Social anxiety is one of the most common psychological disorders that is affecting more people than we may realize. It is important to be aware of you or people around you who may be showing variations of these symptoms. Extreme shyness is one way to think of social anxiety. Social anxiety exists along a continuum, ranging from normal shyness to high degrees of social anxiety. Social anxiety can be characterized by an intense fear of specific or all social settings. This usually also involves a heightened self-focus, and avoidance or escaping social situations. Sound familiar? This could be finding excuses not to attend a certain party or to socialize with certain people that make you feel uncomfortable. And if you do go to an uncomfortable event or surround yourself with people who make you feel this way, you may often leave early.
I admit, it is very tempting to throw around words like “self-care” in the context of therapy. Sometimes, what ends up happening when words are so easily used is that we forget their true intention and meaning.
Self-care as it is used today is about finding ways to attend to ourselves. In today’s busy world we really forget to pay attention to ourselves as boundaries and limits are blurred by technology and the mentality of always “being on”. Without giving ourselves any true time off, we tend to feel anxious, stressed, stuck, alone, unable to connect with others, and unproductive to name a few things. It is now more important than ever to use self-care strategies in order to maintain our physical and mental health, which ultimately helps to manage our stress.
Here are three self-care strategies to use in our technology driven world:
- Unplug from technology. In theory, this is about taking time away from technology so we can have a few minutes of peace in our lives. It’s important to think about how you’ll unplug from technology. This can include:
- deactivating a social media account for awhile (for example, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat)
- putting your phone on airplane mode for at least an hour
- putting your gadgets away in a drawer or another room – out of sight, out of mind
- Use the time you’re unplugging from technology to do something you enjoy or used to enjoy. Go for a walk, read a book, go see family and/or friends, try a new hobby, take a nap, or maybe learn to practice mindfulness.
- When you reconnect with technology, challenge yourself to delay responding to texts and emails unless if it’s urgent. This one can be tricky, because it’s easy to tell ourselves something is super important and needs to be responded to immediately.
- Put your thoughts through a test: if you wouldn’t call someone that moment to respond to them, it’s probably not urgent and can wait.
- By setting different expectations we ourselves can feel less of an urgency, which will make it easier to unplug from technology.
There are some very interesting pieces on the history and importance of self-care you can read about:
By taking time away from technology we are caring for ourselves and giving ourselves opportunities to connect with our internal needs. If you’re wondering about how to develop more strategies to help improve your life, you can always develop these strategies with a life coach, counsellor, or therapist. Please visit here for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment.