Tips to avoid the social media mind trap

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Confession: Somedays I scroll through my Facebook feed and feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of “noise” – information, opinions, causes and advertising.

There is something incredibly humbling, and a little demoralising, about reading real-time human atrocities such as acts of terrorism and war, directly followed by a detailed summary of what your second cousin had for breakfast and pictures from a co-worker’s hen’s party.

This mish mash of information overload is unique to social media. Unique to this generation. No longer do we peruse a broadsheet over our breakfast or tune into the radio on the way to work to get drip-fed news worthy material. In reality, many of us now plug in to the news of the world before our feet even touch the floor in the morning.

It makes me ponder what impact this deluge of information has on our mental state. Take for example, the disaster of flight MH17. I knew about this horrific incident before I had uttered a single word to my children that day. I hadn’t had a shower or a coffee, heck I hadn’t even looked out the window. Yet there I was snuggled in the warm comfort of my feather doona, contemplating the deaths of 290+ innocent people on the other side of the world. It made me want to grab the kids and pull the covers over our heads, never to step foot outside again!

Social media is not all doom and gloom, of course. Plenty of good news stories are shared and social media is a fantastic mechanism for getting the word out about the amazing things people are doing to make the world a better place. However, this can take it’s own kind of mental and emotional toll as we are inundated with appeals for countless worthy causes. It’s hard not to feel guilty for not following, donating or otherwise supporting all the charities and fundraisers for various chronic diseases, community initiatives, not to mention the orphanage the Angelina Jolie runs. It takes all my will power not to rescue every puppy the animal welfare page posts. If it wasn’t for the threat of divorce, I’d be the crazy dog lady in no time.

Oh, and while we are at it, I’d have more cushions too. Lots and lots of cushions. It’s not quite the salvation of humanity but Facebook has really honed in on my latest obsession with homewares. Then there’s all the adorable baby items. My sidebar and suggested pages to follow are full of gorgeous things I lust after. Pinterest and Instagram are just as bad at tempting my inner consumer. So many things I want want WANT need. Maybe. Just a little?

While I’m contemplating the sales at Temple & Webster, I read all the posts by friends, family and random acquaintances. Some are happy, some are sad. Everyone experiences life out loud, vividly and quite often in picture form. I know the planned colour of Sally’s bedroom feature wall, that John is looking forward to days off and that Mary’s kid got selected for the state soccer team.

Would I know this information otherwise? Probably not. Does it change my world? No. Is it adding to the “noise” in my head? Most definitely!

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE social media. I love connecting with like-minded people, I love oversharing and I love learning new, interesting things every single day. I am also acutely aware that as a blogger/social media bar fly I contribute more than my fair share.

However, I am starting to realise that some days the “noise” of social media gets to much. The information overload takes it’s toll.

We really need to be conscious of our personal goals, needs and limitations when looking through the kaleidoscope that is today’s social media arena.

We cannot fix all the world’s problems, buy all the things or always keep up with the Jones’s.

Feelings of despair, guilt, envy, inadequacy or overwhelming social awareness are not constructive or healthy.

If you are like me and find it impossible to avoid social media all together, even when you aren’t at your most resilient, here are some tips to avoid falling victim to the social media mind trap:

1. Skim over posts and avoid clicking on links to articles that appear to contain distressing or “heavy” content.

2. Avoid reading the comments attached to posts in relation to issues you feel strongly about, chances are opinions and beliefs that are contrary or degrading to yours will offend and upset. Reading or engaging with the conversation will drag you deeper into the mind trap.

3. Hide or Unlike/Unfriend pages or friends that continual post material you find emotionally taxing.

4. Pick two or three causes/charities/organisations that you feel passionately about to follow on social media and keep it to that.

5. Avoid checking social media immediately prior to bed and when you wake up. Start and finish your day with a clear, relaxed mind.

6. Step away from your device! Allocate a set amount of time each day where your computer/tablet/smart phone is out of reach or switched off to help you resist the temptation of checking in with social media.

These few small logical steps can help us maintain a sense of perspective in relation to our own locus of control and establish a healthy ongoing relationship with social media.

Do you ever experience information overload from social media? What do you do to avoid the social media mind trap?

 

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The Rocking Chair

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We have a nightly ritual, my daughter and I.
Every night before bed, we sit together in the rocking chair in her room. 
I feed her and then we have a cuddle. 
She lays with her head tucked under my chin, her body stretched down my mine. 
We sit together and just “be”.
She does not need to be rocked to sleep but it is our time, our moment, to savour our bond.

Sometimes I sing. Badly. But she doesn’t seem to mind. 
Sometimes we giggle as she sticks her fingers up my nose or plays with my hair.
But mostly we just sit and rock.
I use this time to soak her in, mentally imprinting her sweet smell, soft hair and warm weight against me. 
Some nights I wish I could freeze time. 
Every night I linger longer than necessary. 
My favourite place in the world right now is that rocking chair.

 

Do you have a nightly ritual with your kids?

Do you ever wish you could freeze time?

 

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Tight Arse July

This post is part confessional, part commitment and largely a cry for help!

Ok, so things have been a bit tense here post-seachange. Despite having everything we wanted: fabulous location, big house etc, we have an equally big mortgage and, for the first time ever, only one income. 

The Man does not cope well with financial stress and I do not cope well with a stressed out husband.

And unfortunately, amongst the hefty bag of things I completely suck at, sticking to a budget is a bit of a doozy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gone without before. When I first moved out of home I was very good at making my pennies stretch. But over a decade of double income and a manageable mortgage have made me complacent. While I don’t make extravagant purchases (ever!), a little homewares here, a few cute baby clothes there and a coffee or two at a nice cafe… all those little things certainly add up.

We have had a budget in place now for a while but we fail miserably to keep the weekly spending to our limit. Now while I’m not willing to take SOLE responsibility for this, I certainly could be more frugal. 

In light of this, I henceforth declare this “Tight Arse July”.

Aside from the $45 dollars I may have already spent on cushion covers this week *ahem*, I will endeavour to keep my spending to essentials only. This means no sneaky treats at the bakery, banning myself from eBay and limiting my take-away coffee consumption to emergencies only.

Most of our bills are direct debited or paid via internet banking and The Man takes care of those so I’m considering going old school – taking the credit cards out of my wallet and just living off a cash “allowance”. Out of this I will need to get groceries, petrol and any things the house or kids may need.

I’m thinking I may be alone in thinking cushion covers are an essential item?

So this is where the cry for help comes in… Do you have a budget? How do you stick to it?  Any tips for getting groceries to a budget?

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Popping my paint cherry {Review & Giveaway}

In my hunt to make my new house feel like home, I stumbled across a new obsession.

Shabby chic.

Now, of course I’m not a complete mushroom, and have been aware of this style and have admired many a shabby chic piece wistfully. Never before though have I really been able to envision it as a style that would fit into my home. Firstly, because most pieces I came across were ridiculously expensive and secondly, because it was a style that didn’t really gel with the existing furniture we had. Now that we have a new house to decorate and have culled a lot of our old furniture, I have a clean slate to play with. Unfortunately, just not the budget to go with it!

Enter Canterbury Blue.

When I discovered Canterbury Blue I immediately fell in love with the colours, feel and style of the pieces and it’s pretty easy to see why.

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Canterbury Blue is the creative genius of Juliana Kent, who loves to hunt for pre-loved furniture to breathe new life into.

The ethos behind Canterbury Blue is that everybody deserves to own something beautiful. This is reflected in the pricing of Juliana’s work and also in her new DIY range “EZ 2″.

Now, if you know me even just a little bit, you’ll know DIY is not my thing. “See-And-Buy” is much more my style! 

However, Juliana convinced me that her Chalk EZ 2 Paint was exactly that; easy to paint!

So, for the sake of research purposes I have thrown myself on the sword and picked up a brush to put her paint to the test.

The things I do for you people!

Now Juliana tells me that chalk EZ 2 paint is so easy to use because:

  • It’s easy to apply to almost any surface – no pre-sanding or priming required
  • It’s easy to clean up – just wash brushes in water
  • It’s easy to distress – rub back to achieve a shabby chic look

Sounds easy!!

I left Canterbury Blue with the tools of the trade: paint brush, sanding block, a gorgeous beachy blue shade of Chalk EZ 2 Paint and a bit of expert advice from Juliana.

Chalk EZ 2 paint

I chose a simple wooden chair as my sacrificial piece to paint.

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This chair has been with me since I first moved out of home. I love it’s simplicity and solid build. It’s currently commissioned as the Wilful One’s desk chair and it could do with a little facelift to fit into it’s new seaside home.

Now I won’t share any gory action shots of my awkward attempts at painting, but I can say that it was much easier than I anticipated. It’s certainly not a perfect paint job and I think I will do a little more distressing before I apply a coat of EZ 2 wax to seal it. But for my first crack at this DIY business, I’m pretty proud of my efforts.

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I love how the Chalk EZ 2 paint has a really depth to it which is further exaggerated when you rub it back. The colour I chose looks a little different in certain lights and has a real beach house feel which is exactly the look I was aiming for.

This little experience has really opened my eyes to how easy it really is to up-cycle your existing furniture. I can’t say I’m a total convert to this DIY caper, however I certainly won’t be so afraid to pick up a paint brush in future!

GIVEAWAY TIME!

To celebrate the launch of her new range of Canterbury Blue Chalk EZ 2 Paint and EZ 2 Wax, Juliana is offering one lucky reader:

1 x pottle of chalk EZ 2 paint

1 x pot of EZ 2 wax

1 x paintbrush

1 x sanding block

1 x photo frame to DIY!

Endless expert advice :)

To be in the running, all you have to do is LIKE Canterbury Blue on Facebook and tell us:

What piece of furniture you would make perfectly imperfect?

Congratulations Natasha!
Conditions:

Giveaway ends Monday 7th July at 8pm. The winning answer will be judged based on creativity and selected by Juliana from Canterbury Blue. 

Australian residents only. Judges decision is final. Winner will be notified by email and posted on the blog.

Disclaimer: I was given paint, wax, tools & lots of advice by Canterbury Blue. All words & opinions are my own. 

Do you DIY?

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Letter to Pebbles: 9 months

Pebbles dearest, you are now 9 months old.

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That means I have carried you in my arms for the same amount of time I carried you under my heart.

And what an 18 months it has been.

You will never know how much impact news of your arrival had on your father and me. The whys, whats and hows no longer matter. What’s important is that they got us exactly where we needed to be. Here and now. I like to think that we are both better people for it and we have you to thank for that.

As for you little lady, what can I say?

The joy you bring us every day is indescribable. Your cheeky grin and delightful antics help to balance out your exceptional ability to voice your displeasure! I’m sure your piercing cry can be heard for miles around and we’ve disrupted many a happy holiday maker and morning jogger as I push your pram along the beach with you caterwauling away inside.

You are usually easily distracted from a cranky mood though and are very canny when it comes to working out how to get what you want. Undoubtably this is a firm foundation for a life skill you will get much use of!

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You are well and truly mobile now, having sat up, crawled and pulled yourself to standing all with-in a week of each other at about 8 months. Now you are practising free standing and have been cruising around the inside of the playpen. I’m both anticipating and dreading the day you let go and take off.

I recently got you a mirror for the playpen and you spend a lot of time preening in front of it. Your vanity is for good reason though as you are super cute!  You still pull all the grannies at the shops which is fine as you are incredibly social and love a good chit chat. You saying “dad” a lot but I’ve only heard one “mum”.  As it was in a whiny voice I’m pretending that one didn’t happen.

The bond between you and your brothers continues to grow stronger every day which makes my heart sing.

image 3 They take such good care of you and your face lights up whenever they walk in the room. This can be a little annoying if you are feeding as you insist on turning your head to watch their every move! Yes, I’m proud to say we are still breastfeeding, despite your 6 teeth.

You love arrowroot biscuits, chewing on your dummy, chasing the cat and dancing in your high chair to daddy’s music.

The last 9 months have gone so quickly yet I can’t quite remember what life was like without you at the epicentre.

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I love you darling girl, with all my heart.

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