When thinking of healthy habits, activities such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep might spring to mind. A less obvious healthy habit, however, is the act of being conscious about your social media usage.
Studies show that spending too much time using social media can significantly impact a person’s mental health. Feelings of stress, anxiety or depression have been linked to the impacts of social media comparison, doomscrolling and other effects perpetuated by the addictive algorithms of social media.
Whilst there are some advantages to social media – staying connected and in-the-know – it is important that you consciously moderate the time you spend on social networking platforms. If you can successfully do this, you can use social media without compromising your mental health, and also enjoy a more varied lifestyle.
The best way to know when to take a social media break is to be aware of how it is making you feel. If you’re not experiencing enjoyment and are simply scrolling out of habit, then maybe it’s time to try a different activity.
Other signs that it might be time for a break include:
This is when you scroll mindlessly through social media feeds, driven by the need to know everything that’s happening in the world, no matter how depressing.
It’s easy to forget that social media is an idealised, curated version of real life. Often, we unconsciously compare our realities to the perfection presented on our screens. This is a slippery slope into potential depression and self-esteem issues.
The blue-light emitted from the screens of our devices can inhibit the secretion of melatonin in our brains. This makes getting to sleep harder, and a lack of sleep can impact our mood and mental health the next day.
Social media is designed to be addictive so that you use it for longer. Often it can be easier to keep scrolling than to move onto more important, offline activities. This can be particularly detrimental if it prevents you from getting through work or daily household tasks.
If you find yourself becoming a social media addict, here are a few tips to get you back on track and to have healthy social media habits:
This doesn’t mean you have to delete your accounts. Simply turn off notifications and remove access to the apps from your home screen by either relegating the app to a less-used page on your device, or by deleting the app altogether. By removing your social media apps from your direct line of vision, the compulsion to open them is lowered.
Be conscious about your time. Think about whether you will get more value out of using social media or doing something else that is more productive or enjoyable with your time. This could be anything from housework, to reading, to self-care activities such as journaling.
Block out some time in your day to either spend time on social media or take time away from social media. It is important to stay dedicated to these personal commitments, otherwise you might easily slip back into old habits. One way to make this process more effective is to use social media limiting apps. These can track screen time or even block certain apps or websites within a particular timeframe.
If you require a further nudge to help cope with the stress and negativity associated with overusing social media, try our Passionflower supplement, Sedistress. Designed to calm the mind, Sedistress assists in the process of relaxation, supports general mental wellbeing, and may help reduce symptoms of mild depression and anxiety.
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