[Image description: A woman is laying on the couch looking at social media on her smartphone.]
Social media can be an excellent (and perhaps necessary) way to connect with friends and family members and take a break during your day. It’s often a good resource for inspiring quotes, videos, tips and other content that may help boost your mood.
Just like with any other activity, going on social media can have drawbacks. Some people experience physical symptoms, such as headaches or migraines. Others may have a more emotional reaction such as an increased level stress and/or anxiety from too much social media. Here are some suggestions about how you can use social media in a healthy and enjoyable way.
- Set limits.
It can be easy and tempting to scroll on your phone for several hours. Try planning a set amount of social media time so you remember to fit in other activities. You could schedule an alarm in your phone or ask someone to help remind you when it’s time to stop. Additionally, most mobile phones have screen time tracking apps. Remember that the limits you set for yourself will likely be different than those of your family members and friends, and that’s okay! Allow yourself time to experiment and see what works best for you.
- Curate the content.
Notice which accounts you follow and how they make you feel, both physically and emotionally. Do certain posts make you feel stressed, constrict your breathing or cause your mood to drop? It may be a good idea to stop following these accounts. At the same time, try to consider which accounts and posts help you feel relaxed, grounded and more present.
- Eliminate the clutter.
One of the biggest drawbacks of social media can be the large amount of content you consume at any given moment. All the different messages, photos and videos can begin to feel overwhelming. While it can be tempting to follow all sorts of celebrities, stores, social causes, companies and more, see if you can set a limit for the number of accounts you follow. This way you will be able to absorb and appreciate the content, rather than perhaps mindlessly scrolling through it.
- Maintain perspective.
While filters and different editing tools can be fun to use, they can also be misleading. If you catch yourself doubting your own self-worth as you scroll through social media, try to pause, take a deep breath and remind yourself that social media does not always reflect reality.
- Find additional online support.
Looking for more tips about how to use social media in a healthy way and/or how to address your own stress or anxiety? You can schedule a visit with a therapist on LiveHealth Online! Plus, if you’re new to online therapy, read this blog from Dr. Lindsay Henderson, Director of Psychological Services with LiveHealth Online, to learn more about online therapy and how it helps people improve their mental health and cope with change.