We have all had a friend who told us they were getting off social media for their mental health. You might have even tried it! It can be challenging. We all want to post pictures of our families and see photos of our friends and families. Social media is an incredible tool for being, well, social. It helps us stay connected to people thousands of miles away. It also helps us meet new friends and find new communities.
However, social media can also harm your self-image. That’s why auditing your social media is so important. Reevaluating how you use it and who you interact with can help you enjoy it rather than have it make you feel bad about yourself. Remember, on most platforms, you can click on the top right corner of ads and select “not interested.” That can help remove ads that target you in a way that makes you uncomfortable. It’s also good to leave groups that make you uncomfortable or mute people you don’t want to see in your feed.
You can try a “digital detox.” That’s when you stop using social media for a while and see if you miss it. Research has shown that social media can promote depression, anxiety and depression. If you stop using social media for a while and see your health improve, it might be time to delete it. Or, if you use it to check in on family, look at it once a month to see new baby pictures.
People often suffer from what is now called FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out. You might not want to leave social media because you worry about not having your finger on the pulse of all your friends’ lives. But, once people know you are off social media, they will usually send you pictures of the big moments. You won’t get photos of their breakfast or their daily photo of their cat. But you will get pictures from birthday parties.
If you don’t want to leave social media, one option is to cull what you see. You can ask yourself three important questions. Does it spark joy? Does it inspire you? Does it educate you? If something doesn’t make you happy, moved or learn, then it shouldn’t be in your feed. And, when it comes to whether something is educational, make sure any news sources in your feed are correct. A lot of incorrect or misleading information circulates on social media.
Social media should be a tool that improves your life. If it is sucking hours out of your day, that’s not good. If it is leaving you sad, or you find yourself “doomscrolling” and reading bad news for hours on end, that’s unhealthy.
Ultimately, only you can decide the right way to interact with social media. It can be detrimental to your health. It can also be a wonderful way to connect to friends, family and community.