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Sophia Smith Galer: “I have turned my break into something quite useful” | Wellness

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“Once upon a time there was a ship in the Suez Canal / that became even more famous / than Paul Mescal.” This is how the song begins, inspired by the sea songs that the journalist Sophia Smith Galer composed to report on TikTok about the blocking of the channel due to the Ever Given grounding in March 2021. The tiktok reached 1 million views in just 8 hours and consolidated the British as one of the pioneer journalists in knowing how to take advantage of the application to reach the youngest audiences in a new way. Her work on social networks has not gone unnoticed: she has recently been named one of the 25 most influential women of the year by Vogue UK, always “at the forefront of the changing journalistic landscape”, and accumulates recognition as ‘Innovation of the year 2021’ in the British Journalism Awards or its mention in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Sophia began her career at the BBC as the first visual journalist on faith and ethics and is currently a senior news reporter at VICE World News covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Outside of her workday, the communicator dedicates herself to nourishing her TikTok account with informative content and has written Losing it, a journalistic book that tries to counteract the current sexual misinformation in the 21st century. In this installment of ‘How I Unplug’, Sophia talks about hacking time, unplugging online and what she likes to do to relax. Turning rest into something useful Finding moments to rest was the biggest challenge while writing my book manuscript, because I was doing tiktoks and working at the same time. She worked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., she tried to go for a walk during lunchtime, but if she had to do a tiktok she probably did it at that time. Then I wrote the book from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. I barely left my desk. It was crazy and I don’t plan to do it anymore. For me, rest is escapism and, therefore, does not mean disconnection. Spending time learning cool things on TikTok that I know nothing about, watching Stranger Things, or listening to a podcast on etymology. These are things I love to learn about, and they’re not about the very disturbing reversal of abortion rights that I’m covering on VICE, for example. I have turned my break into something quite useful and it ends up contributing to my work or how I see the world. On disconnecting without giving up being online I do a lot of multitasking, what I call time hacking. An example to illustrate how I hack time: I like to go for a walk and go to the gym two or three times a week. While I’m training, I’m on the elliptical and downloading half-hour YouTube documentaries about something I’m researching. So I’m exercising and enjoying the physical part, but I’m still working, more or less. Also, when I used to go on those walks during my book writing process, I would listen to podcasts that used to be about something often related to sex research. People ask me, “Don’t you need a break?” That’s me resting, I’m really enjoying learning about this, I’m having a good time, but yeah, technically it’s still work. I don’t switch off, that’s basically the message, because even when I’m walking I’m listening to music or a podcast. Without compromising health living connected The important thing is that the amount of time I spend in front of the screen does not affect my health. As soon as I became a journalist and spent time shooting with a camera – which can be heavy – or going out to cover something, my physical health became much more crucial to me. I went to the optician to see if my eyesight was getting tired or if I was losing vision. I had a test done and the woman from the optician told me: “Your eyesight is fine, but you need concentration glasses”. That’s what she called them. She asked me how much time did she spend staring at the computer screen and I said, “All day?”, and she said, “Yes, I can see you have some signs of tiredness in your eyes.” I am 28 years old. It’s pretty late to get your first pair of glasses, because most of my friends are already wearing them. I have a setup with two screens and as a type of gaming chair to guarantee that, no matter how connected I am, I am not compromising my health. I guess one day if I have a dog or kids (or both) my ways of relaxing will definitely be more offline. I have no problem with that, I accept that my life will change if these two things happen, but ultimately it will be what suits me and makes me happy. Play The Sims, scroll on TikTok or cook gourmet dishes There are things that I really like to do to relax, like playing video games. I love The Sims and Animal Crossing. When I’m at home, I play The Sims and I have them in Spanish. It’s a way to have fun, but I also practice Spanish at the same time. That’s how I learned the words ñiqui ñiqui and achucharse. It is very fun to learn new words. Now I have been resting reading a book that I wanted for a long time. I’ve been struggling to find time to read, but it’s also possibly due to not prioritizing reading, because I’ve spent an hour scrolling on TikTok. It’s not all because of my work as a journalist. Every day I say to my partner: “Did you know…? Blah blah blah”, and I tell him something I have learned on TikTok. I often follow many scientific and medical communicators. I don’t have any kind of medical background and I love learning about the body and stuff. Another thing I do is cook. I cook a lot, especially complicated dishes that take an hour or two to prepare. For example, I like to take a walk to the fish market to look for fish or go to the only store where I can get a certain ingredient. I do a little exercise, I learn something else about cooking. Cooking for me is a big process. Last week I made clams for the first time. Also, before studying to be a journalist I used to prepare to be a classical music singer. During my adolescence and all my university years I was in constant musical training. Now that I’m a journalist I don’t sing so much anymore. Sometimes a few days go by and I feel down and it’s because I haven’t sung, even in the shower. It’s part of how I regulate my body. The only moments of disconnection: working hard or in company The only times that I am really offline is when I am doing a very intense job. In May I did a deployment to Romania and Moldova on the Ukrainian refugee crisis. I traveled a lot, I wasn’t glued to the phone, because I was out talking to people. I was exhausted from work, but it was good not to be in front of the computer all day. The first thing I want to do when I get back from those trips is check my social media. I also disconnect when my boyfriend comes to see me or I go to see him. We like to be together watching Netflix, but I don’t look at my phone. It is when I see the people I love that I am truly disconnected.

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– Article Written By @Mar Manrique from https://smoda.elpais.com/belleza/bienestar/sophia-smith-galer-he-convertido-mi-descanso-en-algo-bastante-util/

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