Social Media

Does it Conflict with Your Way of Life

By Jennie Hastings Stancu
[Savvy Self-Care]

It starts out slowly. You create an account on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media site. You post a picture of yourself, some basic information, and start friending or following people. Time goes by. Your connections grow. Before you know it, there is a parade of people flowing through your news feed. It’s your friend from high school, your aunt, your massage client, some friend of a friend who seems safe enough so you just confirmed them.
Cool, right? I mean, isn’t this what technology is for—to make it faster and easier for us to communicate? Doesn’t it make you happy to know that a vast web of people are only a click away? Maybe. Maybe not.
I am a massage therapist. I consider myself a healer. I am also an introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceptive person. I feel like all the gifts and traits that make me good at what I do—to touch people, feel their pain, and then apply my body and wisdom to help balance them out again—make social media one of the worst things I can do for my own health.
The bottom line is, for me, social media sites are simply too much information. I usually have to feel at least a little bit of everything that comes into my awareness. For that reason, it can be truly exhausting to know what everybody and their cats are doing right now, what they are eating, what their current problem is, and how they feel about politics and sporting events and everything in between. Nor do I benefit from all the carefully staged photographs or the incessant advertising.
Social media is fragmented and one-dimensional. It lacks context. It is difficult to tell where people are coming from when they say the things they say. A lot of people over-share and even try to purposefully shock their audience so they might stand out amidst the din. The diversity of information can feel overwhelming. Some of it is really great stuff, but it is mixed in with a cacophony of drivel that seems like more junk I want to filter out of my life, as opposed to actually enhancing it.
For a sensitive person, social media can be on par with the 24/7 news cycle. I learned long ago that I need to be careful about how much mainstream media I allow into my life. Only now is it occurring to me that I need to be just as careful about social media. 

Make It Work for You
I know social media works for some people. Younger people tend to be more comfortable in their online skin because they’ve been wearing it most of their lives. But I think for some people, social media needs to be considered just as invasive and unbalancing as the mainstream media.
Many people who work for themselves, massage therapists and bodyworkers included, feel like they need to use social media for the marketing tool that it is. Before social media and email, if you wanted your community to hear from you regularly, you had to spend either a lot of time or money. Print advertising, bulk mailings, and in-person networking is what it took to spread your message. With social media, all you have to do is type out a thought and your name, business, and message is instantly on display for every one of your connections.
But how do you know what to post? And for whom are you posting? Most bodyworkers who utilize Facebook find it helpful to have a separate page for their practice and then a personal page for family and friends. Just remember that what you post online can be visible to anyone, even if you’re careful about your privacy settings. So make sure you’re professional in all facets of your online life.
I recently realized I could deactivate my Facebook account without deleting it. I’m giving myself a break to discover what I might actually miss.
Here are some other ideas you can use if you think social media might be unbalancing for you:
•    Clean up your newsfeed. Hide people whose posts regularly bother you for any reason.
•    Create specific social media times in your schedule and stick to them.
•     Limit your time on social media by using software to schedule all your posts for the week at once and time them to go out later.
•    Take social media apps off your phone so you can only do it at your computer.

When you feel things deeply, and chances are that if you are reading this you are a feeling genius, you must be careful about what you allow into your environment. Your sensitivity is one of your greatest gifts. I want to be clear that I am not saying that social media is totally useless and to get off of it completely. We are all individuals, and maybe social media is a big help in your life. I am simply suggesting that you check in honestly with yourself about how it makes you feel, and allow yourself the freedom to make the best decision for you and your practice.

Jennie Hastings Stancu, LMT, is the author of The Inspired Massage Therapist (Massage Blossom Books, 2012). She lives in Portland, Maine, where she practices massage, yoga, and coaching with clients, and sings to herself for fun. Find out more at