Healthy Social Media Habits

Social media is a massive part of culture today, and we all agree that it can be toxic. Is there anything we can do to make it a better experience for our mental health?  

Recognize the benefits.  

Social media is how we interact with friends, but it’s more than that. It can be a place to find a community with people who share your parts of your identity. Those who feel lonely or isolated have an easier time finding those who can relate. Ask yourself if you are using social media the way it was intended.  

Change the algorithm in a positive direction. 

Are you interested in birdwatching or chess? Are you trying to become a better cook? The Instagram and TikTok algorithms learn your interests. If you cater it towards growing healthy hobbies, many find that they can take themselves away from social and better hone a skill instead of scrolling past videos that make them feel sad or self-conscious.  

Learn the importance of screen breaks. 

The pandemic pushed many of us on Zoom in front of a camera, sometimes for 8+ hours every day. This constant camera time hasn’t been great for our mental health; It takes a lot of energy to be in front of a screen constantly.  

If you’re looking at yourself in video chats for an hour or more every day, it causes negative impacts such as: 

  • An increase in self-criticism 
  • Hyper focusing on our imperfections 
  • Comparing ourselves to others 
  • Obsession with self-improvement 
  • Not achieving perfection 
  • Depressed by results 
  • We can start to be obsessed with looking our best 

All of this takes energy, and the stress, as a result, creates an anxiety-depression spiral, taking a toll on our bodies and relationships.   

 

Psychologists at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle and Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego offer a whole-person approach to counseling. They may ask you about your social media habits and how much screen time you are averaging in a day. From there, they may suggest a plan moving forward to better improve your mental health while pulling back from social media. 

Article information taken from KING5’s Are You OK Series on November 14, 2021.  

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