Social Media Finally Invests in Wellbeing by Dylan Dartnell

Cover image from Pixabay free images

My uncle has lived a life of first-class flights, with contacts and friends in every country around the world. He has been retired for a number of years but still has a robust calendar of luncheons and ceremonies, and holds a mentoring role for many members of his former industry.

Well, he did.

My uncle has reached a vintage where the severity of COVID-19 exposure could be fatal. He remains updated on the pandemic as news becomes available, whether by TV, radio, the morning newspaper, or calls from friends interstate and abroad. It’s overwhelming. It’s enough to cause a spiral of stress and anxiety, but he remains in high spirits—we both do. We have been practising self-isolation over the past week and he has cancelled his scheduled plans for the coming months. He’s hoping to break free come July and head north towards the sun and sea, so let’s cross our fingers for Uncle Pete.

We are all by now aware that the Coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the way we live. We are working from home—if we are able to work at all—and the simple soul-serving joys I had, like meeting family and friends for coffee; borrowing books from the local library; and starting the day at the gym, have been disrupted for the time being. With those non-essential spaces shut until further notice, there aren’t too many places left to go besides the internet.

Which reminds me: I should probably turn off that weekly screen-time statistic ‘cause that is not a notification I’m going to want. Your screen time has increased by 110% in this last week. Are you ok?

Brigid Delaney from The Guardian in her article Overload in a Time of Coronavirus (20 March 2020) comments on the drastic changes that CV has had on our social media interaction. She says, ‘Twitter has transformed in a week from a grim cesspit of death threats and egos to a place of funny jokes and good science widely shared. Social isolation has never felt so social.’

Similarly, I’ve noticed a subtle change in the content that graces my Instagram feed. First of all, there have never been more workout routines available! I can squeeze in a chest session with a weighted backpack or, if I’m up to the challenge, curl a couple of larger bottles of washing detergent.

I have friends championing their top five vegan recipes.

Their friends are sharing their top five feminist reads.

Our favourite artists are holding performances over on IGTV.

I’ve even had someone challenge me to pick up that second language I always wanted to learn.

My point being, there seems to be less promotion of self (as a brand) and a second-coming of content that is encouraging wider audiences to invest in their holistic wellbeing. There is a rally, whether it be organised or not, where content creators are considering the wellbeing of everyone participating in self-isolation/our impending lockdown.

Taking my own wellbeing into account, I journalled my own list of five things I want to practise during my ‘downtime’:

  • Read and write—the usual. We’re all familiar with those pangs for page and pen
  • Run—I love it almost as much as I love coffee and sleeping. It’s important to keep your body moving! Throw your body around in dance, compound muscle movements, or wrestling— whatever gets your heart pumping
  • Stretch—slow down and breathe, which is something I struggle with big time
  • Commit to some research and develop a healthier relationship with food
  • Shoot off a couple of messages to make sure my friends and family are maintaining a healthy headspace

And as we negotiate this time of anxiety, uncertainty, and stress, let’s remember to be kind to ourselves and pursue narratives of hope and peace. Invest in your wellbeing and in the wellbeing of your families and friends. Uncle Pete and I will be camped out until it’s safe, and I hope you are doing the same.

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