The link between mental health issues and social media is not exactly new information, but we believe it is a conversation worth having this month, as Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close in America. Not to mention it being November now, with a new cause on the table this month, ‘Movember’. Here is a topic we would love to spark your thoughts on; how to take care for our mental health, given social media is a part of our daily routine.
The first step to accepting the baggage that comes with the use of social media and smartphones is to admitting you may be addicted to your smartphone. Somehow, we all are. The devices and related social media apps are designed deliberately to produce dopamine. So, every time we receive a like on a newly posted Instagram? Boom! You get a hit of dopamine. It is no wonder we are addicted to social media.
The second step in accepting your addiction is taking stock of how you can rebalance through mindful media consumption and make changes to your smartphones habits. We get it, mindfulness tends to have a negative connotation, some people even believe that it is a practice made only for hippies. However, there is more to it than you think.
Taking time to literally clear our mind of all the information we process in an average working day is incredibly important. Think of it this way, you know when you clear all of the screenshots and random things on your laptop desktop into the virtual trash? Suddenly your desktop is fresh of clutter and you can think without distraction when you next open your laptop. Well your mental capacity is the same, it can only take so much clutter before things start to get messed up.
Processing all of this information can feel like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s why we decided to share our key findings from Mental Health Month on how to keep it all in check as well as sharing strategies from Influencers specialising in the topic. Take note.
#1 – Meditation
How, we hear you skeptics ask, can sitting and doing literally nothing for 10 minutes a day actually help? “Meditation is the practice of thinking deeply or focusing one’s mind for a period of time. While there are many forms of meditation, the ultimate goal is a feeling of relaxation and inner peace, which can improve mental health. And there’s a growing body of research to support that.” An influencer who we admire that is passionate about meditation is Laura Seiler. Take a look at her Instagram here.
#2 – Consume consciously
How many times have you found yourself waking up after finding yourself in a black scroll hole of Instagram content? We’re not here to judge, we too have done this and can agree, it doesn’t feel great. How many times have you found yourself comparing your life or looks to someone else on Instagram? Spending time comparing your journey to another individuals online projection is doing you no good. Take Nike’s Kirsty Godso’s word for it. Just quit it
#3 – Set screen time limits
Around 40% of the world’s population uses social media – and the average person spends around 2 hours of every day liking, commenting, tweeting, swiping and posting to social media platforms. An excellent way to start taking control of your screen time and start setting time limits is a tool. Better yet, Facebook and Instagram have both integrated functions to help manage your time spent on the apps.
#4 – Do a digital detox
The best thing about our smartphones is that the control lies in the palm of our hands. The power of the devices is up to you, it is just a tool after all. A tool which in fact extremely useful and helpful to the developing world of communication. Learning how to handle the temptation of your smartphone just takes takes practice and mindful habits. Nikki Sharp, a wellness expert and health coach took a 30 day digital detox, leaving her following of 325K.
What did Nikki learn? “No one cared as we are all going through our own lives. Our phones and all social sites are a distraction.” If you feel like a detox could be helpful to you, start by deleting all social media apps from your phone. Set yourself a detox goal, then smash it.
#5 – Speak up
Our final tip is the easiest – speak up! Tell others you are taking a break or that you are setting smartphone boundaries or that you need help in fighting social media temptation.
Better yet, speak up on social media about this! We respect those using their platform to share personal struggles, as it can help others who are going through the same process. Take a leaf out of Hannah’s book, who we interviewed last week, or read her blog here.
It’s simple. Unfollow the accounts and people who do not make you feel good about yourself. In fact, it’s a great idea to make regular adjustments to your social media feeds and the content you’re choosing to consume. If you are struggling this idea due to social expectations then again it’s simple, mute the accounts. Don’t know how to do that? Read more in this article here on how to do this.