Being available 24/7 - is it good for you?
It's a 24/7 world, or so the media tells us. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a few of the social media platforms that demand our attention - both day and night. How many of you reading this article actually turn off your mobile phone at night? Or is your sleep disturbed by the pings of incoming messages?
What is so urgent? Is it really so important that you can't deal with it tomorrow, once you have rested and recharged your batteries? How many of us have 'tools' from our employers such as laptops or smart phones which are supposed to help us do our jobs? Is it really a help or does the expectation become that once you have the mobile or the laptop you are available 24/7 and will respond to emails whatever the time?
I'm inviting you to set yourself a challenge. Can you turn your mobile phone off when you go to bed, even for just one night - whether it's your personal phone or a work one? Not just onto silent, but completely off. Have a mobile/tablet/laptop free bedroom and feel the difference when you wake up. Go on, give it a try.
How many times have you been in a social situation and see the people around you staring down at their phones, rather than engaging with the friends and family that surround them? Even sadder is seeing a family out on a trip when the adults are glued to their phones looking at the latest posting on Facebook or Twitter, ignoring the children who are trying to get their attention.
If you can manage the 'no phone at night' challenge, perhaps you'd like to try this...
Arrange a get together with a group of friends but tell them in advance that it's a 'mobile free' gathering. No Facebook or selfies; offer it as an opportunity to everyone to talk without being interrupted, and to be listened to. How amazing will it be?
Don't get me wrong, I like and use social media - in moderation. I'd prefer a conversation with a real person any time though.
Even if you disagree with me, it may provoke you to have a conversation with someone about it!
Whether you are struggling to switch off from your busy schedule, or you have an addiction to social media, a therapist can help offer you support.
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About Rowena Slater
Person centred counsellor working in private practice. I specialise in working with young people and adolescents, particularly those with anxiety and stress related to school and college.