Social media is an incredible invention, one that allows us to connect with people all around the world in an instant. But there are, of course, some negative effects. For example, studies have shown that spending too much time on social feeds can lead to low self-esteem, loneliness, and depression.
The good news is that experts agree we can use social media in a way that doesn’t harm our mental health. Here are five tips for doing so:
One, turn off push notifications. Do you really need to know you have a message, like, or comment the second it comes in? Push notifications can cause you to obsess over these interactions. Turn them off to assert more control over your engagement.
Two, know when to set your phone aside. You shouldn’t be scrolling through social media when you’re at work or when you’re engaging in self-care. These occasions require and deserve your full attention.
Three, put a cap on your social media time. In addition to putting your phone down when your attention is needed elsewhere, limit your time altogether. For example, only allow yourself to spend an hour or so on social media each day.
Four, don’t neglect real-life interactions. Don’t just “like” photos on your social feeds; spend real, meaningful time with people. Have weekly dinners with your best friend, call your brother, check in with your parents. Be present and truly engage.
Five, check in. The reality is that healthy social media habits can mean something different for every individual. Assess your mental and emotional wellbeing and make additional changes to your social media use accordingly.
These five tips will help you develop and practice healthy social media habits.