Mental Health Awareness should not be limited to a specific month. It is a conversation that needs to be addressed year-round.
And one of the biggest culprits to mental health problems is social media.
How many hours do you spend on social media? Between scrolling through Instagram, tweeting, and getting updates through Facebook, we spend hours on these platforms.
Because of this, we need to practice healthy social media mental health habits.
The Link Between Social Media And Mental Health
Studies suggest that chronic use of social media platforms can affect mental health.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh surveyed more than 1,000 college students between ages 18 and 30. It was about their socmed usage and online experience.
They found that negative social media experiences lead to increased depression. Positive experiences, on the other hand, can’t prevent depression.
Another example is from an online survey by the Royal Society for Public Health. It suggests that Instagram is among the worst platform for mental health.
This comes as no surprise. It’s so easy to compare your life to the perfectly curated feed of other people.
With that said, it’s important to practice healthy social media habits. This means going offline. Or taking a break from checking your phone or any form of technology.
What if your job is to be on social media?
Those whose job requires them to be online for long hours are highly vulnerable. This includes social media managers, online business owners, and influencers.
But what can you do about it? Is it time to delete your account?
Don’t panic! There are steps you can take to have a healthy, balanced social media life.
We’ve listed common symptoms of mental illness you need to watch out for. Early recognition means getting help sooner.
Plus, we’ve also gathered social media mental health practices you can follow.
Physical And Mental Signs and Symptoms of Social Media Anxiety
It is important to be aware of your mental health – as well as those around you. Take time to consider your thought patterns.
Look for red flags:
- Feeling exhausted all the time
- Unable to concentrate
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Loss of interest in previously loved activities
- Chronic headache
- Difficulty sleeping
- More susceptible to colds and flu
You should also be vigilant for these signs in your colleagues. This is especially true for social media managers.
Ask them how they are doing. Why?
- Social Media isn’t always fun. Cyberbullying is real. As social media representatives, your colleagues are expected to assist, even internet trolls.
- Online responsibilities can be stressful. They are expected to be creators, marketers, and customer support people.
- Curating the perfect feed is taxing. They might’ve lost hours of sleep trying to come up with the best caption.
Even if you and your colleagues seem fine, it is best to take a step back.
Evaluate your time spent on social media.
Raise awareness. Eradicate the stigma of social media mental health in your workplace.
Social Media Mental Health Habits You Should Follow
Too much of a good thing can lead to toxic behaviors. If unplugging is not an option, you need to find ways to stay mentally healthy. Find the right balance of social media usage.
Social Media Mental Health Habit #1: Find Time To Meditate
If you have enough time to will away hours scrolling through IG, you have enough time to meditate.
Take at least 10 minutes a day to do nothing.
Meditation entails focusing your mind for a specific period of time. This practice has many forms. Your goal is to relax and find inner peace.
This practice is helpful for a variety of mental health conditions, like stress, depression, and anxiety.
Even influencers take the time to meditate! Take Laura Seiler as an example.
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To fully commit to this social media mental health habit, turn off your notifications. At least for the 10 minutes it takes to meditate.
Getting notifications, especially from Instagram, is distracting. Once you hear that familiar beep, you’ll be itching to check your phone!
You don’t need to immediately see likes or comments. Being in the loop is great, but turning off notifications once in a while won’t hurt.
1. Go to your profile and tap the three horizontal lines
2. Tap Settings
3. Scroll up and look for the Notification category
4. Select Push Notifications
From there, you can adjust your settings.
Social Media Mental Health Habit #2: Control What You Consume
It’s okay to filter what you consume. If you want to keep your feed positive, then by all means mute toxic content.
Tip: Perform an audit of what your feed looks like versus what you want it to look like.
Pull a Marie Kondo and only follow accounts that spark joy. Here are a few practices:
1. Unfollow accounts that make you feel bad
Just quit it. Unfollow these accounts.
If you’re constantly comparing your house, lifestyle, or body to certain accounts, then hit that unfollow button!
From your feed, tap the three dots at the far end of the account name.
Simply tap the unfollow button. Don’t worry! The account won’t be notified that you’ve unfollowed them.
Follow people or brands that give you value. Those accounts who bring you joy.
If unfollowing someone becomes too awkward because of work or friendship, try muting them.
The Mute option hides them from your feed. You’ll only see their posts when you choose to visit their account.
Twitter and Instagram have this feature. On Facebook, you can “unfollow” someone. This has the same effect as the mute option while remaining friends with them.
2. Mute trigger keywords
On Twitter, you can mute keywords that trigger anxiety, fear, and depression. It could be any word or phrase. This hides the keywords from your timeline.
You have the option to mute them for a limited time or to hide them forever.
Want to learn how?
- Simply go to your notifications tab
- Tap the Settings
- Select the Muted option
You can choose to mute accounts or to list muted words. Simply tap “muted words” then Add.
3. Filter Comments
Having a job that requires you to be online and deal with internet trolls can be frustrating. It will eventually take a toll on your mental health.
Instagram made it easy to avoid bullying with its comment filtering feature.
Think of it as muting keywords, but on the comment section.
- Go to your profile and tap the three horizontal lines.
- Tap Settings
- Under the Privacy and Security category, tap Comment Controls
- Turn on Hide Offensive Comments
You also have the option to hide specific words and phrases. Simply tap the Manual Filter.
Another option is to completely turn off the comment section for all your posts or for specific content.
Take Nadine Lustre‘s account as an example. She’s a Filipino celebrity who is always under scrutiny by internet trolls. The comment section of her previous posts is turned off.
4. Follow Accounts that Spark Joy
Have you heard of Marie Kondo? Her decluttering philosophy – Konmari – inspires people to #choosejoy to complete their tidying adventures.
Although some people are not very keen on the idea, it does has its merits.
You can consider this method in “decluttering” your feed. Follow only people and brands that make you feel good.
You have complete control of your feed. Don’t feel guilty about muting or unfollowing!
Follow accounts that help you feel motivated. Those that inspire you.
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Tip: It is also a great idea to follow people who are open about their mental health. This helps you feel less alone.
Social Media Mental Health Habit #3: Set Screen Time Limit
According to some reports, an average person spends 2 hours a day on social media.
If your job is online, this number is multiplied. When social media starts affecting your mental health, it’s time to take action.
However, unplugging isn’t always an option. One way to do so is by limiting your screen time.
Thankfully, Instagram made it much easy to monitor the time spent on the app. Simply go to your profile and tap “Your Activity”.
You’ll see how much time you’ve spent on the platform. This feature also allows you to set a reminder when you’ve reached the set period.
Tip: Setting boundaries and creating a structure will help you avoid mindless social media scrolling. This helps you be more productive and in control.
The key is to follow your limits. Do not let yourself peek into your accounts once the alarm went off.
Your goal is to shake off the habit of checking compulsively. When you do visit your feed, it’s more intentional.
Social Media Mental Health Habit #4: Practice Self-Care and Speak Up
When everything starts becoming overwhelming, pause and take care of yourself.
Because of all the hustle and bustle, it’s hard to remember even the simple tasks. How many times have you forgotten to drink water? To look out the window? To take a breather?
It is crucial to make time to do these things!
There are apps that help you set and keep track of self-care habits. These apps prompt you to remember these tasks.
Most importantly, seek help. Speaking up about your social media mental health isn’t a sign of weakness.
Think of it is as a step towards feeling better. Find someone you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with. Someone who can provide support.
Another option is to seek professional help. It’s up to you what you want to share. Who you want to share it with. And the best time to seek help.
When growing your account gets tough, why not see what Upleap can do for you? Our managers help you grow, and our support team is here to help.
If you or someone you know need help, please don’t hesitate to call these numbers:
If you are in the U.S:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 800.273.TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line – text HOME to 741741
If you’re outside the U.S, here is a list of international crisis lines.