes, twice daily. The hope is that I will regain more focussed time and appreciation for what I’m doing in the present (however, I’ll still be close at hand for May Health related interactions).
  2. Meditate/Relaxation breathing 10-15 minutes each day. This is something I used to do regularly, and have once again gotten away from. It’s time to re-establish this simple, yet beneficial tactic for the mind.

Like many things, social media plays the role of being good and bad, neither and both. It’s been a force for so much good in my life. It’s also crowding out things that value. Therefore I’m planning, this May Health, to forge the path to a better balance.

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