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Mental Mondays: How To Protect Your Mental Health While Using Social Media

Mental Mondays: How To Protect Your Mental Health While Using Social Media



he social media dispensation has significantly bridged the communication gap in our time, and with information at our fingertips, it’s inexcusable to stay ignorant. Coming with it is an easier way to shed light on important societal issues, and the ability to broaden our social network. But just like everything that is good, it can also be bad when misused. Therefore, it’s important to know how to protect your mental health from social media to avoid issues like depression, oversharing, low self-esteem, and fear of missing out (FOMO).

Since social media isn’t going off in a hurry, we should take our minds by the reins and learn how to use it without hurting our mental health. While there are government regulations and company social policies, no one will look after you like you. You can’t rely on these policies to protect your mental health from social media. There’s constant pressure from the algorithm that makes us click before we think. If you aren’t careful, you’re sucked in long enough to live in the facade of the internet and ignore your real life.

How can I tell if social media addiction is starting to affect my mental health?

• Sleep problems
• The urge to spend more time on the internet than in real life
• Using social media as an escape tool to avoid your actual life
• Getting frustrated or anxious when you can’t come online
• A compulsive need for validation on the internet
• You have become an online troll who constantly hides behind fake accounts to read others down
• Constant use of social media worsens your mental health symptoms

Here’s how to protect your mental health from social media…

#1. Have a schedule

Photo: Bich Tran/Pexels

The most productive people set out on a daily schedule. When you have a to-do list for the day, it’s easier to avoid unnecessary social media use. This will obviously require some discipline, but always worth it. Commit to not making your devices the first thing you touch in the morning or the last thing before bed.

#2. Cut back on it

Photo: Rob Eradus/Pexels

When you have a sense of direction for the day and goals to reach, you realize you have to limit screen time. It might work to have social media breaks between your daily tasks, but you should be aware of it. The streets of social media can be compelling, so you’d need temperance to step out when you should. As writer Robert Frost once wrote: “…yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.”

#3. A social media cleanse

Photo: Ready Made/Pexels

A social purge is a way to protect your mental health from negativity. Ever noticed how some pages you follow incite violence or make you feel inadequate? Choose to create a safe space for yourself, and let your social media space promote happiness and inspiration. Furthermore, unfollow accounts that stir up negative feelings, delete some apps, turn off some notifications, and be deliberate about your mental health.

#4. Make other plans

Photo: Helena Lopes/Pexels

If you notice you spend more time scrolling through people’s profiles, it’s time to explore new activities. Meet friends, start a new hobby, volunteer or chase your passions. Some of these individuals we spend our time struggling to keep up with are living out their lives—we should too.

#5. Choose you

Photo: Pavel Danilyuk/Pexels

To protect yourself from social media, you have to consciously boost your self-esteem. While the internet pushes the narrative of a perfect body or makes you feel like an underachiever, learn to highlight your achievements and love yourself harder.  You could start with a gratitude jar. Every day, write what you’re grateful for and add it to the jar. At the end of a week or month, open it and read it to yourself. Also, learn to meditate — quiet the noise and be in the moment. If you need to talk to someone, please do. Always accept, love, and be patient with yourself.

Featured image: @tinakunakey/Instagram

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