I hope you enjoyed Day 1 of my little self-improvement journey! This exercise has been a good way for me to start writing again and get the so-called creative juices flowing. I used to blog when I was in high school and I journal intermittently. For a long while, I thought I wasn’t interesting and I had nothing to say. But I thought, even if no one reads this at least I’ve created something? I feel quite accomplished whenever I finish a post. I’ve also been getting lots of ideas for future posts, which I did not expect! It’s becoming clear to me that there aren’t enough people talking about mental health, especially in the Muslim blogger sphere. Can I call myself the first Muslim mental health blogger? Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here, haha! A girl can dream!
ACTION: Which relationship will you strengthen today and how?
I’ll be honest, I have a long list of relationships I need to strengthen. I have a problem with WhatsApp. I get anxious when I get a new message and I tell myself I’ll wait to read it until I have some time to properly respond. I don’t read the messages so I don’t leave people on read (but this does happen sometimes). Then I just procrastinate and end up ignoring the messages. I don’t know what it is, I was never like this. Somedays when I felt really stressed I would turn off all WhatsApp notifications. I once had about 20 unread messages. I find that once I ignore a message for too long I feel too embarrassed to go back to read it and reply, so I just avoid it. I have a very avoidant personality, as you can probably tell. Recently, I’ve noticed the same sort of behaviour from my friends as well though. They won’t reply to me for months and then I get a response later saying “sorry I thought I replied!”. And I am totally fine with that! There’s a kind of pressure that comes with being contactable all the time, even by people we love. I can understand because I do the same all the time.
Technology has evolved so much in my lifetime. I still remember what floppy disks look like. My first phone was a Nokia N-Gage, I was about 12 or 13 when I got it and I had to share it with my brother! Now kids much younger than that have phones. We’ve had an explosion of technology but the tools and methods to deal with the new technology haven’t caught up. We know that social media has negative effects on children and teenagers. This article setting out some of the effects social media has on teenagers states, “teens often feel emotionally invested in their social media accounts. Not only do they feel pressure to respond quickly online, but they also feel pressure to have perfect photos and well-written posts, all of which can cause a great deal of anxiety. In fact, some studies have found that the larger a teen’s social circle online the more anxiety they feel about keeping up with everything online.” Does that sound familiar? It does to me!
What surprised me was that I did this to my best friend. I was conscious I hadn’t spoken to her in a while and when I opened up our chat I realised I hadn’t talked to her in a month. She has been going through some problems and with the stress of coronavirus and lockdown I was worried about her – but I didn’t check in with her for a whole month. I shouldn’t feel anxious about talking to her, we know each other so well. I felt terrible about it. How could I just ignore her like that? I don’t really know why I avoid talking to the people closest to me, but I do need to deal with that.
When this task came up, I knew that it was this relationship I had to tend to. I sent her a message out of the blue telling her how much I love her and how she is a wonderful person. I felt much better for doing that and it sounded like she appreciated the gesture. We are trying to set up a Zoom call, so hopefully, I will get to talk to her and catch properly soon. Now, if I could just tackle the other 8 unread WhatsApp conversations…..
Until next time,