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How to use social media and keep your mental sanity

Sat, 12 Mar 2022 01:53:48 +0000

How to use social media and keep your mental sanity

This morning I woke up feeling poopy (I’m pretty much waiting to get Covid while I live with two people who have it), failed at getting up at 6am to read and write, and instead grabbed my phone and started scrolling on Instagram the moment my eyes opened. 

I’m by no means against social media. In fact, if used right, they can be extremely beneficial.
These are some of the thighs I’ve been able to do thanks to social media:

  • Meet cool people

  • Stay in touch with friends across the world

  • Find jobs and gigs

  • Get inspired and do research for articles and posts to write

  • Widen my horizons on the creators I follow to include more diversity

  • Discover awesome artists, musicians, writers and creators

  • Feel more comfortable coming out and learning the words to describe my gender identity (in fact, pretty much everything I know about gender I learned on social media)

  • Create community, especially around sustainability and Zero Waste

  • Find tools to work on my mental health and wellbeing

  • Learn about feminism

  • Educate myself on issues I would have never come across in school

As you can see, social media has positively impacted my life in many ways. But it hasn’t always been the case.
When I first started using Instagram, I mostly followed influencers who lived on tropical islands and posted about “what I eat in a day” videos on a raw vegan diet. I thought they would be inspiring me and somehow would make my life better. Instead they just made me jealous, sad that I live in perpetual winter, and angry that produce is so expensive here.

If left unsupervised and unmoderated, social media can be detrimental to our mental health and self confidence, let alone our self-image and the way we look at ourselves. 

I’m equally worried and annoyed at how much I seek online gratification. The moment I post something, I immediately refresh the page a million times to see if anyone has responded yet. I know that’s the reflection of something else. If there’s a void to fill, we shouldn’t fill it with instant gratification from some stranger online (real life connections and therapy would be my main recommendations).

I also noticed that my attention span has decreased considerably since I started using social media. I find it really hard to focus at work and to have a conversation with someone if my phone is right next to me. 

I do have some rules around social media and phone usage that I try to stick to (although I definitely slip up from time to time):

I try to not use my phone first thing in the morning and last thing at night

  • I regularly go through the accounts I follow and unfollow anything that’s toxic or irrelevant

  • I make sure I follow accounts with a purpose

  • I schedule days without social media or without my phone entirely

  • I set notifications on my phone so I know when to check it (I realised that not having notifications on Instagram meant that I would check it obsessively just in case someone had liked one of my posts, whereas now if my phone buzzes I’ll check it, otherwise I won’t)

  • I try to not bring my phone into the common spaces in my house (so I can have a conversation with my flatmates without being distracted)

It took me six hours to write this which brings me to the conclusion that maybe I do have Covid. I’m feeling dizzy and I keep on zoning out. Focusing is really hard and I have brain fog. All I want to do is scroll on social media 😵‍💫
I’m gonna go and try to take care of myself. I hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy! Love ya all 💕

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