Life has never been more stressful, and social media is a contributor. When’s the last time you logged out of your favorite social media accounts? You might not think the amount of time you spend on social media is a problem. Maybe it isn’t, but if you’re feeling like your social media use is impacting your mental health and wellness, maybe it’s time to set some boundaries. Let’s look at some ways to do that.
Turn off the notifications.
It can be tempting to keep your social media apps open in the background all day, waiting for something to happen — but what do you do when it does?
If you get a notification every time someone likes one of your photos, sends you a message, or reacts to one of your posts, it’s distracting. These notifications can also make you feel pressured to constantly check in with social media. If this is the case for you, turn off the notifications so you can use social media on your own terms and on your own time.
Turning off notifications will help you avoid the temptation of dropping what you’re doing when a notification comes in. Don’t be surprised if your productivity and mental health soar too!
Unfollow and unfollow people who attack you or cause you to feel bad about yourself.
Social media affects your mental health in a variety of ways. The negative effects can include heightened feelings of anxiety and depression, decreased self-esteem, and self-worth, increased feelings of social isolation, and even a tendency toward impulse control issues.
It’s tempting to keep following people who make you feel bad about yourself or attack you on social media. But there’s no need for such negativity in your life. Unfollow or unfriend those Negative Nellies from your social media accounts. If they post a lot, you can still choose to “hide” their posts from your feed without unfollowing them completely. Another option is to block them, which means neither of you will see the other’s posts or interact on the site at all.
Try a full day without social media.
Humans are social animals. Our brains are wired to connect with others. Yet being more connected doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be more satisfied with our relationships. In fact, research has shown that the more time people spend using social media, the less happy they feel.
Social media can be a great way to connect with other people, but it’s important to know when it’s time to log off. A 2018 survey found that 49% of people who used social media reported that social media use negatively affected their mental health.
Here’s an experiment. Try going a day without social media. This can be overwhelming at first, but you might find yourself feeling happier and less anxious. Spend more time connecting face-to-face with people than online. If you spend hours scrolling through social media without engaging deeper with anyone, plan some time with friends or family IRL (in real life).
Block out time to use social media.
The first and most important step in establishing any healthy relationship is setting boundaries, and social media is no different. Just as everyone has a different relationship with the people around them, you have a unique connection to the social networks you subscribe to. It’s up to you to decide what kind of relationship that is.
So, block time to use social media. This can help, especially if you find yourself mindlessly opening apps when you have nothing else to do. If you know you have work or other obligations, you’re less likely to open social media because it’s not accessible during that time.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
If you are prone to comparing yourself to others, avoid social media. Remind yourself that people post what they want you to see — not their reality. Remember that life is not always as it seems for people on social media — so it’s best to stay in your own lane and focus on your successes.
Comparison isn’t healthy for anyone, and it’s important to remember that people only share a small portion of their lives. Most people understand this when viewing the posts of strangers, but sometimes forget it when it comes to their friends. If you feel bad after scrolling through your social media feeds, try to remember that what you see isn’t always accurate.
Keep your online presence healthy.
Follow people who make you feel good, not angry or depressed. If you’ve been following someone for a while and they no longer add value, it’s okay to unfollow them. You might even want to take it a step further and block them. If someone is bullying or harassing you, don’t be afraid to block them. It’s important to remove toxic people from your life, whether in person or online.
The Bottom Line
Taking social media breaks can be beneficial for your health and well-being. Give it a try and see if it doesn’t give you a fresh perspective.