Mental Health and Social Media Balancing: Top 5 Helpful Habits In 2020

Balancing Mental Health and Social Media: Top 5 Helpful Habits 




                   I used to be on every social network I could find. At first, it was just to keep in touch with friends, but I used it so much it actually got in the way of my personal connections with people.

                    I've had to learn to manage my time when it came to social media. I found so much online to like, comment on, and share that I often lost track of time and then I'd feel guilty. I had to take control.

                   I've experienced some of the advantages and some of the disadvantages of social media firsthand. 

                   This is my story. A friend reached out after reading one of my posts on social media. She was really concerned. You see, I broke down and wrote about how isolated I felt on campus. It was my first year of college, and my first time making decisions as an adult. I've always been a little shy, so meeting people on social media was a bit easier for me than connecting with people in person. 

                   I could also find out about events going on around campus, join online study groups, and keep in touch with friends back home. As the semester progressed, I stopped meeting new people in person, and I stayed in my room more and more. I had to read each and every response to my posts. 

                  I wanted to know exactly what people had to say about me, no matter if their words were good or bad. I had more friends on social media than ever, so why did I feel so lonely? Hey, Makinzy! Pizza downstairs. Come meet our new neighbors. 

                  I didn't go. I felt nervous about meeting new people. Then I started thinking, "Why am I even paying to be in college?" I wasn't enjoying my time and my grades continued to fall. After months of feeling this way, I reached a breaking point. I posted, "I don't think I can do this anymore. "College isn't anything like I expected, "and I can't rely on anyone." One of my friends immediately responded. I'm coming over, stay where you are. 

                  Online relationships shouldn't be the only ones we have. There are lots of great things about social media like giving support, feeling less lonely, sharing ideas, feeling understood, and having a sense of community. But there may also be drawbacks to too much social media use like increased nervousness and sadness, and lower self-esteem. 

                  I am glad that Lila came over to listen as I talked about the ups and downs of my experience on social media. She helped me find resources that allowed me to put guardrails on my social media use. I realized that I needed to balance my time on social media with meaningful personal interactions offline. Little by little, I started to step away from my computer. 

                I even worked up the courage to join Lila at some campus events. 

Here are five tips that have helped me on my journey to better mental health while being active on social media. 


1: I monitor my screen time. 

              I keep track of how much time I spend on social media. My phone actually has an app that helps with this, making it easy to monitor. 


2: I'm more selective with the people I connect with. 

             Before making a new connection on social media, I take a moment and ask myself if this connection is something I need or want. 


3: I take a break from social media. 

             Every week I choose a day where I enjoy my life without social media as a conscious choice. It isn't always easy, but it is an important rule for me. 


4: I'm mindful of why I use it, whether it's to escape or to connect. 

             If I spend too much time using it as an escape, it's a sign I should take a break for a period. So I make an adjustment. I can then use my offline time to get some fresh air, play my guitar, or pick up a book. 


5: I limit where and when I use it. 

             I don't take my electronic devices out during meals, and I make a point not to use them while talking with others. I also turn them off an hour before bed. 


* By practicing these tips, I feel more in control of my time and my mental health has improved. With time, I've managed to improve my relationships both online and offline. It isn't always easy, but managing my social media use is one of the many techniques I use to keep my mental health on the right track. (bright music) 

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