How to Manage Social Media and Mental Health

How to Manage Social Media and Mental Health
By Abby McGee, LSCSW

I don’t know about you, but I love social media, I just don’t always know how to manage social media and mental health. I love to see what my friends from college and from my hometown post as an update on their life. It allows me to keep up with their weddings, children, and families. Getting to see a window into their lives and all the highlights that they choose to post.

Now, we all have heard that Instagram and all the other social media outlets are just that of a “highlight reel” of your life. It was one thing seeing all the happenings of people who we know, but now we are faced with ad marketing, self-help tips, DIY home improvement projects, and even mental health advice when we scroll through our feeds.

How are we supposed to guard ourselves from the comparison of others when all we see is the image of others doing it all, being experts in all things, and looking amazing in the process?

If you’re like me, you want to figure out a way to continue to use social media to stay connected to old friends (and let’s be real- it can be entertaining to look as well) while maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself along the way. So let’s look at some options for how to manage social media and mental health.

1. Set boundaries!
Time limits, screen time, and discipline on when and where you use social media.
Be thoughtful about how much time you are already spending on social media and set reasonable and achievable goals to work on lower your time spent on the apps.
Try setting downtown on your apps in the morning and at nighttime. Giving yourself time to spend time reading, praying, or journaling in the morning before starting your day.
Be realistic about what times of the day tend to be harder for you and avoid scrolling through apps during that time. Spend time instead in connection with others, yourself, or reading something uplifting.
2. Unfollow
If you follow people that are not healthy for you, it is okay to unfollow! Or if you don’t want to press the unfollow, you can always mute notifications/posts for people permanently or temporarily.
You want to go to your app and feel uplifted and not immediately hit with tips and ways that other people seem to be doing things better than you. Don’t be afraid to make edits to your follow list to make progress in your mental health.
3. Balance
In my observation, life is all about balance. When we try to take hard breaks on something, we often crave that thing even more so when we are not engaged in it.
Try instead making small changes to your time spent on apps in order to create a healthier relationship with the apps. Small changes can include how much time you spend, who you follow, or even what you do upon conclusion of looking at apps to encourage yourself.

I don’t think social media is going away anytime soon, in fact I only think that it is going to continue its growth and impact on our lives. We must learn to protect ourselves, our families, and our children when we are using these apps.

We, at Doors of Hope, are excited and able to walk with you as you and your families navigate the role of social media in your lives and how to manage social media and mental health. Call today!

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