Engaging for Mental and Social Health

ConnectingThere are two obvious indicators of the level of stress in my life: how long my beard is and my presence (or lack thereof) on social media. When I’ve got a lot of projects at work, someone in the house is sick, extra family appointments/obligations—or D, all of the above—I can’t seem to make time to trim the beard or bring myself to carve out time for the socials. Those two things, for whatever reason, are the first to go.

It’s a little complicated because part of my job is actually managing our social media accounts. I have a small team now to help with that, so during times I’m overwhelmed, I lean on my fellow team members, just making enough time for quality control, but not much else. And my personal accounts? Forget it. Basically comatose.

Lately though, things seem to be settling down a little—in life-life and work-life—and I trimmed the beard and dug back into the Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts. I’ve made more time for surfacing new content, replying to and retweeting others’ posts, and have generally had my finger on the pulse of things. And it feels good. It feels good to be back to awareness and engagement, with the information flowing around me, but also with the people in my networks.

I’ve found myself wondering if one of the keys to me not feeling so stressed out is taking time for connecting through social media. I know it’s healthy and necessary to take breaks from online life, but I think I need to be aware when I’m not engaging because I’m overwhelmed, and make time to join those online conversations. Like making sure you go outside to get some sun if you feel depressed. And I need to make sure I’m making time for the other things that replenish me…like trimming that beard.