World Mental Health Day feels especially poignant this year. We’re globally navigating through extraordinary times and especially stressful scenarios. The effect on everybody’s mental health has been profound.
Social media has in some ways this year been a lifeline – contact with an outside world we have been denied normal access to. The #togetherathome hashtag providing comfort in isolation. However, whether you follow social media for business, pleasure or both, it can quickly become time-consuming and intense. Comparisons fuelling anger and resentment; the filters covering the reality of the cracks underneath. It can add a layer of stress into our lives, which – as we now realise – can very sharply affect our immune system, health and wellbeing.
With little difference between work and home at the moment, it can be hard to switch off, and that mental exhaustion can quickly take its toll. So now more than ever, we need to adopt self-care strategies when it comes to managing our social media dependence. From saying ‘no’ and setting time limits, to being intentional and choosing an antidote, there are ways to tackle the consumption of social media. To help, we’ve considered 14 ways to reduce social media stress.
1. Unfollow accounts
The ones that don’t make you feel good or cripple your self-esteem. Find positive value, enlightenment and emotional uplift in your social feeds.
2. Listen to podcasts
It’s amazing how close you feel to the subject using just the aural sense. It’s a great time to learn and laugh and rest your eyes in the process.
3. Assess your workload
Avoid burn out by calmly reviewing your to-do list at the beginning of each week and prioritising. Can you let some things slide right off the list, or delegate?
4. Slow down
You know you go too fast but feel guilty if you step off. Sound familiar? Rest isn’t an indulgence, it’s a necessity.
5. Just say no
It’s hard to turn your back on opportunities, especially if there’s good money attached. Only you can know what’s achievable and what’s essential. What you turn down can often be more empowering that what you accept.
6. Set time limits
The average internet user now spends 6 hours and 43 minutes online each day. That’s 100 days a year. How can you limit your time? iPhone has an app limit, and Android has the Digital Wellbeing feature.
7. Walk away
Stop the scroll and take a stroll. Take regular breaks that are good for your body and your eyes.
8. Turn off notifications
It’s one tip that former execs at social media platforms all shared at the end of The Social Dilemma documentary (that and don’t let kids use social media.)
9. Set “Bedtime”
If you set a bedtime on your phone, then it pauses all notifications until the morning. It’s under the clock setting on an iPhone or Bedtime Mode on Android.
10. Phone-free bedroom
Consider not having it in your bedroom at all. The blue light emitted from phones messes with your circadian rhythm and can disturb your sleep (which is crucial to de-stressing).
11. Mute keywords
If there are particular triggers for you in words, simply block them from your feed. It might even be overwhelming news stories you might want to avoid for a while.
12. Turn off comments
If there’s something you want to say, but don’t feel like hearing the responding opinions or potential negativity, then switch off comments or implement “comment controls”.
13. Be specific on social
What do you need to accomplish? Make an intention not to infinitely scroll, which can take its toll on your mental health.
14. Choose an antidote
If you’ve overdone a social session, then turn to meditation, calming music or a walk in the park without your device. Remember: the present is a gift.
Leapfrog Remedies wish you all happiness and health for this especially meaningful World Mental Health Day.