Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the new Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma. The experts featured in the documentary explain how an unhealthy relationship with social media can have negative consequences on our self-esteem and mental health. The Social Dilemma really shook me to my core, and seriously made me consider deleting my social media accounts. If, like me, you feel totally consumed by these online platforms, then here are 10 ways for you to have a healthy relationship with social media.
Avoid Starting Your Day With Social Media:
You wake up, turn off your alarm and while still being half-asleep, start scrolling on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We are being bombarded with other people’s opinions, requests and agendas, before we’ve even had a chance to brush our teeth. Sadly, this is precisely what many of us are doing every morning.
Check-in with yourself, before checking your phone. Practicing healthy social media habits involve replacing the morning scroll with something more nurturing such as meditation, journaling, or reading. Not only is this an excellent way to practice self-care, but setting a NO social media rule for the first few hours of the day will also massively improve your productivity.
Don’t Get Stuck In The Comparison Trap:
Go ahead and look at your social media accounts right now, would you say that they accurately represent your real life? Mine don’t. Social media is essentially a collection of the highlights and best moments that we all live through.
We all know this, yet we still find ourselves comparing our imperfect life to a perfect snapshot of someone else’s. Remember, no one posts about their bad days, downtime or failures, so stop comparing yourself to others, as you can never know the full story.
Unfollow Accounts That Make You Feel Like Crap:
You have full control over curating a social media feed that inspires and motivates you. If your feed is leaving you overwhelmed, unhappy and stressed out, then it’s time to go on a guilt-free unfollowing spree.
Look, I understand that unfollowing people can feel super awkward, especially if you know them personally. So, if unfollowing is not an option, try muting them instead. No one needs to know!
Declutter your feed, and reshape it into one that is a pleasure to interact with.
Turn Off Your Notifications:
I used to love notifications, every time my phone pinged, I would get this feeling of importance and popularity. Even if it was just Dominos with a new voucher code. Notifications are a productivity nightmare, and a procrastination dream come true.
I don’t care how many followers you have, NOTHING, absolutely nothing needs your attention straight away. If something is urgent, or if a family member needs you, RIGHT THIS SECOND, then they will call you.
Blame it on our faulty human psychology or on having an attention span similar to that of a goldfish. But the success rate of not checking your phone after it vibrates from an Instagram notification is absolutely zero (I’m guessing here, but I doubt I’m far off). So just avoid notifications altogether, if you want to maintain a healthy relationship with social media and your productivity.
Stop Checking Who Viewed Your IG Story:
Listen, I’m guilty of this too! If I had a penny for every time, I checked to see who viewed my IG story, I’d be a multi-millionaire. We both know that you’re only scrolling down the list to see that one person’s name.
For the sake of your own sanity, stop obsessing over who is viewing your stories and liking your posts. You know that this isn’t good for you. Break up with this toxic habit and adopt some healthy social media habits instead.
Screen Time & Setting Daily Limits:
Okay, be honest with me here, I’m not judging. How many hours a day are you spending on these online platforms? Granted, scrolling through social media can be a fun and easy way to fill some time.
But limiting your social media use to under 30 minutes a day has been shown to significantly improve mental health. Social media practices like setting boundaries and daily limits are some of the easiest ways to have a healthy relationship with social media.
Make It Difficult To Use:
Keep social media apps off your home screen, log out each time, or delete the apps off your phone completely. We are lazy creatures that love convenience, so increasing the number of steps between you and a social media binge is a great way to break bad social media habits and create some healthier ones instead.
Set An Intention:
Okay, so you’ve done everything in your power to unfollow crappy accounts, avoid comparison, mute distracting notifications and make these damn addictive social media apps more difficult to access.
Now let’s commit to building on these good social media habits by setting an intention and a session time limit before logging in. Start by understanding why you are logging in; Are you just bored, filling time, or obsessing over the number of likes on your most recent post? or do you need to reply to a message, post a story and engage with your audience.
Be honest with yourself and make sure that you are clear about what it is that you want to do. Too many times, my intention was just to reply to a message, then 20 minutes later, I’m still there, binge-watching people’s stories.
Take A Break:
Taking an intentional break from social media is probably one of the most liberating and healthy social media habits that you can practice. I double dare you to take a month off from social media. Can you do it? If 30 days is too much, try a week or even 24 hours.
Disconnecting for a while will make a big difference to your peace of mind and mental health. To avoid temptation, delete the apps from your phone. I know, I know, but positive results require drastic measures like this to be taken. You can always re-download the apps after your break, but if you’re in the states, maybe don’t delete TikTok, just turn off those distracting notifications instead.
Only Post When You Have Something Meaningful To Share:
The pressure to be constantly posting and staying relevant on social media is high. There have been several times that I’ve shared content when I really didn’t feel like it. Building a healthy relationship with social media is about PAUSING before clicking POST.
Ask Yourself The Following Questions When You Are Deciding Whether To Post Or Not:
1. Is this post authentic, helpful and informative?
2. Does this post align with my values (and personal brand)?
3. Will this post make a difference, or is it valuable?
Social media is a great tool and connects millions of people around the world each day. But, it’s addictive nature can encourage us to unconsciously build some social media practices that are far from healthy.
The key to building a healthy relationship with social media starts with self-awareness. Good social media habits like setting daily limits and knowing when to take a step back; can make a huge difference to your online experience and your overall well-being.
Just remember that life is happening all around you, unplug from the digital space and spend time with the people that matter most.