Be Well, 1020 WYBJ, Vol. 43 No. 5. 64

AuthorMaryt L. Fredrickson, Ninth Judicial District Court & 307 Yoga LLC
PositionVol. 43 5 Pg. 64

Be Well

No. Vol. 43 No. 5 Pg. 64

Wyoming Bar Journal

October, 2020


Maryt L. Fredrickson, Ninth Judicial District Court & 307 Yoga LLC

The practice of law is stressful enough. Couple that with the stress of the COVTD-19 pandemic and the state of politics, forest fires, unusual weather events, Asian giant hornets, and a meteor hurling towards the earth (but that will pass the planet by in November), and your worldview can become pretty bleak. For many, social media contributes to that bleak outlook.

Social media has a place. It is a marketing tool. It consolidates and delivers news. Social media does serve a social purpose, like sharing photos, announcing events, and connecting with friends and family. During the pandemic, social media may provide important social connections. Receiving likes and positive comments on social media delivers small bits of dopamine, a feel-good hormone. But social media has a downside, particularly now. Many social media feeds are venues to post and repost news, memes, or other information that can be negative or divisive. It is no secret that between one-third and one-half of social media users feel worn out by political content on social media, and many users experience stress when they see posts of views that oppose their own.

The relationship between social media and mental health has been extensively studied. High amounts of screen time are associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression. Frequent social media users tend to have more mental health issues than people who use social media less. People who use seven or more social media sites are three times more likely to suffer depression than people who use two or fewer social media platforms. Oddly, while social media is designed to build connections between people, studies show that too much social media actually increases feelings of loneliness.

Lawyers already suffer high levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. Too much unmanaged stress leads to heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, and weakened immune systems, not to mention diminished quality of life through anxiety and depression. Managing your social media intake can help you manage at least one source of distress. This column approaches that management in three ways: (1) managing social media through its own tools, (2) tricks to limit your time with social media, and (3) rethinking why you...

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