Apr 24th, 2020
Life is a series of balancing acts – including how much time and attention you give to social media.
In our new reality of social distancing and COVID-19 anxiety, millions are turning to social media – for connection, for entertainment, for news. It’s easy to get lost in this virtual world, but it’s important to find and maintain the right balance.
Social media can have both positive and negative effects on your health and well-being, which Harvard University has aptly coined the social media see-saw effect. The key is paying attention to how social media makes you feel, the impact it has on your life and why you are using it.
The PROs of social media
Social media can help you stay connected to family and friends, especially now, when it’s safer to be at home rather than gather in large groups. It can preserve a sense of normalcy and provide a form of reassurance when you feel connected, even virtually, to your loved ones.
Social media can also be a great outlet for creativity or self-expression. You can find like-minded communities with mutual interests. You can raise awareness of worthwhile causes or learn about new hobbies and interests.
The CONs of social media
Ironically, as much as social media can make you feel connected to others, it can also increase feelings of isolation and loneliness. The fear of missing out, better known as FOMO, is real. And excessive use of social media can lead to depression, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy.
Some other negatives of social media include cyberbullying, when you’re the target of hurtful rumors or abuse, and self-absorption, when you become consumed with your online image and crave the need for likes, retweets or shares.
Do you have a problem?
Being aware of how you use social media and how it makes you feel can determine the healthiness of your social media relationship.
If you’re spending a lot of time on social media and letting emotions like sadness, frustration, loneliness, anger or jealousy overwhelm you, it’s the clearest sign you need to re-evaluate your online habits.
Some other questions to ask yourself include: Am I neglecting my closest relationships because of social media? Am I using social media as a distraction or a way of avoiding other issues in my life? Is social media the last thing I check at night and the first thing I look at in the morning?
If you answered yes to any of these questions or felt any of these emotions, it may be time to create some new habits around your social media usage.
Having a healthy social media relationship
Start by making one or two of these adjustments to your social media routine and see how you feel.
If you’re having trouble finding balance and experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, behavioral changes related to medication management or substance abuse and other behavioral issues, Oceans Healthcare may be able to help. As a nationally recognized provider of behavioral health services, we are passionate about helping adults and seniors attain the best possible quality of life. Find a location near you.
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