This article was written by a member of the Debut Contributor Network. These are Sahar Mahmood’s tips on maintaining a healthy relationship with social media.
Nowadays, the one thing that seems to occupy a large amount of our time is social media. Today, there are approximately three billion active users of social media, with just over two billion users on Facebook alone. There are clearly lots of benefits of social media; such as the ability to connect with people from all over the world, having a space to be creative and a chance to have your voice heard. It empowers people of all kinds to achieve their dreams. That’s why we love our social media so much.
However, amongst the excitement of exploring what social media can do for us we can sometimes forget what it can do to us. A study conducted by the Centre of Addictions and Mental Health in Canada, found that young adult users of social media were more likely to rate their mental health as poorer than those who used it only occasionally.
So, the question that arises is how can we strike a healthy balance with our social media? How can we make sure that we don’t spend too much of our time on social media and spend enough taking care ourselves? Here’s five top tips to help:
Dedicate a timeslot in your day to check your social media
Setting a timer for a specific time within your day to check the social media you use can be a really good way of controlling how much time you spend on them. This could be a period of just 20 minutes within a break time to check Facebook or scroll through Twitter.
A timer can be helpful in ensuring that you don’t go over the allotted time and don’t accidentally end up spending forever watching Snapchat stories (something we’re all absolutely guilty of!). However, it’s important to make sure that this isn’t the first activity in the morning or the last before getting into bed. Choose a time somewhere in the middle of the day to do this and you’re all set.
If something is negative – remove it!
This is probably the best thing to do if social media is bringing you down. Often, we end up following accounts or people that contribute nothing useful or positive. This can lead to negative impacts on our moods and can lead to real mental health problems.
So, deleting the negativity off your timeline or unfriending that individual that causes you to feel unhappy (even though it’s hard) can have massively positive impacts. It’s important to remember that its completely okay to put yourself and your mental health first, so don’t feel bad about unfollowing or unfriending anyone because you deserve better!
Delete, delete, delete – get rid of social media apps if necessary
This is really important and isn’t as bad as it sounds! Deleting your social media apps isn’t as permanent as it seems because your account still exists and should you wish to access it again you can.
But deleting the apps off your phone can really help to prevent the temptation of checking your social media from becoming too much. No app, nothing to check. Instead energy can be focused on something more useful and can actually allow more productivity. So go ahead and delete Twitter for awhile. When you’re ready the Twittersphere will still be there to welcome you back!
Remember to talk to someone if you need to
If you are feeling pressured or upset by social media its crucial to find someone to talk to. Whether that is a friend or family member, or just someone you trust. Talking about how you feel may be helpful in managing the stresses that come with being an active social media agent. Having a conversation with someone about your social media use and how it makes you feel can be a very constructive and healthy way of dealing with the pressures.
Safe zone = no social media allowed
Creating a safe zone where no social media is allowed can be another useful method to strike a healthy balance with social media. A safe zone maybe any area where you feel comfortable, for example, this could be either the bedroom or living room. Once in this zone, all social media access should be turned off. This can create a physical distance between you and your social apps, helping give you the necessary break from the accompanying tensions.
Love it or hate it; social media is both powerful and dangerous. It clearly has a lot of advantages and within reason it’s a lot of fun. But it’s crucial that we also aware of the problems that our use can cause. Striking a healthy balance between our daily lives and our social media lives is imperative. Remember social media is a part of your life, it’s not your whole life!