I was just thinking about a conversation that I had on Twitter recently with two of my friends and fellow PR/social media colleagues, @narciso17 and @aerocles. It actually started when @aerocles tweeted, “I’m bored.” I immediately responded with “How could you be bored with so much Social Media?” Somehow the conversation morphed into the abundance of Social Media and just media in general, which leads to social networking fatigue (SNF) and sensory overload. @narciso17 pointed out that it was funny that we were having this discussion on Twitter. I agree it is funny and a little scary. Every so often, it’s important to step away from your digital device to rejuvenate. There are times recently, and I know that this sounds horrible, but the only break I’ve had in the last few months is visiting a loved one in the hospital. Because, at the hospital, I can’t access my blackberry, or do any work on my laptop, not that I would even want to during a visit. A voice inside me says, “You’d better slow down, step back and breathe!”
I know that other professionals are overloaded with extremely busy Social Media schedules and work obligations. I receive Chris Brogan’s (@chrisbrogan) new newsletter and in the last issue, he mapped out his entire day. It was exhausting just reading it! Sounds a bit like my day, but he has little kids! Then, I spoke with Brian Solis (@briansolis) and he mentioned something about traveling overseas about 6 times in the last few months. Wow! And, I know that Brian, eats, sleeps and breathes Social Media and Putting the Public Back in Public Relations!
So, what can you do to invigorate, rejuvenate and feel human again, so that you are more focused on your social networking and community interactions? Well, there are probably hundreds of things, but here are my “get focused quickly” exercises in less than 30 minutes (and they really work).
- Find the nearest teenager and ask, “How was the mall?” “The movies?” “That concert?” Whatever the question, that teenager will give you an answer that’s full of energy, vim, vigor, and drama (especially if you have a teenage girl). You’ll be happy to go back to your social networking life after listening to the craziness of the teenage existence and their entire world, how they feel, and “how this one doesn’t like me anymore and I’m not friends with her.”
- Put on the comfy clothes of your choice (doesn’t matter how you look), close the blinds, turn off the TV and turn up the music as loud as you can bear. Dance around the room in no particular fashion, bang your head around, fling your hair (if you have long hair) and just let loose!
- Go into a small room, alone, close the shades, turn of the lights, burn a couple of candles, put on soft mellow music, sit on the floor and hum. Every time you try to think or words pop into your head….just hum. This only takes 10 minutes but it works.
- While everyone is inside the house, you should go outside and sit on the lawn. Take out a small journal (no lines) and start to pencil sketch something. I like to draw water scenes, trees, the hill by my husband’s old house, our last dog who passed away, etc. It doesn’t matter if you’re not an artist, do the best you can for 30 minutes. You may enjoy it so much that if you don’t finish your drawing you may choose to go back and finish it.
- Go cuddle up with a pet or a small child who just wants to hug. Of course, this child should be your own! And, he or she should be too young to talk. This does not work with older children or spouses. You don’t want to have to answer questions or think about anything. Breathe and relax.
- Clean…it’s very cathartic. I know that we tend to seen cleaning as a chore, but I don’t mean toilets or scrubbing kitchen floors. Clean out your closet, a junk drawer, or give away old clothes to Good Will or the Salvation Army. Focus on ridding the clutter and you will feel really good.
- Cook…something other than a can of soup. Go into the refrigerator and find different ingredients and experiment. I’ve done this before. Sometimes you create a masterpiece and other times you create a mess, but either way it is fun and you can laugh if it doesn’t turn out right.
- Go for a walk, a run or a bike ride. This is definitely a good 30 minute exercise because when you start, you’ll enjoy it so much you will want to use up the full 30 minutes. I like to bike ride every weekend morning. I have a set 20 minute itinerary and then the last 10 minutes is for new exploration. I always come back to my family with a smile and then hope back on the computer.
- Go out into the garden and plant something or pull a weed. Now, I know my husband will say that I never do this…but if it comes up, “I was the one who planted the tree on the side of the house!”
- Help someone in need. I always feel so good when I can help my spouse, a friend, an older relative, or our kids. Even if that means just calling someone to say “How are you? “ and then really listening to the answer or dropping a card in the mail (especially to an older person), it means a lot. If you “make it” about someone else, you’ll feel better about getting on with your own routine.
I hope that my SNF tips are helpful. They may not all work for you, but I bet you can find one or two, then that would do the trick. Give it a try and let me know how you do. Then, you can continue down the Social Media and PR 2.0 path with a clear mind!