We all know social media is a huge part of modern life. It seems like everyone is always online – keeping up with friends on Facebook, scrolling mindlessly through Instagram feeds, or arguing with strangers in Twitter threads long into the night. While the connectivity of platforms like these has its benefits, spending too much time immersed in a virtual world can negatively impact our mental health if we’re not careful.
As someone who dabbles in multiple social networks every day, I’ve found it’s easy to lose track of hours as I bounce between accounts on my phone. Before I know it, an entire evening has slipped away that could have been spent doing other meaningful activities – like spending quality time with family, reading a book, playing a sport, pursuing a hobby, or even just getting outside for a walk to clear my head!
The constant social comparison that naturally occurs on sites emphasizing images and superficial profiles can also bring users down if they internalize unrealistic standards of beauty, success, or a curated “highlight reel” version of others’ lives. Feeling like my own life doesn’t measure up led to bouts of insecurity and jealousy for me in the past. While these platforms are designed to entertain and connect, prolonged overuse risks fueling anxiety, depression, and isolation over time for vulnerable users.
To maintain a healthier digital balance, I’ve put some boundaries in place and rearranged my relationship with social media for more positive mental wellbeing. Here are a few techniques that have worked well for me:
- Set time limit notifications on my phone through the Digital Wellbeing settings. Seeing a warning that I’ve used Instagram for an hour helps snap me out of an unintended black hole browsing session.
- Schedule specific times during the day (like during lunch or once the kids are in bed) for catching up on platforms instead of mindlessly scrolling all evening.
- Unsubscribe from followers, friends, or accounts that regularly cause anxiety, sadness, or stirring up of negative emotions within myself. Curating a positive space has been really useful.
- Replace some social media time with real-world community involvement instead. Whether volunteering locally, joining a sport team, or taking a class, cultivating meaningful in-person connections is fulfilling.
- Practice mindfulness meditation or breathing exercises during unavoidable social moments, like waiting in lines, to stay present instead of defaulting to checking feeds mindlessly.
- Periodically audit accounts and remove any rarely used profiles to streamline my experience. Out of sight is out of habit-forming mind!
- Turn off push notifications entirely for evenings and weekends to fully disconnect from constant interruptions that prevent quality time.
Finding moderation that works takes some trial and error, but the effort to rebalance my digital life has been so worthwhile for my mental health and real-world relationships. While social platforms are here to stay, it’s within our control to harness their connectivity benefits without potential downsides dominating our wellbeing. An adaptable, moderate approach works best to enjoy the fun of online communities without losing perspective on life beyond the screen.
Let me know if any other tips could be helpful! Maintaining perspective is key amid our always-on culture, so we must continually reflect and refine our approach. A little self-awareness goes a long way to keeping tech in its proper place as just one part of a full, balanced life.