Harriette Cole: The internet makes me anxious but my job won’t let me step away
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have become so used to having the internet at my fingertips that I sometimes find myself mindlessly scrolling social media for hours, regardless of how I’m feeling.
It’s a never-ending cycle: As soon as I put my phone down, I quickly pick it back up again. This has had an incredibly detrimental effect on my mental health, as it’s caused me to become more anxious and stressed-out.
Unfortunately, this same medium also happens to be my livelihood — the very thing that allows me to make a living and survive. How can I cope with being chronically online while maintaining my well-being?
Need a Break
DEAR NEED A BREAK: Here’s where you must engage discipline.
Obviously, you have to do your job. Design a schedule for your work. What time periods must you be online and using social media? Be specific and clear as you map out your day. Do your work, and then immediately disengage.
Put your device down, preferably out of reach. Stand up and walk around. Read a book. Do an exercise. Talk to a colleague or friend.
For your personal time, set yourself a timer for using social media. Set an alarm for a one-hour window of usage. When the alarm goes off, shut down your device. Get up. Move around and disrupt your pattern of internet engagement.
It will take time for you to wean yourself off of using social media for fun, but you can do it.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I don’t have much money, but I do have a lot of things. I have been collecting clothing, accessories and home ornaments for decades.
I had the thought that I would be in a different place in my life now, but here I am — broke.
I know people used to have yard sales, but I live in a city. I have heard that some people make money selling their stuff on eBay and other consignment sites. Do you think that’s worth it? Lots of my stuff is valuable, or at least it was. Everything is pretty much in tip-top condition.
Is it worthwhile to put forth the effort to try to sell some of it?
DEAR CONSIGNMENT: It is possible to recoup some of your spending by selling items through actual consignment stores as well as online retailers. Many sellers have had success with eBay and similar sites.
Do your research to find websites that specialize in the types of items that you have to sell. The more specific you can get with your retailer, the easier it will be to find a consumer who will be interested in what you have to sell. Know that you can also get a tax write-off for certain items, so ask your accountant to learn about that option.
Finally, if your home is overflowing with stuff, which may be true given how much you say you have, consider purging by giving away some of the items. Creating physical space in your home may clear the way for opportunities that you have not yet imagined.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.