- Negativity can be contagious. When our friends post sad or difficult things we feel for them and can experience their sadness.
- When you spend a long time on social media then you are missing out on valuable time you could be spending with family or friends, which can cause you to feel isolated.
- When we see other people doing well we might compare ourselves to them, which makes us feel like we are not good enough or could be doing better.
How can I use social media without feeling depressed?
- Identify your purpose for using social media. Are you trying to stay in contact with your friends or family? Are you using it because you are bored and trying to past time? Or are you feeling lonely?
- Set a time limit goal. Decide what is realistic for you. It might be very difficult to cut down cold turkey. Instead start by counting how much time you spend on social media and cut it in half. If you spend two hours a day, then try only one hour a day for a full week. If that works, cut it down even further. Remember to reward yourself for reaching your goals.
- Spend more time around others. Since social media can feel isolating, it is important to fill up your time with social interactions. Grab coffee with a friend or call a loved one on the phone. Even spending time at the gym, mall, or a bookstore can help you feel more connected to the outside world.
- Set healthy boundaries. Social media can be good in moderation. Decide what your limits are and stick to them. You might decide to shut off social media notifications after dinnertime or eliminate them from your phone.
- Don’t be afraid of a social media detox. It might be hard to imagine not constantly checking your social media accounts, but remember there was a time when social media didn't exist at all!
Healthy Coping Skills to Use in Place of Social Media
- Get some fresh air! Being out in nature is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to relax. Take some time away from technology and go on a long hike, spend a day at the beach, or play a team sport.
- Do some writing or artwork. Get in touch with your creative side and use the part of your brain that is ignored when you are using social media. Some simple journaling can do wonders for releasing endorphins.
- Take a few minutes to meditate. Take some long, deep breaths and sit in silence. This might be difficult at first if you are not use to meditating. Be patient with yourself and enjoy taking time to just “be” rather than “do.”
- Reconnect with the child in you. Remember when you were young and social media either did not exist at all or was just beginning? What were some of the things you used to like to do? Maybe you would skip instead of walk, watch silly movies, or dance to music. Give yourself permission to be a kid again and leave your computer and phone at home.
Social media is a great way to stay in contact with other people. It also gives us an opportunity to share interesting articles and talk about our successes and failures. Unfortunately with the constant availability it is easy to go overboard, which can cause problems like depression, isolation, and low self-esteem. If you feel like you might be experiencing problems because of too much social media then try to incorporate more balance into your life. If you feel like your depression is so severe or is not improving, then consider seeking professional help.