By: Bel Crawford
I went to a Dr Libby seminar a few years ago and she explained how our biochemistry hasn’t changed but we put so much pressure on our bodies and minds, more than they were designed to cope with.
We’re constantly switched on, wired all day, overload ourselves and stress ourselves out by being so busy all of the time and over-stimulating our minds.
Studies have found social media can have a negative impact on our mental health. A study by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK ranked Instagram as the worst social media platform.
The comprehensive study #statusofmind found:
- Social media is more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol
- Rates of anxiety and depression in young people have risen 70% in the past 25 years
- Social media use is linked with increased rates of anxiety, depression and poor sleep
- People who spend more than two hours a day on social media are classed as high users and are more likely to experience mental health and self-esteem issues
SOCIAL MEDIA DETOXES
These are great in the short-term. If you’re feeling a little overstimulated and you want a break here’s my tips of how to have a social media detox:
- Deactivate your Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts if you want or you can just delete the apps off your phone
- My favourite way to ‘social media detox’ (lol) is to turn my phone on aeroplane mode for a day or weekend
- Have a social media free day each week or however often you feel you need it
I’m a big fan of doing these often. I’m actually in the middle of one today and it’s been so great. I feel a sense of relief as soon as I switch flight mode on. It chills me out and I’ve gotten so much done, without getting distracted and scrolling through Instagram and then getting mad at myself.
Social media detoxes are great in the short term but then what? Unless we commit to living off the grid in the forest (sounds ideal to me, if I had my way I’d be a fairy in the bush) you can’t really avoid it, especially if you use it for your job like I do. If you keep finding yourself winding up in the same place you need to create healthy social media habits.
MY SOCIAL MEDIA RE-SET TIPS
- Turn off your notifications. I did this in March and I will never turn them back on. You receive texts and calls but only get Facebook messages, Instagram and Snapchat notifications when you go to check them. 10/10 would recommend.
- Unfollow any people or accounts that don’t make you feel good about yourself.
- Be mindful of what you’re looking at and watching. Your time each day is precious. Do you really need to watch someone punish you with their 25 plus Instagram stories a day? Talking about their latest problem or how they’ve got the shits, a pimple or moaning about how they’re so tired? What are you gaining from this? Is it a good use of your energy? I’m all for being real but some social media users are addicted to oversharing and it’s unhealthy.
- A new feature on Instagram allows you to mute peoples posts and stories. If you don’t want to unfollow someone because well we know how brutal that can be, mute their stories.
- Find you’re using too many social media apps? Delete any you don’t really love or use.
- Set boundaries with your social media usage. Do you find you check it first thing in the morning then scroll for 15 minutes before you get up? Have times where you check your phone. You’ll get so much more done without it constantly distracting you.
- Take photos and save your Instagram stories and post them later so you can enjoy living in the moment, 2018 style.
- Set up a night time routine where you basically get off your phone. So many of us have sleeping problems and it’s linked to our phone usage and screen time. We need time to wind down. Have a cup of chamomile tea, read a book or do a guided meditation.
- Set your phone to ‘do not disturb’ mode between certain hours. Mine switches over at 8.30pm until 7am and the light on my phone is set to dim on ‘night shift’ as well so it’s not as bright before I go to bed.
- Spend time with people and do things that make you get off your phone. Read, watch movies and documentaries, write, get creative, listen to podcasts (ok they’re on your phone but you can listen to them and NOT be on social media). Use your time that you’re not wasting mindlessly scrolling on social media to work on projects, side hustles.
Focus that energy on yourself and chill out. It’s a lot more peaceful I promise and remember you are WAY more than your feed.
IF YOU NEED HELP
If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
Source: ZM Online