Let's Talk: Happiness in the Digital World, with TELUS
Hello friends! Today I want to talk about something I’m sure we can all relate to - how social media and the internet affects our well being and happiness. Oof, right? If you have a phone and an internet connection in this day and age then chances are you’re familiar with the struggles of managing how the internet and the content we consume and images we see can either negatively or positively affect how we feel.
As a TELUS Ambassador I love getting to learn about the ways that TELUS tries to help make our digital world a better and kinder place. First with their #EndBullying initiative to help make the online space safer and kinder and now, through their new TELUS Wise Happiness Workshop. This new offering in the TELUS Wise Workshop roster is a free educational program that offers workshops to help Canadians of all ages to have better and more positive experiences as digital citizens.
Think about it - if you’re reading this and you’re around my age (30), then chances are you’ve been using the internet regularly for over 20 years. Did anyone teach you how to protect your online security, privacy and reputation? What about giving you resources to rise above cyber bullying, and use technology and the internet responsibly? I don’t know about you but I didn’t learn a lot about that until I was almost an adult. I think for my generation we were more slowly introduced to social media and both the positives and negatives of the digital world but now, children are exposed to the full internet and everything it has to offer from such a young age so it only makes sense that learning best practices and digital safety should be SO important.
The TELUS Wise Happiness workshop is great in so many ways:
It’s FREE - yup, you read that… FREE! (Get more details and register here)
It’s available both online and face to face so you can take it solo (or register for your kids to do the course online on their own) OR, you can have a TELUS Wise Ambassador teach the program to a group in person
The program was developed with input from expert psychologists, Joe Flanders from McGill University and Laurie Santos from Yale University - so this isn’t a ‘fluff course’. It tackles topics such as excessive digital use and comparison to others (umm hi! Yeah, I think we could all benefit from that)
Lastly, the course is offered in both English and French!
With ‘back to school’ officially here - it’s pretty much the perfect time to be tackling these topics. I myself don’t have kids but if I did, I would definitely be having them take this course and truthfully, I’d be doing it with them. Because let’s be honest - we could all benefit from more information and resources about navigating the digital world we live in. Growing up I wish I’d had access to these resources and this is just another reason why I admire TELUS so much for the social responsibility they take as a digital company.
And while I’m no expert, I certainly spend much of my time online for both work and my personal use too and there are a few tips I use to help balance my feelings when it comes to the internet and social media…
Take a break: The biggest change I’ve implemented fairly recently is taking breaks from social media. This year James and I have tried to have regular ‘no phone nights’ where we put our phones in another room (laptops too!) and stay off of our emails, social media and the internet. It sounds simple but let me tell you - the first few nights we did this were a bit strange. It’s crazy how attached we are to our phones without even realizing it. But this was the perfect first step to what we try to do now on most weekends - which is stay off of social media almost entirely. For the past year we’ve been having more and more ‘phone free weekends’ where we go the full weekend without checking instagram or facebook or emails and let me tell you friends, it is life changing! Small breaks whether for a night, a day, a weekend or longer have made a huge difference in my life personally and after I got over the bit of an adjustment I have to say - I didn’t miss it!
Another tip if putting your phone away entirely isn’t an option is to delete apps from your phone temporarily. One of the first things I did when I started tracking the time spent on my phone (and was mortified by the results) was I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. I had only meant to do it for a few days but almost a year later, I still don’t have Facebook on my phone. Now, I occasionally check the site on my laptop but I don’t find myself endlessly scrolling through posts that truthfully, left me feeling not so great about myself.
The last tip I’ll share that’s made a big difference in my relationship with social media and how I feel about myself has to do with who I follow on social media. As someone who has an account where I proclaim that I ‘share the pretty things that make me smile’ I get that I may be one of ‘those accounts’ that could be a problem for some people and in fact, I’ve touched base on that before. But, here’s the thing - pay attention to how you feel when you’re on social media. By now I hope we know that there are accounts that are intentionally styled an curated and they serve a purpose and there are accounts that keep it oh so real which is wonderful. There’s nothing wrong with either but, they both can leave you feeling positive or negative depending on your own life and where you’re at. I noticed that I was following quite a few accounts that were to put it bluntly - making me feel like crap about myself. So, I decided to unfollow and/or mute the accounts that made me feel ‘less than’ and what I did instead - was go out of my way to follow accounts that make me laugh, leave me feeling inspired and don’t make me feel less about myself. The accounts I follow and engage with most now are mostly fabulous drag queens, hilarious and inspiring people, body positive bloggers and accounts that share beautiful homes and interior design because that’s what makes me happy. What makes YOU happy? Are you following those accounts that lift you up?
I know today’s post is a long one but this is a topic that I feel very passionately about. I feel like I have come so far with my personal struggles with social media and the internet that I just want everyone to feel happy, fulfilled and empowered with their digital use too! Gaining the resources to ensure mental resiliency and well being in our digital world is so important - so whether you have children who are entering elementary school or are teens or pre-teens or if you yourself want to empower yourself in this digital world - I HIGHLY recommend checking out TELUS’ FREE Happiness workshop.
And let me know in the comments - how do you maintain healthy digital habits?
This post was made in partnership with TELUS. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love!