The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the lives of so many people physically, financially, and even mentally. For some people, this pandemic has intensified pre-existing emotions, and for others it has brought on new feelings and symptoms that may have never existed before.
Social distancing has been difficult for so many of us and children are not immune to the stress of this large change. When faced with uncertainty, children often struggle to adapt the way we are able to in adulthood. As a result, their struggle can be even greater and more confusing for us as parents.
Most families are worried that this pandemic is going to create anxiety in their children. We recognize how perceptive they are and how quickly their world’s have changed. Solutions like limiting their exposure to the news or avoiding conversations about death tolls may reduce the likelihood that our children will become anxious or depressed.
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?
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.
Whether you think that posting about it, talking about it, or sharing about it glorifies suicide or supports prevention, there are a few basic steps we all need to be reminded of to help someone close to use who might be struggling.
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.
- Keep Them Safe
- Be There
- Help Them Connect
- Follow Up
It is hard to know what to do when someone we love has started to talk about suicide. Do we talk to them about it? Do we call for help? Do we ignore it and hope it goes away? Do we force them to get help?
These days there are a number of suicide prevention numbers and hotlines to call. 1-800-273-8255 is the National Suicide Hotline, and here in Arizona there is a local number called Empact 1-480-784-1514
But when you are close to someone and see them struggling, it’s easy to be unsure of what to do. These 5 simple steps are easy to remember, and can help someone you love get the help they need. Sometimes we are afraid of asking if someone is thinking about taking their own life, but we need to ask these tough questions. It opens the door for our loved ones to know that we care about them, and are concerned. When we take action to keep them safe, we can keep a situation from escalating. We can keep them on the phone, go over to their house if possible, send a neighbor or a friend over while we are connecting them with phone numbers or other resources for help.
It is important to follow up with our loved one and ask them how they are doing. By following up we are letting that person know we care about their long term health and happiness, and are willing to step in to keep them safe.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please give them the Empact Crisis Line phone number 1-480-784-1514 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
We are here to help as well. If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment, call our office at 1-480-999-7070.