Social media is a great way to interact with your friends and find daily inspiration but spending every day constantly scrolling and looking at other people’s “perfect” portrayal of their lives can take a toll on your mental state.
It happens to everyone, and way more often than you would think. This is why I’ve crafted a few healthy habits to protect your mental health while on social media. Implementing these healthy habits into your daily life will help to better your relationship with social media.
Have Detox Periods
If social media is the first thing you check when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you see before falling asleep… and what you look at all day in-between, it’s time for a detox period. Everyone can benefit from utilizing a detox period from social media. I deleted Instagram for 4 months and it was incredibly beneficial to my mental health. Now, I’m not saying you have to detox from social media for months on end, but even just not checking your social media over a random weekend or Thanksgiving Break could be beneficial to your mental health. It is important to take a step back and focus on other things besides your phone screen.
Monitor screen time and set limits
If the idea of utilizing a detox period from social media sounds a little intimidating, I would recommend setting limits on your phone’s screen time. The great thing about Apple products is that you can go into your phone’s settings and limit how much you can access certain apps throughout your day. This makes taking a break from social media more manageable and by limiting how much you can stare at your phone screen, it will help you to be more involved in your daily life outside of social media. I would recommend setting a time limit for the apps you’re most addicted to, along with turning off your access to social media before bed.
Use Social Media Intentionally
Try to shift the way you utilize social media. Instead of using Instagram or Tik Tok as a mindless way to let time pass you by, utilize social media in a more intentional way. If you’re bored and find yourself mindlessly scrolling, stop and think about what you are wanting out of your social media use. Are you wanting fashion tips? A reason to smile? Check up on your friends and family? By changing the way you see your own social media use, it will better your relationship with the apps and help protect your mental health. Give yourself a reason to open the apps. And if you can’t think of one, don’t scroll, do something else!
Connect more with friends offline
Although social media is a great and easy way of staying in contact with friends, it’s not enough to maintain healthy relationships. Instead of keeping a Snapchat streak with your friend that lives on your floor, go out to lunch and catch up! It’s important to maintain real-life, in-person interactions and is incredibly beneficial for your mental health. If you have exciting news to tell your friends, don’t post it on your story- call your friends and tell them over the phone! If you just got a new puppy, take them out for a walk to your friend's house and introduce them instead of making the puppy an Instagram account! There are so many ways to interact with your friends and family offline and it is important to maintain those relationships both on and off screen.
Use social media for inspiration, not comparison
Take a step back and remind yourself that social media is what others want us to see and it's not fair to compare ourselves to that. It’s important to understand that we are only seeing what other people want us to see, and most of the time, people utilize social media to exaggerate their daily lives. This is why it is so important not to use social media as a reason to feel bad about yourself. Instead, shift your state of mind from comparison to inspiration. Look at the people you follow and think about why you follow them. By thinking about why you follow the people you do and what you gain from doing so, you can have a better grasp on how to utilize those accounts for inspiration.