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8 ways to set boundaries with social media if it’s affecting your mental health

Being online can provide many wonderful opportunities to interact, learn and exchange what could matter to you, but it also has its own disadvantages.

If you have ever felt pressured, jealous or unhappy because of social media or the internet, or maybe you once had some low self-esteem or even rocketing social anxiety, know that you’re not alone.

A love-hate relationship with social media is not unusual. There is nothing quite satisfying as resting your feet up after a long and stressful day to catch up with your virtual world.

We don't realise how much time we spend looking through our feeds, considering social media has become such a huge part of our daily lives.

Many of us start and end our day scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or Facebook, it’s the last thing we check before going to bed and the first thing to check when we wake up. But can it harm our mental health?

Here are  tips on how to look after your mental health and be kinder to yourself and others online.

Use social media intentionally

Consider asking yourself what you are doing on Instagram the next time you grab your phone. If you respond with boredom or habit, you may need to refocus your attention.

Social media does have many advantages, however, the positives of social media are overshadowed by the negatives once social media becomes a chore. This is true especially when you feel insecure every time you leave a site.

Practice mindfulness

Being way to much active on social media can disconnect many users from the mental benefits of having the ability to be present in their daily lives. Small, deliberate changes could help you break those social media bonds.

Mindfulness, gratitude and time reflection are all techniques that can give meaning and worth to your everyday life.

Spend less time on the internet

It is more difficult to do this when using your phone becomes an automatic process.

There are a variety of apps that can help you keep track of how much time you spend on social media, thus creating accountability. You can also set your phone to switch off at a specified time each day. Maybe have some strict rules like not bringing your phone to the dinner table or to bed with you. You may also disable social media notifications – in that way you won’t receive any beeps.

Unfollow accounts that don’t make you feel good

Stop following Instagram celebrities/influencers if you are comparing the shape of your body, your home or your lifestyle to theirs and it is not making you happy.

Make sure the brands and accounts you follow on social media are aligned with your core values, and that following them brings you satisfaction or advantages.

Follow inspirational accounts that will make you feel good.

Always remember that your account feed is within your control! You can unfollow any account that makes you feel anxious or accounts that trigger your mental health. It is also important to follow accounts that make you feel happy.

You can follow hilarious memes, motivating speakers, stunning vacation accounts or inspirational quote accounts.

Prioritize self-care

Self-care means making sure that you are taking care of every area of your health so that you are prepared to face whatever life has in store for you.

It really does not have to be expensive spa treatments or isolated holidays; it could be simple daily acts of kindness to ourselves that boost spirits.

Set app limits

Given that it is challenging to completely avoid social media, setting time limitations for the time you spend on your phone may be very helpful. You can keep track and monitor how much time you spend on your smartphone and on social media by just setting the above on your phone.

Turn off notifications or set ‘bedtimes’

Have you ever heard that you can set a timer for your bedtime using just your phone or tablet? Setting the timer to “Bedtime” will turn off all your alerts till the next morning, putting an end to late-night notifications and constant pings. This can be turned on under the iPhone’s Clock settings. It is similar to “Do Not Disturb”, however alerts won’t appear on the lock screen. As a result, the is no urgency to respond to DMs or open your app.

This article was originally published on IOL.

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