March 4th, 2021
As human beings, we are social creatures and need relationships to thrive. With social distancing becoming our way of life, many of us have turned to social media more often than not for social interactions. Unfortunately, excessive social media use has also been linked to anxiety and depression. If you notice that you are spending more time on social media than with your friends, comparing yourself to others on social media, experiencing sleep problems, or are distracted at school or work by your social media use, you may want to consider making modifications to your screen time.
- Reduce Time Online: In order to reduce your social media use, it may be helpful to use an app (Screen Time for iPhone users and Digital Well-being for Android users) to track how much time you spend on social media each day. These apps help you to set goals and find ways to reduce your usage. Additionally, the apps will help you to set limits on how much time you spend on other apps. You can try turning off your phone at certain times of the day, not bringing your phone to bed (or to the bathroom), disabling social media notifications, setting specific times when you will check social media, and even removing social media apps from your phone altogether.
- Improve Social Time Offline: While social distancing makes this a little more difficult, you can still connect with your friends. Fun things to try at home may be hosting a virtual cook-off or taking an online class together. For outdoor socially-distanced activities, try walking or running, having a picnic, or doing an outdoor fitness class. Try limiting phone use as much as possible while engaging with friends.
- Express Gratitude: Excessive social media use can often lead to feelings of discontent. You may begin comparing yourself to others and holding yourself to unrealistic standards. Taking time for reflection and practicing mindfulness daily can decrease the negative impacts of social media use. Expressing gratitude will help you focus on things that are going well in your life and mindfulness will help you be more in the present moment.