When it comes down to it, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself how to have a healthier relationship with social media. Or maybe, you find yourself going down a negative spiral while using the apps and wondering how you even got to that negative mindset in the first place. I’ve been there.
The double-edged sword
We’ve all heard it, the pros and cons of social media. Comparing our “behind the scenes” to everyone else’s “highlight reel” or seeing that perfect “Instagram house” and longing for a house of your own. The comparisons don’t end there. It’s everything from our friendships, relationships, outfits we wear, our pets—aka everything in our life. But despite all this, social media wouldn’t be as powerful as it is today if we all didn’t see the benefits from it.
In my opinion, I get more positives from social media than negatives. But that doesn’t mean that I still don’t suffer from comparison or negativity. I think taking the time to define how social media makes you feel and journal about it will help you see where you’re at with it. If you’re feeling like it’s bringing you down more than it’s inspiring you then that just might be a sign you need a little break and that’s okay. We all go through it and just being able to recognize that says a lot.
There are also some helpful pointers and tips to think about coming up next and for some, these might just be reminders. It can be so easy getting used to scrolling that you’re not being mindful of how the content you interact with makes you feel. Heck, I need the reminders too (and will probably always need to work on it), so let’s get to it.
5 ways to have a healthier relationship with social media
Write down what it does for you
Use your notes app or your journal and write down all the emotions that social media brings you. For me, it brings feelings of inspiration, connection, community, updates, joy, creativity, comparison, and not being good enough. I have more positives than negatives so I think I’m doing pretty good with my current headspace but if you’re getting more negatives that might be a sign that you need to take a break, which is okay. See more on that below.
Define your triggers
This has helped me SO much as of recent. When I notice someone I follow starts to make me feel down about myself or makes me think I’m not good enough I take a mental note of that. If it happens again then I go and mute their stories + posts. The mute button will be your new best friend if you haven’t used this feature yet! It honestly has helped me a lot. And sometimes after I’m in a better headspace I will even go back and unmute if their content starts to inspire me more than bring me down.
This has been my way of figuring out what content triggers negative emotion and taking action about it without having to delete the app entirely. I’ve noticed a big difference in my overall mindset after starting this and I think it could help you too.
Don’t scroll in bed
I’m a huge culprit of this one! Scrolling before going to bed or opening Instagram right when I wake up. This is something I’ve been working on for a long time but I have noticed when I have a more clear/defined routine in the morning+evening, it helps me stay away from mindlessly scrolling.
Spending all your time on social media not only affects your relationships but also your quality of sleep. Creating a nighttime/morning routine that works for you will help you set better habits.
Turn off notifications
I turned off my Instagram notifications a few years ago and have not looked back. If you’re anything like me, once I see a notification I stop what I’m doing to either read the notification or respond to it. Having these mini interruptions all day long can be a huge loss to your productivity. Even if it’s just the notification’s “ding” sound—that can be enough to lose all focus.
This also helps you to separate social media time from real life. Some people find it helpful to assign social media hours for their day. They dedicate certain hours in their day to social media so they don’t let it consume too much of their day. For me, I find this one too hard as I try to be as transparent as possible and want to be there for my followers in real-time. But I know a lot of friends who implement this and love it.
You can also try using social media as a reward if you’re feeling like you’re spending too much time on it and want to have more productivity in your day.
I think this tactic is used a lot. Being in the blogging world, so many other content creators I follow on Instagram frequently take breaks when they’re feeling burnout. Or maybe you have just noticed that you’re starting to develop or more negative (than positive) relationship with social media. Being able to recognize this is so important because it will help you realize when you do need a break.
All of my friends have phases where they delete certain apps from their phones to try and improve their mindset about social media. Or because they want to put more effort into other things in their life. I have taken many breaks due to burnout. Whatever the feeling is for you, recognize it, and take action. It could be a week or even 3 months. Whatever timeline feels good to you. I promise you’ll feel a million times better (and refreshed) when you go back.
I hope this article brings you more peace about creating a healthier relationship with social media. Let me know any tips you personally use below in the comments, I’d love to hear!