Social Media often gets a bad rep, but, it’s never been more popular. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok are among the main ways to connect to our friends in a time of online schooling, working from home and lockdown boredom. However, there are ways that it can negatively impact your mental health. Try these three ways to protect your mind whilst online:
1) Set Time Limits and Breaks
Most phones offer time limits and reminders. Go to Settings and view your screen time. From there, you can set time limits for individual apps. You can also do this by going into the app itself and changing the settings. You can also add passcodes that can be an additional barrier and remind you to take a break.
Then reward yourself, let’s say you spent an hour on social media and your time limit is up, but you don’t want to get off your phone yet. However, you know that it will be healthy to take a break, so you put some music on and go outside for a walk to get some fresh air. Or, if the weather looks terrible, you could do some fun exercise indoors or do some drawing. Afterwards, you know that your brain and body will feel better.
2) Who do you follow on social media?
Go through your follow list. Now think about why you are following these accounts.
– Do they make you laugh?
– Do you want their lifestyle?
– What do they add to your life?
– Does the account make you feel like you’re missing out? Like proper FOMO?
For example, does the influencer/account travel to an exotic country every weekend, seem to have the latest stuff and have a perfect relationship? How does this make you feel? Unsatisfied? Jealous? Are you bored with your own life?
Then perhaps, you should consider muting or unfollowing them. Influencers often put the best possible, sometimes fake, versions of their life to make it look magical and perfect. The falseness they create can seem real, but it isn’t. If it makes you feel bad, then question yourself: why are you following them?
If the account makes you laugh, teaches you something, adds value to your life, then they’re probably worth following.
Remember you don’t have to follow someone because everyone else is, follow them because you want to and it makes you feel good.
When you take a selfie, do you use a filter? Some filters can be fun to play with as they can add cool effects and silly features. However, some can change your skin tone, the shape of your nose, and edit your eye colour.
Scary question: when you look in the mirror, do you feel happy with what you see, or do you wish you could use a filter?
If you would prefer a filter, consider how you’ve become accustomed to seeing your face with a filter AND other people’s faces with a filter.
Remember that no one looks like the filter and you are perfect in your own, unique way.
Do your friends feel the same? If so, what do you think about them? You probably think they look perfect the way they are, so why are you any different?
Social Media is a great way to connect to others, but make sure you put your mental health first.