Social media is a great tool to stay connected to others. You can share funny pictures and videos of your growing family with distant relatives and friends.
But social media is also a huge source of stress for many people. In fact, the effects from social media are far-reaching, and you may not even realize how they’re affecting your life.
Stop Social Media From Causing You Stress
Why does social media stress you out?
Before you can stop social media from overtaking your life or stressing you out, it’s important to understand why social media affects you.
According to Pew Research, “There is more information flowing into people’s lives now than ever — much of it distressing and challenging. There are more possibilities for interruptions and distractions. It is easier now to track what friends, frenemies, and foes are doing and to monitor raises and falls in status on a near-constant basis. There is more social pressure to disclose personal information. These technologies are said to take over people’s lives, creating time and social pressures that put people at risk for the negative physical and psychological health effects that can result from stress.”
What do you need to do to stop the stress?
Social media can be a good thing, but only when used carefully. If it’s causing you undue stress, try doing a “social media detox” or at least reducing the amount of time you spend on social media with these tips.
Choose your platforms carefully
Not everything on social media is helpful or even relatable. Since social media can be such a time suck and emotional drain, it’s important to be selective.
Do you really need to follow your friends on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram? Is the information that you’re seeing on these platforms what you need (or even want) to see?
Three topics on social media will derail even your best days:
- Negative comments
Judgemental comments or stories are best left unsaid. Social media tends to amplify drama and negative feelings, and people often say things online that they wouldn’t say in person.
Maybe it’s just a personal pet peeve, but “fishing” negative comments, like “it’s been a bad day” or “Ugh!!!” with no explanation are also extremely irritating. While social media can provide a platform to gather and offer support, like when a loved one is sick, unnecessary dramatic updates are never helpful.
- Controversial topics
Trust me, no good can come out of having a religious or political debate on Facebook. Venting your frustrations about the election (or arguing with someone about their beliefs) isn’t actually going to solve world hunger.
- Bragging rights
Keep in mind that people tend to show their “best selves” on social media.
While your friend may be posting about her new car, baby’s first steps, and latest trip to Tahiti, remember what she’s not posting. You’re not seeing the bills from the new car, the sleepless nights from the crying baby, or the late hours at work to afford the trip to Tahiti.
Create a designated time to spend on social media
Give yourself permission to check in on social media, but be restrictive. Especially if social media is a rabbit hole for you, make sure that you’re limiting your time. If your friend is sharing her tenth cat video of the day, it may be time to move on.
Don’t check social media when you first wake up or right before bed. Give yourself time and space to breathe and enjoy your own life (the cute cat videos will be there later).
Turn off notifications
Turn off notifications on your phone, computer, and tablets.
I turned off all notifications except text messages (only my closest friends and family text me) and my actual phone ringer. It’s been glorious! My phone isn’t constantly beeping, dinging, or buzzing, letting me know about the latest sale or Starbucks coffee cup drama on Facebook. It’s made me feel more in control of my own life (and mood).
This may seem harsh, but by unfollowing everyone, you’ll no longer be part of the drama. You can still check friends’ pages, but you won’t be notified every time a thought pops into their heads.
If you’re having a bad day, it won’t be made worse by politics or other drama that everyone loves to share. And you can still watch cat videos if you need a pick-me-up, but it’ll be on your own time, not when you should be focused on something else.
There’s a time and place for social media, but it’s not always helpful. By understanding why it’s bringing you down and then cutting back on using it, you’ll be in a much better place!