It’s 2020, and by now we all know that social media is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. I’ve been able to reconnect with long-lost relatives and friends from high school, thanks to the magic of Facebook.
But it can have its downside, too. Many research studies suggest that too much Facebook (or similar sites) can make us unhappy and dissatisfied with our lives.
Did you know that having more than 7 social media accounts (which is not unheard of) triples the risk of depression among young adults, according to researchers at The University of Pittsburgh.
Maybe it’s the multitasking or the pressure to look cool across multiple venues with different rules. Either way, that’s one mistake your dog wouldn’t make. She’s content with playing in the same park each afternoon, and eating her usual for dinner each night.
If you’re going to use social media, here are a few things your dog could teach you. After all, she’s woman’s best friend, so take a look at these ideas she’d want to share with you.
4 Things Your Dog Wants You to Know About Social Media
1. Play Nice
Online spontaneity and anonymity can lead to regrets when you say something insensitive. Even dogs benefit from being socialized, and you can too.
- Think first. Ask yourself if what you’re about to type is encouraging and constructive. Imagine how you’d feel if you were on the receiving end.
- Consider your audience. Context matters. Avoid misunderstandings by choosing the appropriate platform for your remarks. Puppy pictures will get more laughs on Facebook than LinkedIn.
- Take the high road. You’ll probably run into some rudeness and aggression online. Unfortunately it happens. Try to elevate the conversation or leave gracefully if necessary. Don’t engage.
2. Accept Yourself
The average mutt can have just as much confidence as any Westminster Kennel Club winner. Loving yourself protects you from feeling inferior both online and off.
- Be authentic. Know that you are worthy of happiness and respect just the way you are. Celebrate your strengths, and enjoy exploring the areas where you want to grow.
- Resist comparisons. Sometimes it looks like everyone else on social media is taking exotic vacations and bragging about their gifted children. Count your blessings and pursue your own definition of success.
- Think positive. Think of challenges as opportunities. Wake up with a smile and be kind to yourself. When you talk to yourself, choose words that comfort and inspire you.
3. Stay Active
Being sedentary takes a toll on your mental and physical health. Maybe you need to step away from the computer (or put down the phone).
- Take your dog for a walk. Exercise each day. Walk your dog an extra mile or visit the gym.
- Move around. Incorporate more physical activity into each day. Climb the stairs or do some extra chores around the house.
- Interact offline. Cultivate face-to-face relationships. Meet up with friends for a regular coffee or lunch date. Throw a potluck dinner with your neighbors.
4. Engage in Meaningful Activities
Your dog can find fulfillment in chasing a stick. You may need to aim a little higher, but if you’re feeling down about squandering the last 2 hours on celebrity gossip, maybe it’s time to start devoting your time to finer things.
- Live mindfully. Any activity can be profound if you keep your purpose in mind. Enjoy preparing breakfast for your family or giving your dog a bath.
- Find a hobby. Fill your leisure time with projects that expand your knowledge and skills. Play a musical instrument or study a foreign language.
- Focus on giving. True gratification comes from helping others and contributing to your community. Volunteer at a local animal shelter or rescue. Tell a retail worker when their patience and kindness helps to make your errands more pleasant.
If your dog can figure out how to avoid Facebook depression and Instagram anxiety, so can you. Monitor your social media use and work on cultivating a rich offline life. You and your dog will both benefit!
How do you manage your social media usage?
When you put down the phone and play with your dog, spend time with a friend, or treat yourself to something special, you’re improving your life without even realizing it.
I’d love to hear how you manage your social media time. Leave a message below or stop by my private Facebook group for dog moms and join in the conversation there!
P.S. Be sure to check out my article If Your Dog Had a Pinterest Account for a few giggles!