In a survey published by Cureus in June 2020, it was reported that “the prolonged use of social media platforms such as Facebook may be related to negative signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress”.
While we indulge in hours of endless scrolling, trying to snap the perfect selfie, or striving to get as many likes and followers as possible, we are neglecting all of life’s good stuff that is so important to our health. But not only does social media steal our precious time, it has even more detrimental effects:
- We become less productive – It’s easy to lose track of time when scrolling through social media, which ultimately results in using our time less productively, whether at home or at work. It can also cause a lack of concentration when we’re trying to focus on something else.
- We compare ourselves to everyone else’s seemingly perfect and exciting lives – Although it’s often quite obvious that the lives and images people present on social media aren’t always an honest reflection, this can put a huge amount of pressure on users to live up to unrealistic expectations. Over time, this can cause low self-esteem as feelings of insecurity make us believe that we’re not good enough. As well as knocking our confidence, these false perceptions may lead to body dysmorphia or eating disorders in some instances.
- We lose physical human contact – Human connections and interactions, both emotionally and physically, are extremely important to our wellbeing as they strengthen communication and boost our self-confidence.
- It can affect our quality of sleep – Good quality sleep is paramount for keeping a healthy mind and body. Not only does the content we see on social media keep our minds alert or even anxious, but the light from the screens can reduce the production of melatonin in our bodies - a chemical which makes us feel tired and able to sleep well.
Ways to wean yourself off social mediaIf you’ve found yourself feeling anxious, stressed or less productive, and you want to try and kick the social media habit, here are a few tips to help you:
- Set up a sleep schedule on your phone or device. This will remind you when you need to wind down before bedtime so you can relax with a book or a warm bath to help you sleep.
- Make plans to see or speak with friends on a regular basis, because the more time you’re chatting, the less time you’ll spend scrolling. You can even agree to a phone ban during your time together to help you resist temptation.
- Spend some time every day doing relaxing activities that will help you clear the clutter from your mind, such as meditation or mindfulness exercises.
- Make time for sports or outdoor activities that will not only engage your brain so that you forget about social media, but they’ll help to keep your body and mind fit and healthy.
- Switch off your phone notifications so that you become more in control of when you go online. You can even set aside certain times for accessing your accounts.
- Delete your accounts! One of the best ways to stop letting social media control your life is by removing yourself from unhelpful accounts completely. By deactivating your accounts, you are freeing yourself from the distractions and more likely to find much healthier ways to spend your time.
If you're interested in finding out more about how to manage your social media usage for your wellbeing, watch the recording of our free webinar and download our free booklet here >