Looking to create a more balanced life full of healthy habits? Social Media is an integral part of many of our lives. And there are so many positives it can bring! I know how grateful I was to stay virtually connected to my family and friends during the pandemic.
But alongside benefits like staying in touch with loved ones or providing an avenue to easily run a business from home, social media has some well-known pitfalls.
Being more connected, having such easy access to a constant stream of information and news can lead to burnout, depression, and anxiety.
In our efforts to stay in touch, stay up to date with trends, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, to become a slave to comparison, to become dissatisfied with our lives or anxious about the future.
For me, part of developing a simpler life, creating healthy habits and embracing minimalism has meant examining the role social media had in my life and creating some healthier online habits.
I’m a big supporter of digital minimalism (which you can read about here). I also think doing a thorough digital detox will help you stay on track with your personal health goals. (Find my ultimate guide for taking a break from social media here.)
For many good reasons, some people end up leaving social media completely. And yes, it is possible to live a connected and fulfilled life without a single Instagram feed, Facebook post or tweet in your life! Head on over to this post by Erin from The Tannehill Homestead where she explains why she ditched social media, still runs a successful online business, and how the decision has brought peace and joy back into her life.
If you’re not keen to do away with social media completely, I’d like to offer you some practical ways to develop healthy habits with social media so that you’re still able to nurture an intentional, simple life without overwhelm or burnout.
5 Ways To Protect Your Mental Health On Social Media
Know Why You’re On
Did you know experts recommend spending a maximum of 30 minutes a day on social media?
To avoid getting sidetracked and spending (wasting!) time scrolling mindlessly, know why you’ve logged on.
Whether you’re checking up on a local event that’s happening, searching for a missing piece to your capsule wardrobe by delving into the offerings of your favorite brand on Instagram, or catching up with family living abroad, the key is being intentional.
Once you’ve done what you wanted to do, move on and reconnect with your immediate environment again. Live fully in your present moment.
Curate Your Feeds
Are your social media feeds predominantly uplifting, inspiration and positive? Remember that you’re 100% in control of what you allow yourself to be part of on social media.
Give yourself permission to nurture a positive mindset by mindfully curating your social media to reflect that intention. Choose to follow accounts that reflect your values and that encourage you in your life goals.
Give yourself permission to avoid toxic content shared by anyone from old school acquaintances to news outlets. Social media should not leave you feeling empty, pessimistic or inferior.
Ready to declutter your following list? It could do wonders for your mental health. Grab a cup of coffee and designate a half hour to examining your accounts.
Ask yourself why you’re following specific accounts. Does their content inspire you or leave you with a dip in self-esteem? Does their content add value to your life? Is it relevant? Does it make you feel happy?
If you’re reluctant to unfriend, why not hit mute on Instagram or unfollow on Facebook. If you’re confronted by someone you’ve unfollowed, have courage! Be honest about nurturing your mindset and wanting to embrace a more minimalist online presence and community.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt
People tend to share the best (and often edited and filtered) images of their lives on social media. Truly, this is not the reality of life.
Life is beautiful, but it can also be messy, emotional, confusing, and boring. Personally, I wouldn’t want it any other way. With perfection, where is there space for discovery, for exploration, for creativity? Embrace your life with all its imperfect uniqueness.
Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your life with that of another, of thinking your life is less meaningful or full or interesting than anyone else’s.
Keep a rooted perspective that what you see on social media is simply a snapshot of a moment in time. And that’s all.
Know when to detox and take a break
In spite of developing healthier habits around social media, sometimes we just need to take a break altogether.
Here are some warning signs to look out for:
- You find yourself spending valuable time being unproductive on social media platforms
- The ‘need’ to check on social media throughout the day or first thing in the morning or before you go to sleep
- You feel negative emotions (anger, frustration, pessimism, loss of confidence, irritation, etc.) after spending time on social media or during the day because of what you’ve been consuming online
- There are constant feelings of stress
- You can’t stop comparing yourself and your life to people you see on social media
- You’ve started to base your worth on replies or comments to your social media posts
- You struggle to be present in the moment
Stay in touch with yourself and your feelings and it will soon become obvious when it’s time to focus on your wellbeing. You’re welcome to follow my thorough guide on how to do a social media detox. I developed it after I simplified my digital life, and realized a social media cleanse was the perfect way to follow up and continue to declutter my emotional life.
When you’re ready to find your way back online, implement healthy habits that will protect your mindset and sense of self-worth as you navigate the world of social media. As you’ve learned to adjust your use to suit your lifestyle and goals, you may even find yourself enjoying the platforms more!