We get it. Social media can be… a lot.
As we become more tied to our digital connections, is essential to have a healthy relationship with social media.
Love it or hate it, social media has changed the way we think, communicate and socialize.
Before the days of cell phones, we would get together with friends, family or colleagues to catch up. Nowadays, we can use our phones to send messages, status updates or see what others are up to on their social platforms. We can do this from anywhere, anytime – at home, vacation, weekends in the middle of the night.
Is Social Media Affecting Your Own Mental Health?
Mental health experts are voicing concerns on how our social media-obsessed society can cause harm. You may be wondering if it’s affecting your own mental health.
According to Rachel Kurtz, Clinical Social Work/Therapist, increased depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and lack of physical activity, are telltale signs that social media is not having a positive impact on your own mental health.
While checking your phone and social media throughout the day seems normal, it’s a habit that may be compensating for something else. Sometimes we use social media as a form of escape from boredom, loneliness or another negative emotion.
Check In With Yourself
Kurtz recommends checking in with yourself to assess if your relationship with social media is unhealthy. Some of her suggested checkpoints are:
- You see what others are doing and feel left out
- Feel depressed because you were not invited to certain social events
- Feel anxious of relationships
- Feelings of loneliness or isolation
- Compare yourself to others
- Glorify others lives through the lens of social media
- You’re decreasing your activity as you are spending so much time scrolling through social media
The Balancing Act
It’s important to acknowledge that with moderation, like everything else in life, social media can have a lot of benefits.
According to a publication by the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, social networking platforms can have a positive role in our lives by delivering educational outcomes; facilitating supportive relationships, and promoting a sense of belonging.
Here at McLernon & Co., we know that social media can be a positive, healthy space to engage and help others. These is how we use social media in a positive way:
1. Create awareness
Social media can be a powerful platform for highlighting and acting on issues and causes that affect and interest entire communities. For example fundraisers, break the stigma of mental health and creating awareness of various causes.
2. Deepen relationships and encourage conversations
Social media platforms provide the opportunity to create new relationships, nurture existing ones and build a support network.
They can be used to have meaningful conversations in a local, national or international context.
On social media platforms users work, think act together and help one another. Facebook Groups, for example, is a great place to ask others for help and advice and provide the same in return.
3. Exploration, discovery and inspiration
Social media platforms encourage exploration, broaden horizons, introduce us to new ideas and help deepen our interests. They are also a great way to discover, connect and engage with other people who share similar interests.
4. Business success
Oh, and let’s not forget that we can also use social media platforms to increase business. Done right, there’s no denying that social media strategies can have positive implications on any business.
A Helping Hand
Do you suspect that your relationship with social media needs to improve?
We asked Rachel Kurtz for some tips to have a healthy relationship with social media and she delivered:
How to use social media to connect and engage with other people
- Build relationships that are meaningful and full of conversation
- Engage with those you follow and those who follow you
- Build up support network
Help break the stigma of anxiety and depression
- Follow those who encourage you to talk about your feelings
- Social media can help you connect with others who experience mental health issues
Identify your purpose
Take some time to reflect and decide what you are using social media for. Some prompts to help you determine your goals are:
- What am I using social media for?
- Do I want to advertise my business?
- Share my passion with others?
- Educate those around me?
Social Media Healthy Habits
Rachel Kurtz also recommends following these habits to improve your relationship with social platforms:
Pause Before Posting
- What is my intent in posting this?
- What type of positive/negative attention am I wanting to receive from this post?
- Is my focus purely on getting “likes”?
Schedule Social Media Time
- Set limits and boundaries of when you log into your social media account
- Identify appropriate environments in which you will not log into your account (i.e. at dinner, spending time with friends, while watching tv, etc.)
Be picky on who you follow. You can ask yourself these questions to help you decide who to befriend on social media:
- Does this person bring joy in my life?
- Do I feel better or worse when I scroll through their grid?
- Take a 24-hour social media break and reset
- Do not start and end your day scrolling through social media
Declutter and Set a Timer
Maggie Kelly, Professional Organizer, shares some valuable tips to keep you in check with the usage of mobile devices and time spent on social media:
- Delete unused apps
- Utilize folders for grouping apps
- Implement cut-off times for social media usage:
- You can use a feature on your phone that monitors how much time you spend on social apps.
- Turn off notifications to avoid temptation
Social media should be fun and bring joy into our life. When we are intentional about our interactions, we are practicing mindfulness. Being mindful can help reduce stress, increase productivity, handle frustration better and improve the quality of our work and relationships.
We hope thoughts help you assess your relationship with social media. Let us know about your experience with social media to engage, recharge and help others.