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Social media and your mental health
07 Oct 2022
by Sophie Coombs

There are no two ways about it - social media can impact your mental health. We’ve known about this since the dawn of social networking but, following two years of Covid restrictions, relationships with social media are more fragile than ever. 

In fact, when I asked my LinkedIn network how they felt about social media, half of them said social media sometimes has a negative impact on their mental health, 38% of them said it definitely does, and only 10% said it has no negative impact. 

So, where do we go from here?

It’s not always social media that’s the problem, it’s what you’re seeing on social media

Imagine a social feed where it’s just your closest friends, favourite influencers, and people posting about your hobbies and passions. 

Compare that to your current social media feeds. Which one do you prefer?

Yes, many social media platforms are flawed but often we are following people or organisations who we don’t like, don’t agree with, or don’t even want to see on our phones. Why are we doing this when we know, over time, this content will negatively impact our mental health?

Remember - what you see on social media isn’t always the full story

Influencers are a great example of this. You may see a smiley, upbeat #ad, but in reality they’re posting while having a bad mental health day themselves.

Social media is usually a reflection of our happiest moments. Try and see it as people’s digital scrapbooks of their ‘best bits’ rather than an accurate portrayal of their lives.

Our tops tips to improve your relationship with social media

Remove apps from your home screen

Apple’s iOS15 update completely changed its devices’ home screens. You can now put apps into your ‘app library’, meaning they won’t sit anywhere on your home pages. 

Pop your social media apps in the library and voila, out of sight, out of mind!

Set time limits

Boundaries are important, particularly when it comes to something like social media. Make use of your device’s handy screen time features and set time limits for your social networking apps. Personally, I set limits on my apps between 10pm and 7am, and whenever I’ve spent over an hour on the app that day. 

Mute, unfriend or unfollow people

Again, boundaries are important! Something needs to change if you feel worse after going on social media than you did before going on it.

Once a month (or maybe more frequently) go down your ‘following’ or friends list and consider whether these accounts benefit or hinder your mental state. There might even be a particular user who’s crossed your mind while reading this blog. 

It can be difficult to completely ‘cut off’ people on social media, especially if you know them in person and they’re likely to comment if you’ve unfollowed/unfriended them. Luckily, most social media platforms have a mute feature where you will still be connected to a user but you won’t see any of their content without purposefully finding it - win, win!

Take a techtimeout

Step away from your tech regularly and feel how great it is to be ‘unplugged’. If being on social media is negatively impacting your mental health, take an hour or so (or even less) away from it and allow yourself to do something that makes you happy. 

Follow accounts that make you happy

Just as you should remove accounts which negatively impact your mental health, you should add accounts which benefit it! There are plenty out there, and the ones you choose to follow will be completely dependent on you, but here are a few ideas on who to follow…

Accounts sharing content to better your mental health (like Headspace)
People you find inspiring and who you enjoy keeping up with
Businesses you love and want to support
Accounts dedicated to hobbies and passions, such as reading, travelling, communities, and food

Reach out

The above tips are great for improving your relationship with social media, but they aren’t solid ‘cures’ for mental health conditions. If you’re struggling with your mental health, please reach out to someone, such as a loved one, or get in touch with a charity such as Mind or Samaritans

Can we help?

Being on social media and trying to promote your business online can be exhausting, we know. If you’re trying to better your relationship with social media but still want to maintain an online presence, we’re always here to help. Email us at info@jandpr.com if there’s anything we can do.