8 April 2020

We hear a lot about how bad social media is for us.

And it’s true that some studies have shown that heavy social media use (more than two hours a day) is associated with depressive symptoms[1]. But there’s a lot we don’t know about the impact of social media.

Here at ZOOM we are tech positive and we think that social media, when we use it carefully and in moderation, can help us to connect with others and find solutions to problems we’d otherwise have struggled with alone. Here’s some tips on how to use social media in a mental health-friendly way!

Be selective

Unfollow accounts that make you feel jealous, anxious or just plain miserable. We know that not everything we see online is genuine, but sometimes it’s hard to wean ourselves off content that doesn’t make us feel good. Think about how your feed makes you feel and have a spring clean.

Fill your feed with positivity

Whether it’s motivational quotes, beautiful photographs of places you’d like to visit, cute animals, or delicious food, make your feed an uplifting place to be. You can also use social media as a regular reminder to practice habits that keep you healthy and happy such as meditating, doing breathing exercises, or getting some green exercise.

Try a self-care challenge:

These can help focus your attention and boost your creativity. If you want you can use your account to track your progress and share it with your followers, or keep it to yourself.  Some of our favourites are:

  • The 100 day photo challenge – try taking each photo a day of something that made you happy, like a perfectly made cup of tea or playing with a pet
  • Seven days of self-care – this challenges you to do one thing for yourself every day for a week
  • 1 Second Video app – take a 1 second video every day so you can look back over your month/year. It can be a healthy reminder that not every day is Insta- worthy, and that’s okay.

Keep it real

Follow people who post authentic content rather than idealised versions of life. Sharing difficulties and being honest with what you post can help you connect with others and feel better – just be mindful of who can access what you’re posting and be sure to not share things that might put you in danger.

We hope these help you to find healthy ways to spend time online. Next week we’ll be asking whether a digital detox is really the best way to find balance in the digital world. See you then!

[1] https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/expert-opinion/social-media-impact-mental-health-young-people/?gclid=CjwKCAiAlajvBRB_EiwA4vAqiIYkQbu1QRK2aic1v5VM4DylP3EVtxBI_lG9C1xPr1QqbolM357I3RoCPrQQAvD_BwE