Lifestyle choices and navigating discourse overload on social media: My ‘wellness plan’

When is the last time you felt really confident about your lifestyle choices, or your opinions? With everyone on social media being so vocal about what they stand for, the things they agree/disagree with… with every social media platform encouraging some sort of discourse and debate, very often people’s lifestyle choices, opinions and habits will come under scrutiny.

Generally speaking, I’m finding social media a bit hit or miss these days. I’ve stopped using Facebook. I find Twitter particularly toxic, full of bullies and I hear Clubhouse is even worse. Instagram has been good to me, usually positive and I’ve met some amazing ladies on the app. I’ve also experienced so many wonderful things, blessings and opportunities beyond what I could have imagined. But there’s also a lot of judgement on there.

I know most millenials have a love/hate relationship with social media, so I’m not the only one. But since I actually enjoy being online the majority of the time, I try to stick to a what I call a ‘social media wellness plan’, which helps me create boundaries but also be open to learning from others and taking things with a pinch of salt. I share this plan at the end of this post.

For every lifestyle choice there seems to be a think piece or infographic about why it’s not the right choice.

Have you ever read an opinion about a particular lifestyle choice and thought “Oh, they’re talking about me here”. Whether it’s the way you’ve chosen to raise your children, whether it’s the way you live your marriage, or the way your manage your finances… Have you ever felt triggered, or hurt, or perhaps educated – to the point you decide to change the way you do things?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way we let the opinions of others affect us, especially when our choices aren’t necessarily the ‘popular’ ones. My approach is to stand firm in the choices I’ve made for myself and for my family, if I know that they’re adequate and healthy for us. But on the other hand, I also have an open mind and I’m a teachable person by nature. If I come across different ways of doing things that I think could benefit me, or my family, I’m all ears. It’s about balance.

Daring to say something that goes against the popular wave shouldn’t cause so much anxiety. And yet…

Do you sometimes worry about speaking your mind online, for fear of being judged? Or perhaps you have witnessed someone else with a similar opinion to yours get cyber-bullied or called names just because of an difference in opinion…

I believe in speaking your mind, and standing up for what you believe in. But when online, I’m also very aware of the potential repercussions, backlash and stream of opposing views that could come my way.

I’m very observant of things like cyber-bullying, ‘cancel culture’ and how it is being applied. I believe as consumers we have the right to stop supporting a person’s work and online presence if we believe the things they have done or said makes them unworthy of our support. It’s a personal choice we can all make, but how we go about showing our outrage and indignation says a lot about our character.

There’s benefit in blocking out the noise and developing tunnel vision, if I’m confident that my choices are the right ones for family family. But there are times this ‘noise’ can also be a teachable moment for me. I take what’s valuable, and leave the rest. Not everything will resonate with me, but when it does, I’ve learned to be receptive and open minded enough to consider new way of thinking. The notion of balance is one that I like to apply to all areas of my life, and social media is one that definitely needs a balanced approach.

So, going back to the questions I asked earlier… Have there been times the opinions of other social media users pushed you to change the way you do things? Do you sometimes get triggered or hurt when your lifestyle choices are being criticised? How do you deal with the constant “noise” that social media brings?

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