Digital minimalism: the future of social media.

Published by Kitchener Today

There’s a new trend in town, one that promises engaging conversations – minus sneaky glimpses at phones. Digital minimalism is driven by a quest for tranquility and inner contentment – but what will this detachment mean to those who make a living online?

Local influencer, Azra Gregor – mindset coach, blogger and owner of Matrescend – says she “began as a mom blogger who wrote honest reflections of the many ups and downs of motherhood – something that wasn’t all too common back in 2015. That niche has exploded since then and I begin to feel a pull to expand on the topics I discussed online.”

Rather than measuring her personal success based on the number of followers she has she says, “it’s the one-on-one connections. I find that I’ve gathered many new friends and genuine connections, so it has never felt like a job to me.”

“It is a universal truth that less people will see your post in their feed than they did 2-3 years ago, however; which translates to a lesser amount of likes per post. I simply see it as change, not less success.”

How has/will Instagram’s removal of ‘likes’ change your business?

I think that there are a million factors at play when it comes to how well a business will do. That said, I’m not too concerned about “likes” being removed – it’s an artificial showing of how many people truly connected to your post. I know my message will still resonate with those it is meant to.

What does the future hold for online influencers?

There are so many people working with brands and writing blogs these days that it’s hard to keep up! I don’t think that will stop. But I do think that more people will get tired of the inauthenticity of sponsored posts and try to niche down to make more meaningful connections. At one point we all have to realize there’s a social responsibility we have to the public and our kids regarding what kind of content we produce.

What would you say to your followers who wish to take a break from social media?

Just do it! Start with a few days and lead up to a week. If it makes you terribly anxious, it’s probably a sign that you’re letting it affect you too much.

What do you love the most/dislike the most about social media?

What I love about social media is the potential it has to connect like-minded people so they feel less alone. What I dislike is the power it has to influence massive amounts of people and how it’s turning into a marketing platform.

Will you regulate your children’s access to social media?

In my world, the kids won’t have a phone until they’re at least 11. That means no tablets for my toddlers. We’ll see how realistic that is when the time comes! They’re still little.

What is online authenticity?

We don’t realize how much is a produced show with people as actors – which is fine for entertainment purposes. What I have an issue with is when people start jumping on bandwagons solely based on what someone has said or promoted – that doesn’t sit well with me. Meet these people in real life before going and changing your entire diet or wardrobe based on what one person eats or wears. The danger with following influencers and trends online is that critical thinking often goes out the window.

Azra is speaking, on this topic, on June 13 at The Causerie in Kitchener.

How to spring clean your life

Written for and published by Kitchener Today

Spring has become synonymous with words like detox and clean. We burst open the windows, on the first mild day, scrubbing away the layers of darkness, isolation and contagious illnesses. Annihilating cobwebs, and celebrating the longer days ahead, we plant seeds that become new blooms. Yet, often we overlook the importance of weeding, and feeding, the garden of life.

The season of rebirth and renewal, spring, presents an opportunity to take a look at our relationships and personal habits and reassess their relevance to our wellbeing.

Local Life Coach and Nutritionist, Kate Kahvo says, “self-care is one of the first things to go in our lives and one of the most important, essential things we need.” Kahvo is an online coach working to help clients “rediscover themselves, build confidence and find a simpler more joyful life. We do this by addressing mindset, finding clarity on our values and priorities, and minimizing stress, overwhelm and guilt.”

So, you’re convinced it’s time for a life detox, but where do you start?

  • Social media: recreating a positive digital imprint can be time-consuming, but worth it. Here’s a unique opportunity to reinvent yourself. Start by going through your friends list. You can categorize friends as acquaintances, meaning you will see less of them, and remove those you no longer wish to follow. Unlike pages you have lost interest in and remove permissions for games and apps you don’t use. You may also want to consider removing tags, photos and posts that aren’t part of your new, improved, image.
  • Health: a great place to start is the medicine cabinet, take a few minutes to look for expired medication. You can learn more about safe disposal, in Canada, here. Health trends are a dime a dozen but if you’re looking for something unique (and impossible to fail at) try Shinrin-yoku, otherwise known as ‘forest therapy’ or ‘forest bathing.’ Shinrin-yoku derives from the Japanese culture, whose traditions include cohabitating harmoniously with nature. To enhance physiological and psychological wellbeing, all you have to do is visit a forest, and soak in the sights, smells, and sounds.
  • Friends/Family:  belonging to a community is proven to improve cognitive function, but it might be a good time to reconsider the old mantra; ‘friends close, enemies closer.’ For family, blood may be thicker than water, but sometimes it ok to dilute the source of undue agony. Toxic relationships are bad for our health, leading to higher stress levels and unhealthy habits. Breaking up with a frenemy won’t be easy, prepare yourself by focusing on the friends and activities that will help you move on, and give yourself time to grieve.

“The action, motivation and courage it takes to get there can be the challenge. Trust in yourself, be kind, show compassion and take that step forward. These are really some of the most impactful ways to start feeling more calm, confident and clear headed about your future.”

 Kahvo suggests following five steps to “clean your mindset:”

1. Become aware of the negative default thoughts you are having

2. Replace them with more positive language

3. Slow down and take time out to find clarity on what is currently happening

4. Move out of habitual living and into doing things with intention

5. Have courage

“When we take a step back and sit quietly, it allows us to gain clarity on what is currently going well and what isn’t.” Kahvo offers 1:1 coaching as well as a supportive and informative online community called True You. Her March challenge focuses on spring cleaning for our mindset.