These 3 Tips Can Improve Your Relationship with Social Media

stevensharpejr

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I'm going to make an assumption here. You most likely have heard and read (too?) many stats about social media and its relationship to your mental health so I will not wax on about them (but in case you haven't, you can start here, here & here). That being said, I've been in this industry for over five years and these 3 tips helped me immensely improved my relationship with social media and technology in general. 

Before I go into my tips, I invite you to first evaluate your current mindset & relationship to social media. Remember that social media is a tool to build relationships - not the relationship itself. Creating this distinction improved how I consume media and how I engage with others on social media. Secondly, look at this from a different perspective: what is typically shown is the best, curated parts of someone's life - it's not a complete story. It's merely a window into the lives of multifaceted human beings.

Understanding this, you can better ground yourself and better improve your relationship with social media! Now for the tips:

Audit Who You Follow

Look at who you're following and ask yourself "when I see their posts, what feelings come up?". Now there's some nuance that goes into this process. Do not confuse being uncomfortable with feeling bad. Also, remember that your first answer is usually the most correct - explore it, trust it, go with it. I recommend doing this every couple of months to make sure you're consuming content that enriches you and encourages you to be a better person.

Mind Your Time

Set limitations (and stick to them). Whether it's 15 minutes or 2 hours a day, set a limit to your scrolling. Set an alarm or a timer or whatever tool works for you. If you don't know where to start, most smartphones track your screentime. Check that and see how you're actually spending your time. I know that sounds terrifying but facts are facts and this will help you gain control.

Turn Off Your Notifications

Have you ever thought you heard your phone *ding* or vibrate from the other room only to discover: it's all in your head? If the answer is yes, it might be time to turn off your notifications and badges (like the number on your unread emails...). I did this about a year ago and it's been the most helpful for my mental health. What I did was determine the notifications I wanted: text messages, phone calls, and bank notifications. Everything else was silenced. And guess what? The world did not end! Now, when I pick up my phone, it's a personal choice - not the result of compulsory impulse. 

This list is far from exhaustive so I encourage you to adjust as needed for your comfort level. If you're going through your following list and there's an account you and your friends bond over how ridiculous the posts are, keep them! If you turn off your notifications and realize that you really, really need to know every time you get a new email, keep your email notifications! You are a nuanced person that requires nuanced solutions to the things you experience. Just be intentional about improving your relationship with social media. Explore the 'why' behind what you do.

Let me know if any of these tips worked for you! This is meant to be a conversation so if you have solutions that work, put them in the comments. We can all help each other stay connected and stay healthy - inside and out. 

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I'm a freelance content creator (find me on instagram), mental health advocate & social media strategist based in Brooklyn, NY. Follow along for tips on looking your best, feeding your soul (& body) all while improving your mental health!

Brooklyn, NY
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