Is social media ruining your life?


Whether you're dipping your toe into social media for the first time for your veterinary practice or you're an obsessive, face-always-in-the-smartphone user, here are tips to make your social media regimen a little emotionally-and physically-healthier.

I love social media. I use it almost daily. I advise veterinary clinics on using social media to promote their practice, connect with staff and clients, and improve standards of pet care. But I also have social media rules that help keep me sane, positive and productive. Could they help you too?

Unfriend the crazies. You know who I'm talking about. These are your "friends" that spout venom and vehemence as if it were their full-time job. You don't agree with 90 percent of what they post. Problem is, every time you expose yourself to their nonsense, you get so pissed you can’t help but dive into a Facebook fracas. One hour later you emerge and spend another hour venting to your significant other about your crazy friend. Stop it. This is destructive, damaging and negative behavior. Discard these people from your life. I'm terribly worried this scenario is chipping away at the souls and sanity of untold millions. Fill your life, real and virtual, with people that make you better. Anything less is making you worse.

Do not disturb. I don't take calls from anyone outside my immediate family after 9 p.m. I don't check email. I don't Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. Set rules and stick to them. This is called self-control for you adults out there.

Your bed is for sleeping. Ditch the iPad, iPhone, laptop and other devices when you settle in for the night. You must train your mind and body to recognize what the bed is intended for. Hint: It's not Twitter. Hard to be romantic when you’re counting 140 characters. Just sayin'.

Veterinarian, schedule thyself. Social media is fun, cool and profitable—in moderation. You've only got so many seconds in your life. Use them wisely. I doubt anyone will say on his or her deathbed, "Let me check my Facebook before I go."

Remember that real life rocks. I'm concerned we’re entering an era when we don’t know how to interact face-to-face. I'm even more worried that many people seem less interested in connecting in the physical realm than in the virtual world. Have dinner with your family. At the same table. At the same time. Talk to your spouse. And look at them. Walk barefoot in the grass. Lie in a field and feel the sun’s rays on your flesh. Listen to water lapping at the edge of a river or pond. The real world rocks. Crank it up.

If putting some boundaries between yourself and your social media sites can make you healthier and happier—why not try it?

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