Looking after your mental health is always important, but over the last few years, we’ve all faced strange, unprecedented times and it can sometimes feel impossible to switch off from the world. Social media use is higher than ever and it can often be easy to lose touch with reality.
Social media has become such a big part of our lives that we sometimes don’t realise how much time we spend scrolling through our feeds. It’s the last thing many of us look at before we go to bed and the first thing we check when we wake up in the morning – but how can we keep a healthy balance to protect our mental health? Here are some useful steps you can take…
SCHEDULE TIME TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA AND TIMES TO STEP AWAY
As with most things, balance is the key to having healthy habits on social media. You can set aside time when you can scroll through your feeds, and times when you log off and ignore notifications. It is particularly important when you’re spending time with friends or family to put your phone down and to enjoy their company properly, and before you go to sleep. It may be helpful to use an old-fashioned alarm clock to wake up in the morning, so you can leave your phone in the other room when it’s time to go to bed and keep on top of your screen time.
What are you logging on for?
Be clear about what your purpose is when logging onto a social media site and stick to it. We’ve all gone online to check the time of an event or a message and found ourselves, an hour later, watching video after video and falling into a rabbit hole of content. Be conscious about why you’re logging onto your app and then make sure you sign off when you’re finished. This will also make sure you’re using social media the way you want – to connect with friends or get updates on your favourite band or artist – without letting what other people are posting take over and affect your mood.
Inspire, don’t compare!
Use other people’s posts as inspiration rather than comparison. Seeing other people broadcast their successes and post their ‘showreel’ moments might make your daily life feel pale in comparison. But remember that these moments aren’t representative of someone’s whole life, and the person posting them could be struggling with a lot of the same things you are. Looking at these posts as inspiration for you to work toward your own goals, rather than directly comparing your daily life to their Instagram, is a healthier way to view posts on social media. It’s also good to be selective about who you follow. If someone’s posts consistently make you feel bad about yourself or get you frustrated, then consider unfriending , unfollowing or muting that person. You can also unfollow key words to help filter your newsfeed even further. See the image below on how to do this on Instagram.
THINK BEFORE POSTING
Likewise, think about what you’re sending out to the world. Before you hit send on a post, consider whether it’s spreading positivity. You can help make your feed an encouraging place to be by avoiding trolls or online arguments and fostering a community of support and positivity among your friends or followers.
Mental health comes first
Check in with yourself and if you’re feeling down, maybe go outside for a walk or grab a coffee with a friend, rather than spending too much time online. Meditation is also a great way to help clear your mind. If getting notifications throughout the day makes you feel stressed or anxious then it would be a good idea to disable them, so you only see alerts when you sign in manually.
If you feel that social media is impacting your mood more than it should, and taking a break isn’t helping you find relief, then consider reaching out and speaking with someone. If you aren’t sure who to talk to or how to start the conversation, you can take a free, anonymous online screening that will provide you with more information about how you’re feeling and connect you with local resources.
If you have any more questions on ways to protect your mental health on social media, we are always here to help! To find out more about what we do, or if you just want to say hi – contact us today!