Building Healthy Social Media Habits

May 2024woman using social media

Social media can be a wonderful way to connect with long-distance family members, learn new skills, and create a supportive network of friends. However, it’s all too easy to let popularity metrics and virtual arguments rule our lives. Here are a few tips to help you have a healthier time online.

Set boundaries around bedtime

It’s happened to everyone — you head to bed at an appropriate time but find yourself scrolling on your favorite app until the wee hours of the morning. Browsing social media before bed can lead you down a content rabbit hole, overstimulate your brain, or keep you awake. The Sleep Foundation asserts that the blue light from screens prevents our brains from winding down for the evening. Take back your time to rest by imposing limits on device usage before bedtime. Try logging off at least an hour before heading to sleep.

Make mindful connections

Social media makes it easy to prioritize your number of friends or followers. However, you may find it beneficial to ignore these metrics. In the long run, it could help you to get comfortable with turning down friend requests from long-forgotten acquaintances or people who have wronged you in the past. If you can’t say no to connecting with a colleague or family member on social media, you can still limit your audience for posts on some platforms. For instance, Facebook has a feature that lets you make posts that are only visible to select friends, so you don’t have to worry about oversharing in front of everyone you know online.

Disrupt your routine

If you find yourself mindlessly bouncing between apps to see what’s new, you can break the cycle by logging out of one or more of your favorite social networks. The small act of typing in your username and password could be enough to break the flow and convince you to stop procrastinating on an offline task, like vacuuming the house or doing a load of laundry. If this isn’t enough, consider deleting the offending app to help shake the addiction.

Don’t be afraid to block or unfollow

The internet is full of upsetting content and anxiety-boosting information. If you’re being overwhelmed by negativity, it may be time to take inventory of your social media feed. Are you subscribed to a channel that posts doom and gloom? It may be time to unsubscribe and look for a more balanced news source. Is an acquaintance posting controversial rants? Consider muting them for a while. Repeat this process for upsetting subreddits and hashtags, along with any online chat servers that are getting on your nerves.

Turn off your notifications

Let go of that fear of missing out — by turning off your notifications, you’re taking a major step towards a healthier relationship with social media. You may find yourself being less distracted by the beeps and chimes that interrupt your date nights and family time.

Earn your screen time

We all have things to get done offline, but addictive algorithms and easy-to-use apps can quickly drain away our time and energy. To work towards a balance, One Medical suggests doing chores to earn screen time. For instance, for every minute you exercise, you could earn a minute of time on social media.

Social media can be a powerful tool, but it can also take a toll on your psyche. Logging off or limiting your usage can be an excellent first step towards a healthier lifestyle.