Brooke Blurton is someone who lives life in the public eye, and social media has long been a big part of her relationship with Australia. While that has offered certain opportunities, it has also been a source of immense stress – unsurprisingly.
This is something a lot of us can relate to. Obviously, we don’t all have the public career that Blurton does, but many of us share the same mixed feelings about social media. Sometimes, it’s a great way to stay connected and find things we’re interested in, but other times, it can really affect our mental health.
In a recent episode of Kemi Nekvapil’s new Audible podcast POWER Talks, Blurton spoke at length about social media and how we can better set up our lives to be less dependent on it.
Off the back of this chat, Lifehacker Australia sat down with Noongar and Yamatji woman Brooke Blurton to speak further about social media, setting up boundaries and her coaching session with Nekvapil on POWER Talks.
Finding a balance on social media
Living life with intention and purpose is something we all strive to do and something that Blurton says social media can sometimes get in the way of.
“Before I had a platform and before I was sort of exposed to the media, I just lived my life. I didn’t live publicly, I didn’t have anyone to be responsible for other than myself, my family and my community.”
“Then, having this platform sort of overnight, you feel sort of responsible for so much more and that can really affect someones self-esteem, how they function and how they deal with living in a public light,” Blurton explained.
Obviously, the intention behind social media is to share your life so that others can see and engage with it.
While that can be good in theory, it can be really difficult to find the balance between what should be shared and what you should keep for yourself. It’s something that Blurton has had to find since stepping into a public figure lifestyle.
“For me from beforehand, and obviously preferably, I was a very private person and now I live very publicly and so social media has really impacted the balance that I have with sharing things publicly and then not sharing things that are happening in my private life.”
“People think that I really love it and that I enjoy that type of work, and I do in moments, but putting yourself out there and having people accessible to you 24/7 is actually really exhausting and really tiring,” Blurton said.
“So you’ve got to find a perfect balance to it and have some restraint. Beforehand, I had no knowledge of how it would work out and so I’ve just navigated a really balanced path, I guess. I’m really big on boundaries.”
Setting boundaries on social media
It’s easy to talk about setting boundaries with social media (believe me, I’ve tried), but actually sticking to them is another thing entirely.
Blurton touched on her experience and the challenges it has presented:
“I definitely think that I’m a person that puts boundaries in place so when I’m not really feeling myself or my mental health is very low, I get rid of and eliminate the things that are obviously bringing me stress, worry and concern. Social media is usually one of the one of the first to go,” Blurton explained.
“Beforehand, when I didn’t work in this space, and I wasn’t being paid to do jobs through social media, I could definitely do that. But now I have a responsibility to take my career and work through it and that’s also quite a difficult thing to know.”
When your identity becomes wrapped up, or at least feels like it’s wrapped up, in social media, it can be hard to know where to draw a line and step away for a moment. This is especially true when it comes to having a fear of missing out, but for Blurton, social media becomes a bad place when her own mental health isn’t at its best.
“I find social media can be enjoyable at most times, but when I’m not feeling my self or I’m feeling low, it’s the thing that I find can aggravate it a little bit more. So it’s setting those boundaries by being honest and transparent with [followers] that I’m not feeling the best and I’m going offline for a little bit and just give them a heads up that I’ll be back when I feel up for it,” Blurton said.
How you can set up your own boundaries
If you’d like to work on setting up boundaries with your social media use, Blurton has shared some useful and tangible tips that should help you find some breathing room.
- Eliminate the stress: Basically, just do what Blurton does and pinpoint the areas of your life that are causing you stress and seek to eliminate it. If that’s social media, then find ways to detox from it every now and again to give yourself a break. It’s also important to remember that social media doesn’t have to be an added source of stress in your life, which brings us to the next point.
- Learn to live without social media: Learning to live without social media is something that Blurton advocates for strongly. She suggests taking regular breaks from social media and finding other things in your life that give you purpose.
“I think occasionally stepping in and out of [social media] gives you that nice little balance between reality of life and knowing that it’s just an app. It also grounds you in the process and I think you then realise you’re not affiliating yourself with this thing and being attached to it,” Blurton explained.
“It’s not a part of you. It is your work, which is obviously it’s mine, but I can live a very awesome and happy life without it.”
“I think that’s more important than anything is sort of living in alignment, living with your values. Also enjoying and having joy in your life and if it’s not bringing you joy, then scrap it,” Blurton said.
- Know your capacity: Blurton believes women, especially First Nations women, feel the need to take on a lot of responsibility, especially on social media. Such intense responsibility often leaves people feeling like they can’t manage their own stresses and emotions because they need to look after others. For Blurton, it’s important to give yourself the space to let some of that responsibility go.
“I think awareness is so important to have on yourself and obviously your own capacity. I know when I’m feeling overwhelmed when people and friends come to me for support or advice and I’m not in a place to be able to do that,” Blurton explained, “I’m like, ‘Okay, what is going on?’ Because normally I can offer that.”
“If you’re pouring from an empty cup, if you can’t be responsible for all these things, if you’ve literally got nothing in you, obviously boundaries are important, but I think self awareness and knowing your capacity [is important], you can only do what you can with what you’ve got.”
You can listen to Brooke Blurton’s guest appearance on the Audible podcast POWER Talks with Kemi Nekvapil here.