Notifications. They flood our inboxes, ding from our phones, and buzz from our smartwatches. They keep us informed — and on edge. That’s life, though, unless you’re the type of person who doesn’t do social media and says so with a wrinkled nose, like you’re handling someone else’s dirty tissue. Are these our only two options? Is there a happy medium? I think there is.
Imagine your friend, or perhaps only a casual acquaintance, calls you on the phone several times a day to tell you what they just ate or to recommend a song they just heard or to tell you a stupid joke someone just told them. Imagine if ten friends did that. Or twenty. Annoying, right? But many of us allow this constant bombardment from our social media accounts and call it normal. FOMO (fear of missing out) is real. But missing out is not always a terrible thing.
Several years ago, I turned off all my notifications. It doesn’t keep the apps I use from trying to strong-arm me into turning them back on again. But it’s been worth it. Now, it’s up to me to check my Facebook pages, websites, and other social media sites for activity. What a concept! Choosing to notify myself. (Of course, there’s still the real danger of getting sucked in and spending way too much time scrolling. I keep telling myself to put a timer on before I log in. Do I always listen to myself? No. But at least I know it’s possible to practice healthy distancing from my newsfeed.)
If you’re looking for a way to de-stress in this new year, may I suggest taking control of and responsibility for your own notifications. Stop allowing the apps that are there to enrich your life have so much control. Notify yourself, instead. And happy new year. 🙂