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While nothing beats face-to-face interactions, engaging with digital communities on social media has become an integrated part of our daily lives. And it makes sense. In a world where it’s become the norm to spend more time at home on our screens than offline living in real life, social media has become one of our main sources for fulfilling our natural desire for human connection.
When utilized intentionally, social media can be an incredible place for expanding your network and expressing yourself. As for business owners, influencers, and creatives, it’s even a platform for building your personal brand. But in unhealthy doses, it’s been reported to have the opposite effect.
Social media’s impact on mental health can come in many forms, from triggering all-too-common negative thoughts about body image or imposter syndrome to causing depression, anxiety, and loneliness. That’s why, while it’s always important to be mindful of our social media usage, it’s especially important during the most wonderful, not to mention, and hectic time of year when for many, anxieties are already at an all time high.
The good news is, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy the things we love about social media while maintaining our mental health and avoiding a case of social media burnout. Here’s our list of top tips on how to do just that by making small but mighty mindset shifts and establishing clear boundaries!
#1 Set logon and logoff-hours to manage your social media usage
It can be easy to fall into the habit of waking up first thing in the morning and getting gridlocked into an endless scroll on social media. To make social media healthier for your mental wellness & quality of life, just as you do with offline activities, define dedicated hours in your day that you want to spend online. Start by making social media off-limits for at least an hour before you go to bed and an hour after you wake up every day. You’ll be AMAZED by the major difference that alone can make.
#2 Unfollow pages that make you feel negative about yourself
When’s the last time you’ve audited the pages you follow? If you’re noticing a shift in how an account you follow is making you feel, it’s okay to acknowledge that. If someone’s content triggers negative emotions such as self-doubt or imposter syndrome, or if you simply don’t resonate with their content anymore, you have the power to hit ‘unfollow.’
Prioritize cultivating a social media ecosystem that makes you feel positive, enlightened, and inspired. It can make a world of a difference in your relationship with social media and your mental health..
#3 Get out and do something that isn’t Instagrammable
In a world where the phrase “If it’s not on Instagram, it didn’t happen” looms large, it’s easy to spend more time sharing our experiences on social media rather than actually experiencing them ourselves. This holiday season, aim to find a healthy balance between recording treasured moments and living in them right then and there.
#4 Designate places in your space where phones are not allowed
Do you have a dedicated space where you feel the most relaxed and in high spirits in your office? Or maybe there is a space in your home where you and your family spend quality time together. Designate it as a ‘no phone zone’ in your home and/or office. Making this a habit will train your brain and over time, your desire to constantly check social media while you’re in that space will lessen.
#5 Incorporate ‘no social media days’ into your schedule
If you’re a business owner, content creator, or creative, you likely spend a chunk of your time on social media every single day. As a personal brand, it’s easy to convince yourself it should be the “norm” to at least check in on your online community daily, but it doesn’t have to be. Decide on at least one day out of your week where you completely log off social media to focus on your mental health & overall mental wellness. This could be your busiest day of the week so you can increase your focus, or it could be your designated day off, like Saturday or Sunday, so you can relax.
#6 Take a social media detox
While the holiday season can feel like ‘go time’ for social media as you feel eager to share the fun & memorable moments you’ll likely experience, taking the holiday season as an opportunity to unplug altogether so you can focus on other facets of your life could be just the thing you need. Consider using that extra time you’ll gain for setting your intentions for 2022 and getting a head start on them. During the holidays, people’s overall usage of social media significantly declines anyway, so you won’t be missing anything, promise!
For brands, the holidays can be the most profitable time of year and as a result, it has become the peak season for sales-driven content. Brands should be mindful to maintain a healthy balance between sharing content on social media that’s focused on selling and content that engages, enlightens, and entertains. By identifying connection points with your audience and creating content that supports their desire for a healthier balance with social media, brands can develop holiday content strategies that successfully sell their offerings while building their know, like, trust factor among their ideal audience.
Avoiding holiday burnout and achieving a better relationship between your social media usage and mental health ultimately comes down to being mindful of how often you’re active and how you’re using social media content. With this in mind, use any of these tips to actively work towards achieving a healthier balance, not only during the holiday season, but year-round.