Social media is here to stay in a big, BIG way. It can be so fun to keep in touch with friends and family through pictures and posts, but surfing Facebook or Instagram can also lead to dependence, anxiety, and even depression when we compare ourselves to others or seek constant validation through “likes” and comments. So what can we do to counter these concerns with social media? Particularly for the rising generation, it’s not at all realistic (nor is it necessary or even healthy) to avoid it altogether, so the best thing to do is be aware of the downsides of it and wisely manage our use of it to best serve our interests and our health. Here are some strategies to be wise in how you use social media:Watch Your Dosage
Are you spending hours each day checking up on what friends (and even strangers!) are up to? Do you check Twitter at work or login to your favorite websites when you’re in the company of other people? Spending too much in the virtual world can take away from your relationships, career, and hobbies; it can also lead to mental health concerns. The solution is to take breaks, walk away, or log out. Programs like “StayFocused” can help you keep your usage in check.
Nurture Face-To-Face Relationships
One of the best antidotes to feeling the social media blues is to spend time with others and interact offline! We need real-life communication and physical touch. Prioritizing spending time with other humans will help combat the feelings of low self-esteem and negativity that can come about with too much internet usage, you’ll also gain experience with social skills that sadly, are lacking in many young people these days.
FOMO, or Fear-Of-Missing-Out, is all too common among young people these days, and it’s only exacerbated by social media. We see pictures of our friends taking extravagant vacations, going to fancy restaurants, or doing other fun activities, and we start to feel bad about our own lives and wish that we could be doing similar things. If you find yourself frequently experiencing FOMO, challenge your own thoughts: sure, your friend went to Mexico, but didn’t you go on a great ski trip last Christmas? What about yesterday jumping in the pool with your kids or catching fireflies at night? It’s not easy to avoid comparing ourselves, but if your initial emotions upon seeing others’ posts and updates are jealousy, sadness, or inadequacy, try to foster up memories of your own life where you did have fun and get to have valuable experiences. You may want to make a scrapbook (an actual, physical scrapbook not an instapost!) or collage that you can hang up and remember your favorite times with your special people.
There’s More Than Meets The Eye
People often only post a picture-perfect version of their lives; rarely do we see the heartache, baggage, and struggling of other people online. If you look at others’ beautiful pictures and start to feel badly about yourself, remember that they are likely only posting their “front door”; everyone has things in life that aren’t as pretty or camera worthy. It’s all too easy to create a warped version of reality that hides the unsavory details, so be mindful that there’s most likely a lot more than meets the eye.
If You Have to Post….Post a Positive Message
Ok, we get it- quitting social media cold turkey might be a little much to ask right off the bat. If you need to check and post- post a positive message or inspirational picture or quote. Make it a mission to not only brighten up your day- but hopefully someone else’s as well!