Social media has truly revolutionized our everyday lives. Massive platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have allowed us to connect with each other in a way that has never been done before, enabled us and helped us stay more informed, and provided a medium for us to access entertainment on a wider scale. However, social media does have its drawbacks. A post linking social media and mental health on Verywell Mind highlights the negative effects. It can contribute to depression, hurt our self-esteem, exacerbate our fear of missing out, lead to impulse control issues, and be used as an unhealthy coping mechanism.
That said, we’ve listed some tips below that can help you have a healthy relationship with social media and protect your mental health.
Learn to set limits
There’s no need to quit social media altogether, even if you feel like it’s completely taking over your life. To have a healthier relationship with social media, you should learn how to set limits. For one, have certain times each day when you don’t check your social media and turn off your notifications. Another limit that you can set is not checking social media whenever you’re bonding with friends and family. You can also opt to not use your phone or computer 30 minutes before bedtime so social media won’t disrupt your sleep. Be sure to set reasonable limits to find what works best for you.
Understand that social media can’t replace real life
You have to recognize that your life online is only supplemental to your life in the real world. For example, it’s great that you can use social media to stay updated with whatever your friends are doing. However, it’s still important that you check in on them and don’t neglect to visit them. An article about pandemic stress and anxiety by LHH highlights that we shouldn’t overlook the need for human connection, especially in times of crisis. In this regard, use social media as something that complements your life, and forego using it as an escape mechanism. To illustrate, instead of being a passive watcher on social media, invite friends and loved ones to hang out virtually through platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet. Doing so allows you to use social media in a more mindful way and reap its positive benefits.
Curate what you see on your feeds
The thing about social media is that whatever you see on your feeds can greatly impact your mood and overall well being. While some posts can make you feel happy and better about yourself, some can also spark negative emotions such as envy or discontent. This happens when you compare yourself to influencers and other social media personalities who seemingly have perfect lives. David Cohn writes on Medium that social media encourages everyone to be performative, and it’s important to remember that what you see online isn’t always true to life. To avoid getting into the comparison game, you should curate what you see on your feeds by only following people and brands that are aligned with your own values. This will make social media a positive and enjoyable experience for you.
It’s important to protect your mental health from the dangers of social media. Hopefully, the tips we’ve listed above have given you an idea of how to keep the negative impacts of social media at bay.