While social media has an array of pros (connecting, advertising, etc), there are also significant downsides to staying plugged in. If you’re here reading this, I’m assuming you’ve realized that you may be spending too much time on social media.
Now, I’m not going to tell you if you should stop using social media altogether. Instead, I’m going to share some healthy social media practices and ways that you can be healthy online.
A healthy relationship with social media isn’t just about what you’re posting and liking. It’s about what you’re thinking, feeling, and experiencing while you’re posting and liking. It’s about the state of your mind.
With that being said, let’s dive into some tips on how to find balance and have a healthy relationship with social media.
Know your purpose
Be honest with yourself – why do you really check Instagram first thing when you wake up?
Be clear with yourself about why you’re checking social media. What’s the purpose? For those who are building their brand online, their purpose may be to connect and grow their channels. For those who simply want to encourage others, their purpose may be to form connections.
So ask yourself – what’s your purpose? Why do you go on social media? Is it FOMO? Is it to connect with your friends? Is it to see what others are doing?
Replace social media with something else
Remember when I asked why you check Instagram first thing in the morning? Well, I think it’s the same reason why we check social media while standing in line, waiting for our food to come at a restaurant, or taking one last scroll before bed.
Social media has become a habit triggered by a craving for some type of reward. Maybe you’re trying to fill the void. Maybe you’re bored and just trying to pass the time. Either way, try to find something to replace social media with.
When was the last time you read a book on self care or personal growth? Those are just two examples, but there are endless possibilities that come with reading a book. There’s an author for everyone, you just have to find yours.
If reading just isn’t your thing, then consider reaching out to an old friend. Take time to journal. Practice affirmations. Do your meditations. Try yoga. Start a side hustle.
You get the point.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting
Set limits on social media
There are different ways you can set limits on social media: using a timer, and scheduling specific times. By using a timer, you can choose to not use social media for longer than 10 minutes at a time, and once the timer is up you’ll stop. You can also choose to schedule “social media time” by designating certain times during the day to check and ignoring it at others.
Turn off your notifications
Notifications get our attention – that’s really the point of them. They let us know when something is going on which prompts us to check it out. If you’re serious about wanting to spend less time on social media, and notifications tend to encourage you to go on apps, then you should try to turn off your notifications to reduce the likelihood of you checking what’s going on.
Cultivate your feed
A good way to balance social media and mental health is to cultivate your feed by following accounts that are positive. Find accounts that share the same interests as you and uplift you.
For me, I’ve been following accounts in the personal development and self care areas, because naturally their content is going to be uplifting. So find someone you resonate with and unfollow those you don’t.
We tend to forget that what people share on social media isn’t their entire life. We only see what they want us to see, which is why we should follow those that inspire us. When you follow those that inspire you, you’re less likely to fall into the trap of comparison.
Related: How to Practice Abundance
Treat social media as a reward
Change how you interact with social media by treating it like a reward. Instead of consuming your time with endless scrolling, treat yourself to 10 minutes of engaging after you’ve completed some tasks for the day.
Maybe for every 10 activities you do off your phone, you can engage on social media.
Social media is here to stay whether we like it or not. Unfortunately, social media has the ability to drain our health and well-being. But social media also has the ability to uplift, fight for a change, and unite. This is why it’s important to develop healthy social media practices.
Everyone will have a different way to form healthy habits while on social media. If you realize that social media is taking a toll on your mental health, consider using some of the tips above to have a better balance of the two.
Remember – social media is a tool. It’s up to you whether you use that tool, or let the tool use you. The power is in your hands.