6 Ways to Cope with Social Media Trauma

I’m not immune to the trauma of the world. It’s occured to me lately that part of the reason I have decreased engaging in Facebook lives, is I’ve been slightly avoiding Facebook. I’m not apologizing for this, because it’s what I needed to do in that moment and time.  Let’s get very real for a moment, okay?

For those of us who have experienced sexual trauma (or traumas of any kind), social media is a very tough place to be presently.  There are so many mixed messages being spewed out there about trauma and sexual assault. I want to make some things very clear to you:

  • Whether or not you have ever spoken about your traumas, you are not to blame

  • You are (now or ever) under no obligation to offer a justification or explanation for not talking about your traumas

  • You don’t ever have to share your story in order for it to be valid

  • Your only obligation is to do what you need to do to promote your own healing

  • Your journey is YOURS

As a professional psychotherapist, I can tell you that when people are subjected to hearing other people’s trauma encounters, it re-traumatizes the people listening. Which is my main concern with everyone sharing their stories of why they didn’t tell about their traumas.  

If you are feeling uneasy, anxious, disconnected, or troubled because of what you are being exposed to on social media I would love to offer the following coping skills. I’m sure I’m not the only one exhausted by the concept of grounding magically fixing everything. My recommendations include:

  • Create human anchors: Enlist the support and unconditional acceptance of people in your life. Think about those people who help you to feel safe, valued, and nurtured. Have those anchor people leave you a voicemail reminding you of your worth and value in their life. It’s critical for you to keep that voicemail and allow it to center you during difficult times.

  • Decrease current use of stimulants: While many of us enjoy a good pick me up, during times of high stress and trauma things such as sugar, caffeine, and nicotine create havoc on your central nervous system. Stimulants such as these increase adrenal fatigue and end up enhancing the wired and fried sensation.

  • Laugh...a lot: That old wives tale “laughter is the best medicine”  isn’t really just a wives tale after all. Many years ago, when I was working on healing my adrenals the best recommendation I was given was to engage in regular laughter. Watch a comedy on television, go to youtube and listen to babies laughing, watch puppies playing, find something that will make you laugh and watch it regularly.

  • Intentional Relaxation: When we have survived traumas many of us don’t know how to relax and just “let go”. Typical ways I recommend the clients I work with engage in intentional relaxation includes: meditation, self-hypnosis, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, hot baths, hot showers, etc. Find a way that you enjoy and value relaxing that is beneficial for you to engage in. For some people, it’s just engaging in some deep breathing. Sometimes it’s beneficial to set the alarm on your phone and keep this very simple. Engage in intentional relaxation for as few as 30 seconds, 45 seconds, or 60 seconds.

  • Disconnect From Social Media: For so many of us, disconnecting from social media can feel terrifying and very unsafe. I’m not advocating disconnecting your entire social media profile. However, I wonder how it would feel to not be tied to your cell phone, laptop, or desktop. Not forever, just for a half hour, an hour, or even just 15 minutes. Disconnect and allow yourself to heal. It’s challenging to heal when you are constantly bombarded with everyone else’s trauma.

  • Stimulate Your Parasympathetic Nervous System: This is one of the most crucial pieces of advice I give the clients I work with.  Your parasympathetic nervous system is the part of your nervous system that’s responsible for your feeling safe, grounded, comfortable, relaxed, rest, and recovery. The best ways to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system is to engage in something creative. Examples include: painting, drawing, coloring, signing, dancing, deep breathing, massage, yoga, exercise, and overall reduce stress.

I hope that these suggestions have been helpful to you. My goal is to provide you with safe, simple and practical coping skills.  If you are feeling stuck, isolated or just need to know someone cares sign up for my 15 minute solution chat. Let’s get you on the path to healing.