Social Media: 5 Ways to Honor Your Mental Health While Scrolling
It’s no shocker that our society has changed, big time. Generations have aged, pop culture and fashion styles have changed (RIP 2004 velour jumpsuits), and of course, technology has grown exponentially. Not only has technology become more accessible, it’s become necessary for every day life. Along with its use in business, the growth of technology has also created the era of social media; the use of platforms to share your own personal world. Don’t get me wrong, social media can be truly amazing; it’s a way to connect with people in and out of your community, free marketing for businesses, and a much quicker way of catching up with old friends. But it’s pretty clear that being plugged in, constantly feeding our minds with information, can be pretty trying on our self-esteem and mental health. I don’t know about you, but seeing images and articles perpetuating comparison, and feelings of inadequacy or frustration started to have some serious long-term affects on me. It became exhausting and left me feeling “less than worthy” every time I would close out of an app. Although we may not recognize it in the very moment, social media can easily become a place where insecurities are highlighted, we remove our minds from the present moment, and can be a breeding ground for triggering anxiety and depression. But this leaves us with the question of, how can we continue to feel connected in a social media obsessed world while also making sure it’s a positive influence on our mental health?
As this continues to be an ongoing trial and error experience for many, check out these five tips below that have helped me create a more positive, uplifting, and serving social media experience for every day mental wellness:
- Take a Break
Naturally, learn to give yourself technology breaks. Now of course, if your career or interests require the use of social media on a regular basis, this may not be feasible for you during work hours. If this is the case, you can work toward creating social media boundaries and breaks at home. There’s so much value in learning how to be intentional about how much time you spend online and plugged into social media. Start off small by giving yourself 10-15 minute breaks, then work up to longer periods of time based on what feels right for you.
- Transform Your Feed
We may not have control over the social media influence in our society, but we do have control over who we follow and what we allow on our news feed! If you find yourself feeling negativity or self-doubt while scrolling, you have EVERY right to un-follow, de-friend, or unsubscribe to those triggering influences. In addition, I always suggest seeking people, pages, and businesses that actually inspire and empower you! This is an essential step if you want to transition your social media from being a negative space to a positive, uplifting community.
- Pick and Choose
News alert, just because “Jane” uses every social media platform, doesn’t mean you have to! Ideally it’s best to select between 1-4 sites you really enjoy and leave the rest for others to utilize. Reducing the number of platforms you follow not only helps you to maintain control over your own social media, but it really aids in the reduction of anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed.
- Try Emotional Check-in’s
To me, this is an invaluable step. Take a few seconds every time you open up your computer or pick up your phone to check-in and see how you’re feeling. Sometimes recognizing your emotions before doing something can help premeditate how that action will affect you further. For example, if you’re feeling frustrated and in that moment decide to check social media, there’s a high chance that decision could result in making you feel emotionally worse than before you started. So check-in with yourself, how do you feel right now and how will tuning into social media make you feel during and after? This small change can really make a world of difference.
- Recognize That It’s YOUR Mental Health.
Here’s the facts: only you have say over what’s best for you. It’s YOUR mental health and it’s yours to take care of. It’s 100% okay to want to be plugged into social media all the time, just as it’s okay to be completely off the grid. In a world where it feels like we have very little control over our lives, sometimes it’s nice to honor the control we do have. Though our mental health is always shifting and changing, one thing remains a constant, you have the ability to look inward and determine what information, visuals, and technology you want to include in your process of leading a balanced life.
Hopefully these tips can become a starting point to redesign your relationship with social media, and can lead you to focus on your own emotional wellbeing. Because we all deserve to feel good, think positively, and live our best life! So here’s to you, may you find peace, inspiration, and mental clarity.
Alexandra Morella, M.S.
Mental Health Professional and Advocate