There seems to be a lot of talk recently about how social media is really affecting mental health and twisting realities of what life should be/is like. I do agree with it to a certain extent but of course recognise there are so many other factors contributing to the increase in people with mental health problems, too. Global warming, corrupt leaders/governments, economy collapsing and poverty being at an all time high being but a few… However, I don’t really want to list all the things I’m terrified of in this post! Let’s talk social media.
Personally, social media does and has affected my mental health. I can’t be specific as I don’t fully know to what extent but over the past year or so I’ve had to alter the way that I use and absorb it. Here are the ways I’ve found that have best benefitted me!
Altering Social Media To Help Your Mental Health
Don’t Check Social Media First Thing In The Morning
I noticed a significant difference in my productivity and mood when I left a decent amount of time between waking up and checking social media, particularly Instagram. You can end up scrolling aimlessly for the longest time without even realising and viewing all these perfectly made up people when you’re sat in bed like a potato isn’t always the biggest boost for the day. I do check my text messages as only my closest friends and family have my mobile number so I’m happy to talk to them first thing.
Turn Off Most/All Notifications
I’ve had this done for a long time, all my social media accounts notifications are turned off so that I only see them when I go on the actual apps. When you have notifications constantly clogging up your phone, it can make you anxious and feel as if you need to reply as soon as you can. I also don’t want to constantly be thinking about my social medias which is what these notifications tend to make me do. I’ve definitely felt a lot more relaxed since doing this!
Unfollow/Mute People Who Bring Negativity
This doesn’t necessarily mean people who are openly negative. I just mean if someones content makes you feel negative about your life, yourself or quite frankly anything, it’s probably time to remove them. Sometimes it can be someone you know personally or someone it would cause problems with to altogether unfollow/delete so luckily most social medias now have the mute option so their posts will no longer come up on your feed.
Try Not To Worry About Peoples Lack Of Support
This is one I see brought up a lot on Twitter in the blogging community. Most of the time it’s something along the lines of, “If your friends aren’t liking your posts, then they’re not your friends”. I’ve got to say, I do struggle with my stance on this argument. I have friends who I’m really close to who don’t like all of my posts but I don’t lose sleep over it. I think something we forget is that some people don’t spend a lot of time online. Also with the algorithm, it can be difficult to see things when there are so many other people posting. Although saying that, something I’ve learnt is that there are also some people who won’t engage with your posts purposefully. Not everyone is going to like you or be happy about your success/path in life. But that’s also something you can’t control, so there’s no point worrying about it. Cherish the people who do cheer for you!
Remember That Connecting And Engaging Is More Important Than Numbers
Lets be real, the algorithm changes suck. It seems like just when everyones settling into it and figuring out ways to get their posts seen, it changes again, leaving us all wondering why we bother. I used to think followers and likes were the be all and end all but they’re really not. I don’t know about you but I’d honestly much rather have a small amount of followers who take an interest, talk to me and properly engage with my Instagram/blog posts rather than a large amount who just like a pretty picture and scroll past. This doesn’t mean I expect them to be commenting and loving every single thing I post, just that it’s real nice to know they’re actually interested in what I have to say.
Talk Civilly Or Block Instead Of Argue
I haven’t had many online arguments but they’re pretty unavoidable if you’re putting yourself, your opinions and quite a bit of your life online. I’m not one that likes to argue at all, It stresses me out and who needs that? If I’ve done something wrong then I’m happy for someone to message/explain to me in a civil and calm way what’s going on. I’m not an unreasonable person and I’m not under any sort of crazy belief that I don’t make mistakes, lapses in judgement or unintentionally cause offence so I’d prefer to know. I’d much rather apologise and move forward. We’re all growing, we can all do wrong and it’s silly to think otherwise. I do not however deal with people anymore who are aggressive, narrow-minded or come at me raging like a bull. The block button is there and I have and will continue to use it. I recommend you do too if you don’t want to entertain someones childish attitude/approach.
Limit Time Online
I think it’s really difficult as a blogger/influencer as you’re expected to constantly be checking your accounts and emails just incase. It’s really important to have time away from it though, as it is with anything. I’d definitely recommend setting a time limit or putting aside dedicated time slots to be online. Some ideas could be if you have 20 minutes spare, go and socialise online and set an alarm for when you need to come off to go and do something else. Or maybe setting time slots, for example saying you’re going to post/socialise/comment on other peoples blogs from 7-9 in the evening and then writing some posts or reading a book before bed, away from social media.
I think the main thing here is to try not to let the worry about your social media presence make your mental health or real life deteriorate. Your real life is WAY more important!!! Incase you needed the reminder. I’ve made some great friends and have received some great support online and it’s made me realise that the people that matter and care aren’t going to be mad if I take some time off or a bit longer to reply to them.
Do you have any other tips for altering social media to help your mental health?