We’ve all heard that social media can take a toll on our mental health, and I’m sure you’ve felt the effects of it too. The trouble is that we don’t always know what it means to have healthy social media habits. Social media is so ingrained in our daily lives that not using social media constantly is almost seen as taboo.
It reminds me of that modern dating horror story video where the girl freaks out when the guy she’s dating admits he’s not on social media. After all, it’s pretty uncommon for someone to not be on social media at all.
I’ve personally come to the point where I feel burnt out from social media. I’m simply overwhelmed by how much information there is to consume. It feels like people are doing things just to post about them on social media, and that doesn’t feel right to me.
I’ve never felt the urge to delete everything completely, but I have felt the need to step away from it all. That being said, the Netflix show You did make me consider getting as far away from social media as possible and never talking to a stranger again 😂
Sometimes I think back to the days when Instagram stories didn’t even exist and podcasts were barely a thing. I consumed so much less back then and my mind was definitely a healthier place. The old-soul in me longs for the simpler days when I didn’t even have access to the internet on my Motorola Razr. Back then, the only way to access social media (aka Myspace) was at home on a computer
The Negatives & Positives Of Social Media
I know that there are positives to social media. For me, a huge positive is being able to connect with people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I’ve been able to talk to and meet up with incredible people who have similar interests and passions. I’ve been able to keep up with the lives of my cousins who live in different countries, and I’ll never forget the day when Kehlani posted on Snapchat that she liked my blog.
Social media (or more accurately, the people on social media) can provide us with inspiration, new ideas, different ways of thinking. There’s also the memes and Vine compilations that make you laugh until you pee.
But the comparison part is not fun. Social media can feel so highly curated and people tend to only share their highlight reels. Even though I know this, it can feel like my life is not as fun or put together as others seem. There’s also pressure to stay relevant by posting often, and that’s not fun either.
That’s why I made some changes to avoid having to deal with those not-so-fun parts. Life is happening outside of social media, and I knew it wasn’t healthy to be on social media every second of my day.
5 Tips For Healthy Social Media Habits
If you need to reevaluate your relationship with social media but don’t want to quit cold turkey, here are some tips for healthier social media habits:
1. Use the screentime option
I have my downtime set from 12 pm-5 pm on weekdays. Things like phone calls, texts, and music are always allowed, but I’ve put this time limit on all social media apps on my phone including Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. That means I don’t get notified during those times, and I’m not opening those apps on autopilot like I used to. I also don’t check social media first thing in the morning which has increased my productivity levels.
2. Turn off notification alerts
If I get a notification, I’m going to click on it. Even if I’m doing something important, I still feel the urge to check on the notification. To stop the constant distractions, I turned off notification alerts on my phone for any of my social media apps. If I happen to check the app during the day, I’ll see the notification and deal with it then. I know there are plenty of people who can’t deal with missing something, but I am not one of those people and you can become that person too if you let yourself.
3. Add a feed blocker to Chrome
I have the News Feed Eradicator for Facebook Chrome extension on my computer which shows me a quote on the homepage instead of the news feed. This means I only go on Facebook to check notifications and messages instead of scrolling or getting distracted by random posts
4. Take advantage of the mute button
Instagram and Twitter both have the option to mute people, and Facebook has the option to unfollow. This is a really helpful option if you want to reduce the noise on your feed without unfollowing people (which can feel super awkward). Sometimes I go through and mute almost everyone I follow just so that I can be on social media without so much noise. Also, stop following anyone who makes you compare your life to theirs. And stop checking who viewed your Instagram story for the sake of your sanity.
5. Only post if you have something to share
When I first started blogging, Instagram wasn’t a huge part of anyone’s content strategy. The main places to connect with blog readers were a) emails b) comments and c) Twitter. Times have changed and I’ve felt this huge pressure to constantly be sharing. At some point, it just starts to feel like noise, and I don’t want to be sharing for the sake of staying relevant. I want to share because I have something I want to share. This one has been really hard to grapple with because I feel guilty for not posting much on Instagram, but it also means my sanity is preserved just a little bit more.
Bonus tip: Turn off social media cellular use
I don’t have an unlimited data plan on my phone so this one is more of a practical suggestion to avoid fees, but I turned off the option to use Instagram (one of the biggest data-suckers) and Facebook on cellular. That way, I have to be on WiFi in order to use those apps. This means I can’t be mindlessly scrolling on them while I’m out and about.
words by : Catherine Beard