Why You Need to Take a Break From Social Media
Last August I undertook my first social media detox and removed all my social media apps – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and Pinterest – from my phone for two weeks while I was on family vacation with my three girls in Calgary. It was my first taste of freedom from our instant update, click bait, thumbs-up gratification life. (You can read my poem about it in my previous newsletter, I Took a Social Media Break)
I was rewarded with mental clarity, focus, and presence. The boredom gaps that I was filling with my mindless cell phone wandering were replaced with being in the moment with my girls, a richer, more fulfilling, and in-tuned way of life. I decided to make it a quarterly routine, and I’ll share why you should consider a social media spring detox.
I’m in the midst of completing my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Athabasca and I’m always staring at a screen. All of my textbooks and readings are digital, and I constantly write in word documents. I imagine the majority of our workforce survives from starting at screens; I call them digital slaves.
Think of Facebook CEO, Mark Zukerberg’s testimony before the US Senate last week, a deadpan performance that left me wondering if his company sent an android in his place. His robotic answer that Facebook should not be regulated, even after the privacy invasion of 87 million people in which their data was harvested by a quiz app and sold to Cambridge Analytica, was my incentive to delete Facebook.
If you have no issues with your privacy being invaded then I suggest you read George Orwell’s 1984 and watch the movie, Snowden. The invasion of our privacy to collect our data has become a profitable business and is the excuse for the arm of the public to reach into our private sphere. It will not stop without regulation, and our only form of protest is the non-participation in a system that literally makes millions of dollars from us.
Besides our privacy invasion, social media steals something sacred from us that no generation before us has had to combat – our spaces of boredom, and the time we need to tune into ourselves – our thoughts, desires, dreams, and awareness of our wounds that need healing. The only way for these spaces to open up requires stillness and silence. A difficult feat in a society that has been trained to keep a short attention span, and be constantly entertained.
Screens are everywhere in our society dousing us with a fire hose of information/misinformation, fake realities constructed by friends and corporations, and a comparison chart that breeds contempt and self-loathing. How can she afford that vacation? How did he get that promotion…I should be further along in my career! Their kids are perfect – do they have a post about it every day?! How did she lose all that weight, and why can’t I?!
Even the creator of the most famous screens in history, the iPhone, and iPad, Steve Jobs stated in an interview on businessinsider.com that he didn’t allow his children to use his technology, “We actually we don’t allow the iPad in the home. We think it’s too dangerous for them in effect.”
The “effect” Jobs speaks of is the rewiring of our brains due to the dopamine feedback loop built into social media. The former vice president of Facebook’s user growth, Chamath Palihapitiya states in an interview posted on the website, nakedcapitalism.com, “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works.” He’s referring to the instant gratification we receive from the dopamine hits which instills in us a false sense of self-worth and validation through artificial “likes, hearts and thumbs-ups.”
It’s only through a social media detox that I realize the insidious nature of artificial connection at our fingertips. How all these small stolen moments of scrolling leads to a spiritual deficit and creates a barrier to authentic relationships. It also reminds me to stay in my own lane, and take responsibility for my thoughts, and deeds. When I do so, I become more productive, the quality of time I spend with people increases and most importantly, I feel peace. I don’t feel pressured to “like” anyone or anything, and that I “like” myself without social media.
If you’re considering a social media detox, my best advice is to quit cold turkey and note all the times you go to pick up your phone. You’ll be stunned by the realization that it has become an extension of your arm, and how uncomfortable you feel without it. Then lean into the silence and stillness and let your soul exhale that deep sigh it’s been holding in all this time you’ve been disconnected from it by using social media.
Indigenous Fitness Leadership Certification
Tara Waskewitch (Participant of Fitness Certification)
Tara is a member of Onion Lake Cree Nation (OLCN) and a proud mom of a busy 8 year-old boy, Tabian. She works full-time as a youth prevention worker, volunteers in OL, and loves to attend her son and nieces sports events.
This past Wednesday, April 11th Dr. Wicklum and I had a phone conference with Kathy Fowler, a lead academic on the creation and implementation of the Indigenous Fitness Leadership Certification, a pilot program by Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association.
On their website, it states “the program was designed by an experienced team of educators and fitness professionals to empower Indigenous people to deliver safe, high-quality fitness programs in their communities that are culturally relevant and incorporate traditional learning methods. This pilot program is made possible through a funding agreement with the Department of Indigenous Services Canada, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch. The program supports the 89th Call to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, ensuring that barriers to participation in physical activity and fitness are reduced, and fitness programs are inclusive of Indigenous Peoples.”
I will be attending the last class on Sunday, May 13th in Saskatoon to discuss the Women Warriors program and how we can collaborate with the 18 participants – 11 female and 7 male – to implement a Women Warriors in their community. I am also excited to announce that a participant from the Oct/Nov 2017 Women Warriors, Tara Wasketwitch was chosen to partake in this training.
Please review the poster below if you would like more information on the training. The funding for this pilot certification has ended, but please feel free to contact me if you have suggestions on where to obtain more funding. I will keep everyone posted on this certification and our possible collaboration in the newsletters.
The Importance of Sleep
Screen time before bed is negatively impacting our duration, and quality of sleep. The first Women Warriors class is dedicated to sleep hygiene, how to prepare our bodies for sleep, which include no screen time at least one hour before bed. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults and young adults, 8-10 hours for teens, and 9-11 hours for school-aged children.
Sleep and Nutrition*
Studies have shown a lack of sleep causes:
- Increased levels of a ‘hunger hormone’ called ghrelin and decreased levels of the satiety/fullness hormone called leptin, which could lead to overeating and weight gain.
- The consumption of approximately 300 calories a day more than when they are well-rested. Overall, most of the extra calories came from high-fat foods.
- Eat more than what is needed to cover the energy cost of staying awake longer, especially at night, which can lead to significant weight gain.
- Reduces fat cells’ ability to respond properly to the hormone called insulin, which is crucial for regulating energy storage and use.
The following are ways you can help yourself sleep well:
- Avoid or limit caffeine and nicotine, especially in the hours before bedtime. Both can keep you awake.
- Don’t drink alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol can cause you to wake up more often during the night.
- Don’t take medicine that may keep you awake, or make you feel hyper or energized, right before bed. Your doctor can tell you if your medicine may do this and if you can take it earlier in the day.
- Use the evening hours for settling down. Avoid watching TV and using the computer or phone if they keep you from getting to sleep.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. Try using a sleep mask to help you sleep.
- Take a warm bath before bed.
- Make your own sleep routine. Try to have the same bedtime and wake-up time each day.
- Exercising at different times of day may affect how you sleep. Through trial and error, find the time for exercise that helps you sleep best.
- If you are overweight, set goals to manage your weight. Being overweight can be linked with sleep problems.
- Stress and worry can disturb sleep. Consider talking to a healthcare professional if these are affecting your sleep.
*(Sourced on January 2, 2016, from usatoday.com; http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/20/sleep-loss-weight-gain/7507503/)
**(Sourced on January 2, 2016, from Alberta Health Services😉