Many of us spend enough time on social media to know it can periodically deliver an adverse impact on our mental health; even going as far as affecting mood, self-esteem, anxiety and depression. So what can we do when social media becomes a focal point of negativity?
Whether it’s checking the news, notifications or keeping up-to-date with loved ones, social groups or networking; social media has many affirming qualities that entertain and keep us connected — it undoubtably comes into its own during pandemics when we’re at home socially isolating for public health.
It’s natural for us to seek out companionship from like-minded people; it helps prevent loneliness, improves our happiness and boosts our mental health. Connections are important, and aside from real physical interaction, social media can represent a practical tool to develop and/or maintain those relationships. However, if its usage begins to feel detrimental in any way; it may be time to take care of our social media health …
Take A Social Media Vacation | Every now and then it’s a good idea to completely take time away from social media. Aim for at least a weekend or better yet, a full week to do some self-care, spend time with loved ones or catch up on things you enjoy doing. Give yourself a mental reset by taking a break a few times a year.
Reduce Time Online | Take an honest look at how long you spend using social media each day; then reduce it by a third. Establish this as a new routine, and you’ll see how much more time you have to do other things — which doesn’t have to be centred on productivity; you can rest too. Set an alarm, make a timetable, turn your devices off at a certain point each day; manage whatever works for you to reduce your time online. You’ll likely find you enjoy more energy, better concentration and a healthier mentality that helps alleviate everyday stresses.
Adopt An Alternative Habit | We all reach for our phones to mindlessly scroll through social media, apps and other online delights when we’re bored/zoning out. For many — yes, I’m looking at myself too — it’s the go to time-filler when we could choose something else to relax or entertain ourselves with. Instead of disappearing into a scrolling social media black hole that interferes with family moments, downtime or work; consider something that engages the mind and makes you feel good. Grab a book to read, chat/play with your partner, kids or pets, make a cup of tea, listen to some music, try out a board game, etc.
Practice Mindful Interactions | When you’re on social media it’s important to make sure you have clearly defined boundaries that you stick to. Don’t be shy about muting or unfollowing certain accounts or people that you find harmful, intrusive or inappropriate. Report anything that steps over a line for you and don’t be afraid to speak out, if appropriate, when this happens. You decide what you respond to or sustain the energy to engage with; including how much you share about yourself.
Support One Another | If you’re going to spend time online; you may as well add to the overall positivity of the experience for yourself and others by making sure your interactions are supportive and encouraging. It’s easy to become passive as we scroll through various feeds, but the people we follow may be sharing something heartfelt or valuable; take some time to be active and engaged, it feels good to give and receive a kindness boost.
What do you do to maintain your social media health?
6 Ways Social Media Negatively Affects Your Mental Health — The Independent
6 Ways To Protect Your Mental Health From Social Media’s Dangers — The Conversation
Covid-19 And Your Mental Health — The Mayo Clinic