How to be mindful with social media

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As a yoga teacher and a digital marketer I am in constant conflict over social media.

When social media hit, I fell in love with it – suddenly there was a platform that turned the whole world into a podium, a platform – millions of people connecting, chatting, sharing content, voicing their opinions, making a stand, a difference, a change… it was so easy to speak to friends who had moved half way across the world – I could see what all my mates were up to at the drop of a hat, birthday parties became suddenly SO easy to organise – and my job as a journalist had just become very, VERY exciting.

A career in digital media was only natural, but the more I delved into it, the more aware I became of the negative effects of instant gratification, of poor posture from constant scrolling, damaged retinas from screen gazing, and also what it really meant to have the whole world as a podium with every Tom, Dick and Harry were voicing their opinions, opinions that often weren’t all that…

So that’s when I turned to yoga, to give myself some space from the digital world, but in doing so – I learned new skills to help me navigate this connected world that I had become a part of.

Yoga helped me step back, find balance, and approach social media in a more mindful way.

So if you’re struggling, here’s a few thoughts from me on how to be more mindful with your social media…

1. Don’t use social media every day

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You don’t need to post something every day – particularly the Instagrammers out there – why not give people a glimpse into your life once a week, and spend the rest of your time, living your it? If you are sharing nearly every moment of every day, how are you ever truly living in the moment and being mindful?

2. Don’t engage with social media first thing.

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When waking up, while it may feel natural to reach for your phone first, don’t. Roll over and hug and kiss the person next to you. Open the window and check out the weather. Do some stretching. Make a cup of tea or meditate. Give yourself time to connect with yourself before connecting to social media.

3. Go to bed with a book in hand instead of your phone.

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This allows you time for yourself, escapism too, but also helps you stay present in the moment – and maybe even help you fall asleep quicker too.

4. Don’t bring your phone with you when you have special plans.

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If you have to take photos take a camera that is not connected to your phone or at the very least put your phone on flight mode so you won’t get any notifications. And if you do take photographs, please let it be of people and not your food?

5. Disconnect every week.

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Every Thursday I teach yoga, and 3pm on a Thursday is my golden hour. I turn my phone off, listen to music and lay on my yoga mat and relax. Sometimes it’s for 40 minutes, sometimes I am lucky enough to get an hour, but it’s never anything less than 20 minutes. It’s important to have this time away from your phone, and everyone else trying to connect with you. So try and reserve space once or twice (or even much more) times a week if you can. And as a yoga teacher – I can honestly say yoga retreats are the greatest for this – five days without your phone is the ultimate heaven.

Try it.

Social media isn’t going anywhere, at least anytime soon, so just give yourself the time to switch off for a bit – you’ll thank yourself for it later!

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