If you’re reading this, most likely you are on some device- a cell phone, computer, or tablet. AND you probably came across this post via social media. This last year has stretched us as women, partners, and parents.
One thing I have noticed recently while perusing and scrolling social media is that people on the internets are NOT OK. I can tell this because of the comments and posts I have been seeing in the last year but especially last month. People are feeling ALL THE FEELINGS and unfortunately, the anonymity of typing these feelings out behind their screen results in some hateful comments and exchanges on social media.
Social media CAN be a positive thing; I’ve seen it be used for GOOD and it can be an incredible resource. Unfortunately, we also know the dark side to social media. Social media can be a breeding ground for comparison, mom-shaming, and overall bombardment of information and news and it can exacerbate anxiety and depression.
Mental Health and Social Media
I watched the Social Dilemma on Netflix (you should check it out if you haven’t!) and from that point on- I stopped all notifications from social media. I can’t tell you what a difference that made in how much I was mindlessly scrolling social media during the day.
Manage screen time
Many phones now do allow you to monitor and limit your screen time. I set mine to allow me to be on social media for a certain time limit. Setting these limits instantly made me more aware and that was enough to start managing my time on social media. Sometimes, it is also helpful to schedule your social media time and try to keep to that schedule! I try not to be on social media at all between 5-8PM.
Alright friends- this one has been the BEST thing for me during this last year. I don’t know if you know but on Facebook and Instagram there is a little button that you can click on that says “unfriend” or “unfollow.” USE IT! Seriously. If something you are seeing on your feed is causing you stress and you’re finding yourself frustrated with what someone is posting, UNFOLLOW! I was following a bunch of people that I found I was either comparing myself, it was making me feel less than, or I would get so frustrated with what they were (or weren’t) posting about but I would still scroll on by. If something isn’t serving you or benefiting you or making you feel WORSE, do yourself a favor and stop following that person!
Don’t read the comments
I really need to print this out and tape it to my computer so I see this daily. Because as much as I created this boundary for my mental well-being, I don’t seem to enforce it as much as I would like. Reading comments on news articles or other posts can be frustrating and I find myself wanting to engage. While I don’t argue with strangers on posts, I do feel the lure of reading the comment sections and find myself wanting to pull my hair out by the end of it. I can tell I am more tense and anxious whenever I do.
Stay informed but not consumed
If you’re like me you want to know what’s going on in the world and keep up with important events. However, I can tell when I’m consumed by it and it starts to feel overwhelming. That’s when I know I need to walk away and take a break from the news/social media for the day. It’s ok to take a step away. I like to stay informed, research, read and learn but I also know that I need to turn away sometimes too.
Shift your focus
When I realize I need to take a break from social media, whether it’s for a few hours or longer- it helps me to ground myself in the present- and right now that’s largely been my little family of 5. Getting outside, having a dance party in the kitchen, playing a game or watching a movie are good reminders of what is important and right in front of me. I find when I can shift my focus to the here and now that has helped ground me and when I do that, naturally my attention shifts away from social media.