Social media related anxiety… it’s a thing. The more time I spend deep-stalking models, celebrities, and bloggers the less calm and secure I feel. As I remind myself that bloggers make a living out of performing a lifestyle (and that 90% of their feed is orchestrated for branding purposes), I fall into a bigger trap: obsessing over my own friends’ social profiles.
Stories, highlights and perfectly edited posts make my life feel like a dead-end when compared to all the people who (seem) to be doing better. I kinda knew it wasn’t healthy to go on Instagram binges, but what I didn’t realize is just how real the problem is and just how common it is in today’s tech-ruled life.
Its been confirmed by psychologists: social media extends the fear of loneliness and increases social anxiety because it allows you to quantify your social network and then compare it to others. By continually monitoring what other people do, who they hang out with and how popular they are (in terms of likes and followers) you live in a constant state of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) instead of being present in the moment and enjoying the people who are physically next to you.
In fact, happier people tend to spend more time socializing IRL then interacting via screens.
With my job consisting of 90% computer time, creating a healthy work-life balance meant turning off screens. Turns out, operating without a phone is not always realistic, so instead I decided to use my phone differently. Because there were too may social apps on my phone, I decided to replace them with meditation and mindfulness apps and make good use of my phone storage. Below are my favorite apps that have officially replaced some of my social media apps – bye bye Snapchat, you really were super distracting.
My favorite! It let me personalize my profile by choosing topics I wanted to focus on. It also teaches you how to meditate for those who are unsure of how it works. Not completely new to the concept, I still started off with 5 minute mediations to ease me into the practice. I chose before going to bed as my self-care time and replaced it with my nightly meme binge.
Headspace also let me set mindfulness reminders, easy ways for me to stay present during the day.
(Also, pssttt – Groupon has a deal on Headspace year long memberships.)
What I like about Aura is that it made me choose a daily time for me to practice mindfulness, for example, every morning at 7:45 I received a reminder to meditate for 3 minutes after waking up. After a few days, this practice turned something I dislike (waking up) into a peaceful activity. Another plus, this app lets me choose my current mood and look for a specific meditation. If I’m feeling sleepy and ready for bed, I dive into peaceful sounds and relaxing breaths.
3. Simple Habit
“A daily vacation for your mind” is their slogan and I find it fitting – all it takes is 5 minutes a day and this app will help reduce stress and improve sleep. You can pick topics that interested you form a VAST list that include stress, sleep, focus, productivity, intimacy, and depression (to name a few). The reason I like this app is because while they introduce topics they also explain how it works before they start guiding you. The guides are specific, letting you know how you should be sitting and breathing and help you focus on, well… nothing.
Simple Habit also lets you set goals and track your daily progress; a great way to help you stay motivate and stick with the habit.
While its not a mediation app, Reflectly prompts you with different questions that help you reflect and create personal journal entries. It’s a great way to get people into journaling and get deep with different topics. After you start writing on different topics, the app will start building you’re profile with statistics and monitoring the topics that interest you.
When you open this app it asks you to rate how you are physically, mentally, and emotionally and then recommends meditations and breathing exercises depending on that day’s results. All meditations are guided and range from a minute to over an hour so theres plenty of material to choose from!
Regardless of what app you choose (or don’t) to help you be more relaxed and mindful, remember that it can also be as simple as turning off your screens for an hour before bed and allotting that time to self-care practices. So, whether it’s a guided meditation, quiet time with a book, dancing in your room, or a glass of vino with friends: remember to stay present IRL.