With the digital world right at our fingertips, being “on” all the time feels normal. From constant emails to send, statuses to update, recipes to pin, and photos to double tap, do you ever stop to wonder what it might be doing to your mental health?
In a country where 20 percent of adults are predicted to experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, it’s important to take note of the effects of “connectedness” and social media use on mental health. With a direct correlation between social media use and depression, and studies that show checking your email outside of work leading to stress, anxiety, and emotional exhaustion, it’s a topic that needs to be discussed.
So in honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, here are some tips on how to disconnect in an overly connected world.
Delete social media apps. Do you really need Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter on your phone? Instead, why not keep one or two apps on your phone and log in to the rest on your laptop. This way, the constant desire to check in on what everyone else is doing is lessened — making you more present in your own life.
Buy a real alarm clock. It’s so easy to use your phone as an alarm clock with it charging right next to your bed. What’s the harm in that, right? Well, if your phone is easy to reach, then the temptation to scroll on social media is immediately there to greet you at dawn and dusk. So buy a real alarm clock instead so the first thing you grab in the morning isn’t your phone.
Schedule alone time. The problem with always being “on” is the inability to connect with yourself, but when you take the time to be alone and disconnect, you let yourself be still and actually think and reflect. Schedule a few minutes in the day to not look at your phone and to evaluate your own needs.
Foster authentic communication. Picking up the phone to call someone just to see how they’re doing has become a novelty. Why call when you can shoot them a text or better yet, you can just check their Instagram Story? Disconnecting from social media forces you to find other ways to connect with people. Instead of connecting with people behind a screen, force yourself to foster real relationships through conversation and face-to-face interactions.
Resist the urge to compare. Social media is known to lead to low self-esteem. Feelings of jealousy arise as you compare yourself to the filtered, curated, and edited photos of others. Disconnecting from social media takes you off the spinning wheel of comparison to focus on your own life. By taking your eyes off of others, you’re free to focus on being grateful and content, boosting your own self-esteem.
xx, The FabFitFun Team