Social media is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends, learn new recipes and skills, and even stay up to date with the news. However, social media can also have downsides. Read on for some tips to find balance with social media.
When you look at other people’s social media pages, it can be hard not to compare what you see to your own life. Validation can seem related to the number of likes or followers on a page. It’s important to keep in mind that your self-worth is not measurable online and does not exist relative to other people’s. Think of social media as a highlight reel, which probably does not represent another person’s full experience.
The fear of missing out, or feelings of being left out, can also come up when you are using social media. Lancaster General Health Hub discusses how “having a whole digital world at your fingertips can put a damper on getting out and having real social connections and in-person interactions.”
Just like how self-worth and success are completely personal, so are experiences. Try not to let viewing social media posts get to you, since they often merely show the ups and not the downs.
Social media and screen time also have physical impacts that can disrupt your sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, blue light stimulates parts of the brain that makes us feel alert, leaving us feeling energized at bedtime when we should be winding down. To avoid this, be sure to log off your devices at least an hour before bedtime.
Try thinking of social media primarily as a way of connecting with people. Spending time online can help you find others with interests that are like yours and maintain friendships despite physical distance. It’s OK to be selective about the content people you connect and engage with online. You can curate a digital network that makes you feel valued and safe.
And don’t forget: Unfollowing those that bring you down is always an option!
In moderation, social media and screen time can be a positive part of your daily life. Look out for the tools in social media apps that help measure the time you spend on your accounts. It can also be good to take time away from social media and your devices, especially if you notice you feel sad or anxious because of what you see online. When you limit your screen time, you’re creating more time for enriching, real-world experiences.
Although social media can be a great resource for learning and sharing, misinformation can also be spread easily. It is important to always double check your findings when learning new information and to use credible sources.
Some credible sources for healthcare information are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Here at CCA, our Living Well at Home blog is also a resource important information about your health.
Spending time outside, talking with friends and family, and staying active are some of the ways that you can take care of your mental health. Make plans with those around you that will fulfill you. Reach out to loved ones and do the little things during the day that bring you joy.