Social Media, Coronavirus, and our Psychological Wellbeing

Image Source: Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Many of us have struggled with social media dominating our time especially at times of increased stress when we just want a mindless escape. That mindless escape [social media] also took us away from being present with loved ones, engaging in activities that bring us a sense of vitality, and took away our precious resource of time. And therein we engaged in this back and forth struggle: engage—>disengage—>engage—>disengage—>and so on we went.

But now, in these unprecedented times, we’re drawn back into the world of social media to stay connected with others, remain up-to-date with various happenings, and support each other through a global crisis. In doing so we’ve probably consumed an overabundance of information about Coronavirus; within this sea of information I fear we’ve become lost again to the mindless scrolling, only this time we’re not escaping anything, we’re inadvertently torturing ourselves with too much information. Our natural anxieties and fears about Coronavirus are therefore significantly magnified and the risk is it becomes all too consuming.

So how do we find a meaningful balance amongst the chaos? Balancing the need for keeping up to date with factual information and an overload of information is possibly a first step. Focus on what you need to know to remain informed and safe, but limit all the extra details (like reading the comments on controversial or dramatic social media posts) that you don’t need. Focus on the here and now – when our mind naturally washes us away with our fears and overthinking remember to reconnect to the present. Engage your body and senses to ground yourself – notice your body physically connecting to the ground or chair, notice the way the sunlight or night shadows dance on surfaces around you, smell the fragrances in the air, and listen deeply to the sounds of life continuing all around us (birds, traffic, the kids playing, our own heartbeat). Take a moment to slow, pause, connect, and breathe.

And with this storm of worry about all the implications of Coronavirus on ourselves and our world, remember above all that it’s natural to worry, natural to feel deeply, and natural to yearn for it to be over. So let’s connect to ourselves with loving kindness – self compassion for being a vulnerable human who feels, thinks, and behaves uniquely to this crisis – it’s natural and opening ourselves up to inner kindness allows us to accept that we’re doing our best and it’s ok. Think about how you’ve consoled a loved one, what you’ve said to a worried child, friend, colleague, or what you’d like someone to say or do for you in your moment of fear. Turn your hands towards your heart, close your eyes, embrace the image of giving that loving kindness within.

And if the wave becomes too much and you’re swept out to sea, try again to connect to the here and now, and be compassionate that at times we all get swept away as this crisis continues to unfold. For further support, Healing Connections Psychology remains open. We consciously hold our desire to continue supporting our community through ongoing sessions and access to psychological care. We have several options for accessing treatment including Telehealth* (i.e., video conferencing – only equipment needed is a computer with an internet browser, camera, & microphone) and we’re following. Dr Francene Hemingway has completed the Department of Health “Infection Control Training – COVID-19” and we maintain a safe, sanitised, and clean clinic for your peace of mind and comfort. For further information please call our reception team on 0415177822.

These are unprecedented times, please remember to be gentle with yourself and others, and engage support as needed.

*Eligibility criteria for Telehealth may apply. Please call to discuss.

Francene Hemingway