Social connections affect focus

Use of social media is known to impact our focus negatively. Social media had one fantastic benefit during the peak of the pandemic. Online connections, when fostered intentionally, can have a positive affect on focus. I recently started reading Michelle Obama’s “The Light we Carry”. She begins by discussing her use of small things to regain focus when bigger things become overwhelming. She took up knitting, among other things, during the pandemic. I was reminded of the many hobbies that many of us re/started during COVID isolation.

I also started knitting (again) after years of not picking up my knitting needles. I completed 1000 piece puzzles again. Worked on my photo organizing that had become neglected. And I wrote.

connections with self through writing

What interests me most about all of this is that many of us did not only take up or reactivate hobbies that we hadn’t participated in for ages. Many of these hobbies (new and old) were trending across the world.

When used with intention social media can aid connections

When we talk about the value of social connection we often refer to the negative impact social media has had. It has affected the quality and depth of our social connections overall. Yet, we used the same technology that has been creating disconnect and lack of focus, to make connections with people. People we otherwise were disconnected from because of physical isolation. And when we did so over common interests, goals and concerns, we did so meaningfully.

Introverts were relieved to have a little (or big) break from “peopling”. Many extraverts were struggling with loss of contact with people… Some of us found new people online… Others found new ways to connect with the people who were normally in our lives but suddenly not due to physical isolation. We mastered zoom and video calls to make family get togethers happen virtually. We learned how to “tiktok”. New interests were discovered while making new friends.

social connections affect focus

There was a nationwide shortage of yeast when so many took up breadmaking – many for the first time  Then shared the spoils on social media – or left gift packages on the neighbours’ doorsteps.

The thing about social media is that it’s really only effective when the user is highly active. Unfortunately that online activity can have a negative impact on in-real-life relationships. Unless both (all) parties are equally as active and are interacting with each other on the same platforms. When trying to be that highly interactive online while engaging in-real-life activities it tends to take away from the depth of in-the-moment experiences (think selfies and hashtags) while distracting from the actual experience.

connections affect focus

Connections affect focus

But during the pandemic we’ve been using social media to substitute for some of those lost connections. And when doing so while engaging in typically solitary activities we found ways to connect with ourselves as well as others. It only stands to reason that those improvements to lost social connections during isolation affect our ability to focus.

Did you take up any new hobbies since COVID-19? How have you connected socially in new or increased ways?


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Struggle to focus

I struggle with finding things to say/write, or even to focus on specific tasks that aren’t very tangible. I can push through washing, hanging, folding a load of laundry; washing and putting away dishes, or even a 30 minute walk or spin. But to focus on a book, writing, even a little time with my photographs is a challenge.

It’s getting better. I spent two weekends reflecting and enjoying my time alone. I had time with friends, but most of time was spent in solitude. And it was good.

I lack focus and wish I could get some of things I really love done, but at the same time, the things I spend my time doing are all necessary evils. I actually relax better and feel less stressed with a clean house. Life is less chaotic when we have healthy, tasty meals planned and prepared for. A book is a little more palatable in small chunks when nothing else is distracting me at home.

So, it’s a work in progress. Hopefully in the not-too-distant future I’ll have found remedies for a number of the causes. Until then, I keep whittling away at things.

(Better than last month.)




Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

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Damn it, I’ve lost my focus and don’t know where to find it…

Today I’m doing one of those spinning in a million different directions things… I keep starting things, then suddenly realizing, I was in the middle of something else and I have no idea how I got where I am now.

I want to blog about a great book I read, then I realize I should blog about the progress I’ve made… I actually read a book, cover to cover in two days! In fact, I read two books, in four, two days each! I was sick, and I still managed to focus on my reading and stick with it!

I saw my doctor today to follow up and see if the meds are helping with the depression. It’s hard to make a very conclusive call since I was sick, very sick, for most of the time since I last saw him. However, he seems to think I’ve made some small improvements in spite of being sick, which likely means we’re on the right track. Perhaps the improvements would be more significant otherwise, so we’ll maintain the current plan and see what happens in 4 weeks.

It’s probably time to put Christmas away. It is January 7th. It’s just weird because usually I feel this overwhelming compulsion to tuck it all neatly back in it’s boxes and clear the clutter, by New Year’s day. It still feels mostly cozy to me. The tree is still up, although I feel silly about lighting it now… ah, one last time and then I’ll put the girlies to work deconstructing.

Tomorrow afternoon I hope to take the girlies skating on the Canada Games oval. Perhaps it will feel like winter for once, as I hear we’re expecting some snow this weekend! There’s been interesting talk about trying to keep the Oval permanently in Halifax, and I really hope we can make it happen. As long as we can ensure the greatest year-round use of the Commons, I think it would be a really fantastic use of the space. I mean, we once could count on skating on ponds and lakes throughout Nova Scotia all winter long… those days are long gone.

Yesterday, I almost questioned whether I’d lost some time somehow, perhaps slept through January, February and March…? I saw porpoises or dolphins, a small pod of 5-6, in the waters outside of Halifax Harbour. They should be gone south. Is it climate change effect? Or just a fluke? Or did I really miss winter? I would have loved for them to be whales. We weren’t close enough to get a good look, and unfortunately I’d left my camera at home not knowing I was even going to be leaving the office, but it’s even less likely they were whales than porpoises, right? I mean it’s unusual to see whales that close to shore anyway, let alone in winter in the Atlantic Ocean.

So you see, I can’t find my focus, my thoughts are scattered in the wind. Today, will be a day of small, short projects, because that appears to be enough of a challenge for my brain…

Out of focus, but not in a blurry sort of way

I’ve been really struggling lately with keeping focus. Of course, I feel like I’d hardly found it to begin with. Sometimes I wonder if one decision in life could have made all the difference and perhaps changed the direction I have taken, leading to a more focused life. A part of me believes I still would have found my way to where I am right now regardless of the path, but could a different path have allowed me a less painful journey? One that might have afforded me the ability to focus better?

Perhaps not, perhaps it’s just in my make-up. Or perhaps it’s motherhood? Although, I’m quite certain this started long before I became a mom. I will soon be celebrating a decade of motherhood. And I have been flitting from idea to idea, project to project, school to job, job to school, even home to home for almost my entire adulthood. Perhaps it’s just the product of my childhood: growing up the daughter of an RCMP member, grand-daughter of two air force members, moving from posting to posting never calling one specific place “home”. Our family are all gypsies, perhaps I’m just no good at putting down roots.

There are a few things in my life that do keep me grounded, they are my spouse and my children.

My children are my world. We plan our lives around them, while knowing that we must have time for ourselves and activities just for me. But I try to take advantage of every opportunity we can to be together. I took a part-time job that would allow me to be home with them more. Our weekend plans always involve family-focused activities when the girls are at home. We go swimming or we take bike rides, we have movie nights and play board games.  We read together.  Sometimes we plan family outings to farms with u-picks, and sometimes we choose to relax without any plans at all.

Their bonus dad is my significant other, my spouse, my partner in life, my best friend. When we met we shared all of our extra curricular activities (like cycling, running and swimming), now we support one another in those efforts, and our time together is more often spent relaxing at home while the girlies are in bed. Lately we’ve been spending a lot of time exploring our options to make a move into a home that will improve our quality of life in the areas that are most important to us. A lakefront property in an area where we can run and cycle and just plain enjoy the out-of-doors together even more.

So, while they keep me grounded, the rest of me is in the clouds constantly rising and falling, uncertain of the weather down below.

Maybe it’s just me. I had been coping better for a while. Now I’ve begun to feel very low about the physical pain I’ve been experiencing again (still), and the effect that’s had on the sleep that I had just finally gotten under control (mostly). I’d been watching sappy movies all evening on the weekend while catching up on laundry. The movies made me cry, something I rarely do while watching films – especially silly chick flicks.

I keep reading about how to make the most of life, hoping something will jump out at me. And little bits and pieces do and have, so I make incremental changes, but part of me wants to make a huge leap! Am I really ready?

When did you know know it was time to make a significant change in your life?