We are well into September now, and Fall is upon us. It can mean many things like cooler weather, back to school, and day light hours getting shorter and shorter. September is also Suicide Prevention Month. With the high profile death by suicides that occurred this past summer with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, our society is still mourning the loss of these very public passings.
It’s 2018, and the digital age is exploding. We are a society that is obsessed with technology, cell phones, laptops, social media, and video games. The more advanced we become in this area, the more we are glued to our screens.
There are people who spend 24/7 sitting in front of their computer playing video games. And making a very substantial living from it we might add. Many individuals in this day and age are making an income from their social media sights as well. Whether it is a blog, an Instagram influencer, or a content writer, not only our social lives are focused on social media but so are our job markets.
But can you really be addicted to social media?
Mentally, there are studies out there that have shown the negative side effects of spending too much time on social media. Psychologically speaking, people have shown to have more anxiety, depression, loneliness, low self-esteem and body image issues from spending so much time on social sites.
If you ask most people if they are addicted to their social media they will likely tell you no. And for the most part this can be true. People love to constantly check Instagram, or Facebook, and genuinely love sharing their lives. But if they go on a vacation, out of the country, or need to have their phone off for a certain period of time, are usually able to do so with ease.
It is now seen as something that has become a habit rather than an addiction. And we know that habits are not always positive, and can have several negative side effects on our health. An addiction is usually something that needs to be diagnosed by a professional. If you suspect that you or a loved one is becoming more and more addicted to technology, we urge you to seek out a professional like a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist.
How do you know if you’re developing an addiction?
There are a couple of signs that you could be headed in this direction. According to Mark D Griffiths from Psychology Today, if you answer ‘Yes’ to the following questions you might be starting to develop an addiction.
1. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media?
2. Do you feel urges to use social media more and more?
3. Do you use social media to forget about personal problems?
4. Do you often try to reduce your use of social media without success?
5. Do you become restless or troubled if you are unable to use social media?
6. Do you use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job or studies?
What to do about it?
Seeing a therapist or a counselor is always a great idea. They can help understand the reasons behind your uses of social media, and work through why it’s making you feel the way it does. Another great suggestion is to do a “technology detox” of sorts. Try putting your phone down for a certain amount of time each day, or limiting your hours that you are on your phone. Little by little try to work out a schedule so that you have a good amount of time without your devices.
Taking many breaks is always a good idea through out the day. Especially if your job requires you to be on your phone or computer all day long. Every hour or so stand up, take a walk outside or around your office. This will help clear your mind, ease your neck muscles, and give you some fresh air.
What are your suggestions for spending less time on our technological devices?
When most of us think about retirement, we think about how much money we have saved and invested over the years. Will we have enough income to live comfortably when we retire? We spend most of our lives saving as much extra money as we can, and being reminded by our banks and retirement agencies that we need to stay on track.
One thing that we do not seem to prepare for when retirement approaches, are the emotional and psychological aspects of retiring. You have spent your entire life working and having a career, to suddenly be out of that space can sometimes be a shock to your system and identity.
You were once busy all day long, and now you find yourself with endless amounts of time on your hands. People start to realize their lifetime goal of a happy retirement, has now become a reality filled with disappointment, loneliness, and often sadness.
This doesn’t happen to everyone of course, but for those who do experience this can feel the need to keep it quiet. They feel like they have done something wrong to feel disappointment instead of happiness in retirement. Everyone keeps telling them how wonderful it must be, when they are thinking how terrible it has been.
So how do you prepare for retirement emotionally and psychologically? According to the American Psychological Association and the article by By Jamie Chamberlin, there are a few things you can do to ease into this new lifestyle.
Finding part time work, or self employment is always a great idea. Having some sort of schedule, or side work can make someone feel like they are still participating in the work force but at a slower pace.
Taking up a hobby in retirement can be particularly rewarding, and can fill some time in your schedule. Have you always wanted to take up painting? Yoga? Cooking? Take a few classes, and see where it takes you!
Have you had a trip in mind that you always wanted to take but never had the chance? Start traveling.
The important thing is that as you prepare for retirement or are settling into retirement, you are aware that emotionally it might take some time to get used to. This is normal. It is okay to feel like you miss your “old life”. It is okay to feel angry, disappointed, and that you have nothing left. Retirement is emotionally like what your life was like before retirement, it is what you make of it. It is your mindset and your outlook on it. And that can always be changed!
Earlier in the week we shared a TED Talk about how to start a conversation about suicide. In the last few months we have had a number of big name celebrities die from suicide. Our media once again has become saturated with those who many of us look up to and their decision to take their own lives. According to Elana Premack Sandler L.C.S.W, M.P.H and her article on Psychology Today, there are 5 simple steps for suicide prevention.
If you are in Arizona right now, then you are completely aware of how hot it is! It’s Summer time in the desert right? The temperatures are constantly in the triple digits, and the sun is blaring down on us every day.
Do you ever feel like the heat is impacting your mood, or your emotions, or your behavior? If you do, there is some thought behind that. According to John M Grohol, Psy D and his article on Psych Central, there is research that shows that heat waves can lead to more aggressive and violent behavior, as well as more findings of substance abuse in the hotter temperatures.
When people are hot, their anxiety seems to go down, while their depression seems to go up. And we’ve all surely experienced being extra tired, lethargic, and low energy with the increase in temperatures.
As always the best advice when it’s so hot it is affecting you psychologically, is to get indoors where it’s cool and stay hydrated. Often waiting until you feel thirsty is too late when it comes to hydrating. There are also certain health conditions that worsen in the heat, like Multiple Sclerosis. Make sure you and those around you are aware of how the heat affects these conditions, and how to keep symptoms at bay.
There are some people who are not bothered by extreme weather changes, and who welcome to different seasons. And there are a lot of people whose moods and emotions change positively or negatively with the seasons. If you’re feeling like some of this extreme heat is affecting you in a negative way, our Counselors here at Biltmore Psychology and Counseling are happy to help with certain coping and management tools!