In this day and age, it would be difficult to find someone who isn't connected on some sort of social media. Although these sites do have their many benefits, it's easy to get too caught up in them, making it important to figure out the right ways to have a health relationship with social media. An unhealthy relationship with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. can not only wreak havoc on your self-esteem, but it can cause issues with your relationship, your friendship, and even your job.
"As connecting and engaging as social media can be it removes some of the central aspects of human to human connection," says Rebecca Wong, LCSW-R over email. "Without the little nuances of real life connection it's all too easy to let key human relational skills, like empathy, fall by the wayside."
At the end of the day, social media can be a fun way to connect and even a great tool to promote yourself and your brand, as long as you use it the right way. If you feel like you might be too addicted to scrolling through your feed, consider these 11 tips that can help you have a more healthy relationship with social media.
1. Schedule "Social Media Time"
If you find that you spend way too much time aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, designate a certain time of day to look at your feed, and stick to that. "Set times to check in on social media," says empowerment life coach Diane Passage over email. "Limit your logged-in time to 15-minutes for each check-in.
2. Call Your Friends
Instead of fulfilling your need for connection via the internet, turn to some real, non-virtual socializing. "If you need additional time, connect outside of social media by emailing, calling, texting or getting some (actual) face-time with your friend," says Passage.
3. Remove The Apps From Your Phone
"If you have a difficult time staying away from social media, don't make it easy to log on," says Passage. "Removing apps will significantly reduce the time you spend on them. Forty percent of cell phone owners use a social networking site on their phone, according to the Pew Research Center, so removing these apps can help you stick to checking in on these sites only when you're near a computer — and not when you're out with friends.
4. Think Before You Post
It's tempting to post on social media in the heat of the moment, but it's important to think about your content before you put it up for the world to see. "Think of online posts the same as making an announcement in the middle of Times Square with a megaphone and billboards," says Passage. "A lot of people will see what you post, and they have the option to take a screen shot if they choose to. 'Tweet & delete' will not always save you.'"
5. Be Selective About Who You Follow
Looking at certain people's feeds can anger you, make you feel left out, or even diminish your self-esteem. It's time to stop following these people. "It’s OK to delete them, unfollow them, or hide them from your feed," says self-esteem expert Jess Weiner over email. "Do whatever feels right for you."
6. Don't Feed The Trolls
Online debate can be healthy," says Weiner. "But insults, smears or negative remarks are not. Don’t be afraid to step away from an online argument that isn’t going anywhere and instead, is just making you feel bad."
7. Stop Comparing
A study published in the journal PLoS One found that the more time people spend comparing themselves to people on social media, the more depressed they get. "Remind yourself that a post is just a post," says Jessica Wade, MA, LPCC over email. "It’s a moment in time and it doesn’t tell the whole story. Remind yourself that someone else’s happy news does not minimize your own."
8. Post "Latergrams"
Focusing on getting the perfectly filtered picture can take away from enjoying the moment, so try to save your social media posts for after your day is over. Research from Harvard University found that people report being happier when they focus on the task they are doing, rather than when they are daydreaming or thinking about something else.
9. Keep Social Media Out Of The Bedroom
"People take laptops and cell phones into bed with them and without realizing, put social media ahead of sleep and intimacy," says April Masini, relationship and etiquette expert, over email. Spending all your time on your phone or computer in bed can not only hurt your love life, but it can disrupt your quality of sleep. A study from University of Pittsburgh found that heavy social media users are significantly more likely to experience disturbances to their sleep.
10. Be Authentic
"When you post photos, select images that reflect your life — who you are, what you value, and perhaps who you love and appreciate," says Amy M. Klimek, MA. LCPC over email. "You can use social media to share your relationships with yourself and others while not allowing social media to define your relationships."
Everyone has their different ways they use social media, but you want to make sure it's not interfering with your health or happiness in any way. If it is, consider taking on some of these tips.
Images: Pixabay (11); Isla Murray/Bustle