As we practice social distancing, it is important to stay connected. Often the easiest way to connect is through social media, which provides a simple way to stay in touch with friends and family. Social networks also keep us updated with the most recent news and stories impacting our community. While social media can provide a great outlet for connection, it can also increase feelings of anxiety, jealousy, and more. This is why it's important to find a balance between real life and social media. In this week's deep dive, we will be sharing tips on how to create balance between your real-life and your digital life.
Finding Balance with social media
If you find yourself spending more time on social media than intended, you are not alone.
Social Media.biz shares that our unconscious clicks on Instagram and Facebook highlight how many people are unconsciously addicted to social media. This digital addiction steals significant
life moments from us. Social media is a great outlet to connect with people, but it is important to make disciplined efforts to not let it distract from enjoying moments with the people around us. The tips below from socialmedia.biz and Forbes will help you achieve balance between you and your social apps.
Limit your time on social media
The time we spend on social media adds up quickly. Hopping onto Facebook or Twitter for an update can quickly spiral into an hour of mindless and unintentional scrolling through news feeds. This is unintentional and wastes time. Take can control of your scroll by scheduling times—and setting limits—to check social media. Social Media.biz recommends limiting your social media use to once or twice a day and allotting 10 to 15 minutes during those times to interact with others. Use technology to help you! Many phones and devices allow you to set time limitations for certain apps and websites.
Real life interactions
Right now, the face-to-face interactions that we can have are limited with good reason. However, if you do live with family or friends, ensure that you are truly present in the moments you spend with them. This may mean putting your phone away when you are talking with your family and friends, or making sure you in a quiet, distraction free space for any video calls you have with friends. Don’t let your phone steal your moments. Have dedicated time in the day where you put your phone away.
There is a lot of pressure on social media to keep up with others' lifestyles. Remember that social media is a highlight reel of people's lives. Many people tend to look at this highlight reel and compare it to their real life. It is important to be aware that the amazing pictures or videos you see on social media are only snippets of someone’s best moments and not a full depiction of that person’s life.
Be cautious of likes
It is common for some people to use social media to receive validation from others based on the number of likes, follows, or views they receive. This practice is not healthy. It is nice to share photos and content on social media, but you need to avoid seeking validation from people through social media. Share to connect, not validate your emotions. Remember, you are control of loving yourself, don't give that control to others.
Social media challenge
Social media should be an asset in your life, not a burden. Leverage social media as a tool to stay connected. But don’t depend on this tool exclusively! Every day for one week, reach out and connect with one friend outside of social media. Maybe this is a call, video conference, or a letter. Just make sure you do more than like a friend’s photo. This is a great way to challenge yourself to connect with others outside of social media.
Create new hobbies
People who constantly use social media may not be reliant on it, they might just be bored. Does this sound like you? If it does, take some time while social distancing to start a new hobby. You can use YouTube to find tutorial videos on how to garden, how to paint, how to cook, and so much more. Use your extra time to develop a skill set or reconnect with your inner artist.
There is such thing as headline anxiety
With everything going on in our country and across the globe regarding COVID-19, the news can fill us with anxiety as we are being consistently bombarded with updates and information. According to Northwestern Medicine, the stories and headlines delivered by news outlets are taking a toll on people's mental health. Medical News Today shares that their intent is to keep people informed and to empower them to take preventative measures regarding their health. However, the delivery seems to be having a reverse effect of stress and anxiety unintentionally. These tips from Northwestern Medicine and Medical News Today will help you maintain good mental health when it comes to staying informed and consuming media.
Take breaks from the news
While it is important to be aware of what is going on in the world, it’s also important to protect your mental health. Give yourself permission to disconnect from the news, turn off notifications and alerts, or delete apps from your phone. Spend more time cultivating mental wellness by spending time in nature, reading a book, or partaking in an activity that makes you happy and shifts your focus from negative emotions of anxiety and worry to peace and calm. Your mental health is more important than a headline.
Focus on the solution
One way to mitigate news anxiety is to find ways that you can be a part of the solution. Right now, being a part of the solution is particularly relevant. While it may feel like COVID-19 is spreading rapidly, remember to participate in the solution by practicing social distancing and washing your hands. Want to do more? You can support your community by offering to help your elderly neighbors with grocery store runs or check in on those who might not have a support system to make sure they are doing okay.
There are notable topics that trigger stress and anxiety more for people than other topics. It is important to analyze if you have any triggering topics and identify what they are. Once you do this, you can re-evaluate if the news outlets you are getting your news from seem to heavily cover those topics and if it is a good option for you to keep receiving news from them or explore another news outlet.
Seek the bright side
A lot of times, it can feel like the news stories that we consume are mostly negative. A
from University of Sussex in the United Kingdom shared that listening to negative news increases our tendency to worry. For this reason, it is important for us to seek positive news stories to balance out the negative ones. There are several news outlets and website dedicated to sharing the good in the world. Seek those good stories out in your life to help improve your positive outlook.
Getting back to basics can help manage your stress levels. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. If you are aware that certain things like watching the news or using your phone give you anxiety, limit the amount of time you spend with these devices.