2016 has been a rollercoaster of emotions. There has been a lot of pain and tragedy from idols passing away to People of Color dying too often at the hands of law enforcement to mass shootings. It has been a traumatic year so far, and is even harder for people dealing with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.
It is a common rallying cry on Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media sites, for people to no longer be silent and to stand up and fight. This is often accompanied by the dismissive attitude of demanding people "unfollow," or claiming to unfollow in return, if a person does not use their platform to talk about what is happening out in the world. This too common mindset does not take into account the toll the constant barrage of tragedy happening in society can have on people.
Sometimes it is okay to take a step back and not participate.
We get it. This is a tiring cycle that seems to have no end. So here are five tips for maintaining mental health stability in the wake of tragedy.
1. It is okay to take a social media break
I know this is hard to do, we are all so connected that it seems like cutting off a part of yourself. But sometimes the most effective way to not be bogged down by negativity is removing your source of information. A short break of a couple hours may be enough to recharge your batteries, but if not, do not feel bad if you need to remove yourself for a couple days.
2. It is not the burden of the oppressed to educate everyone
We want to educate those that do not see the world the same way we do. But when that education is detrimental to yourself remember that your mental health is way more important than whatever crap they are spouting, and if they are actually getting an audience, you can believe someone else will be there to shut them down. It is okay to put your mental health above their education.
3. Find something that takes you to your happy place
Listening to your favorite bad, watching your favorite show, or reading a book are all great ways to calm your mind and force you to focus on something else. Anything that calms you would be beneficial. You know you've had that hat on your knitting needles forever, getting away from the world is a good excuse to get a few rows done.
4. Do not engage
This can be a tough one to follow. You see some idiot spouting their idiocy all over the internet and you want to correct them, but you know it will only drain you. Do NOT engage. Getting into an argument with them will raise your adrenaline levels and the crash can have a negative effect on your mental state.
5. Mute or unfollow if you have to
Yes, you can mute, or even unfollow, your friends temporarily if the constant barrage is getting to be too much. It is not wrong to want your social media to be a safe space for yourself. If you feel the need, just shoot your friends a message explaining yourself. They will most likely understand.
Friends, it is a trying time and you must take care of yourselves. You cannot help to educate and take care of others if you are not in the right state of mind. It is okay and good for you to take time to yourself to make sure you are alright. Be safe out there.