The effects of social media on mental health aren’t well documented, but the idea isn’t something new. Studies show that social media and mental health are intrinsically connected. The caveat being: the younger you are the more likely your popularity and reach, or lack thereof, will affect your mental health.
But for content creators or aspiring content creators, not being on social media isn’t an option. Your audience needs a way to connect with you. Additionally, having a multitude of social media accounts helps increase your engagement and ensures you remain relevant.
Determine Whether Social Media Is Affecting You
The first step to combating or preventing the negative impact social media can have on your mental health is to identify whether social media is affecting you.
It’s amazing to think that apps like Instagram, TikTok, even YouTube can begin affecting your mental health. Because the effects are slow and subtle, you may not be aware that you’re already showing signs of social media and mental health effects.
Here are some common ways social media can begin to affect your mental health.
You’re comparing yourself to others. Body image and self-worth can be linked to what you see on social media. Although you know not everything you see on social media is true, or an honest account, constantly consuming this information can make you identify with it more than your daily life.
You’re developing an unhealthy obsession with your appearance as it relates to how people online perceive you. If you’re starting to become self-conscious not because of legitimate reasons but rather because people online or followers on social media have pointed it out, this can be the first sign to developing an obsession.
You’re spending more time with online peers than real-world counterparts. You’re going to be affected by the people you spend the most time. Because there’s such a huge disconnect between real life and social media, spending more time with people online can worsen any mental health struggles originating or exacerbated by social media.
It’s affecting other activities. If you find yourself constantly consumed by social media, you’re already developing an unhealthy fixation. But when that obsession progresses so that it’s affecting your productivity, reasoning, concentration, sleep, or health, then your mental health is at risk of deteriorating.
You get anxiety when you’re on/not on social media. If you feel nervous, afraid, or anxious when you’re not on social media, then you may be developing an addiction.
If you’re experiencing some or all of these, you need to take remedial action.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND MENTAL HEALTH:
TAKING IMMEDIATE REMEDIAL ACTION
Sometimes it’s not possible for your usage on social media and mental health to be balanced, you’ll have to forego the one to save the other. When you’re experiencing a number of the emotions or feelings outlined above, you need to consider taking remedial action.
Distance Yourself From Social Media
Uninstall apps or turn off notifications. But do whatever it takes to distance yourself from social media. Now you’ll have time to spend in your thoughts and focusing on things that bring you joy.
Find Hobbies Outside of Social Media
Find things that give you joy that aren’t linked to social media. As an influencer or content creator, you need to understand that social media is your job, it’s not your life. Find things to do that you enjoy, that are separate from what you do online. These hobbies should be activities you don’t share with your online audience, in a way similar to how you would have hobbies outside of a regular nine to five.
Get Professional Help
Sometimes it’s not enough to call a friend or confide in someone, there are points when you need professional help to get through the effects social media is having on your mental health. In these instances get professional help from a counselor, therapist, or a phone or text hotline.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND MENTAL HEALTH:
DEVELOP PARAMETERS AND COPING MECHANISMS
If you do have a balance between your use of social media and mental health, then to maintain that balance, you should develop parameters and coping mechanisms. Doing this ensures your social media usage never overwhelms you.
Define Your Social Media Hours
For an influencer or content creator, social media is a job. Therefore, to limit its effects on your mental health, treat it like a job. Define your “working hours” when you should use social media. Don’t use social media after those hours or before those hours. Because of these clear demarcation, you have more time to reflect and spend in the company of real-world friends.
Get A Work Phone
If you can’t escape your job because all your apps are on your phone – so all your notifications will appear on the same phone you receive texts from your loved ones – purchase another phone. Use one exclusively for social media and business and the other for your personal life. When you need a break from social media, disconnecting will be as easy as leaving your phone behind.
Define What You’ll Post
Decide what you’re willing to share online. Not everything is worthwhile sharing online, so place parameters between your personal life and online persona. These parameters should be identifiable to both yourself and your audience.
Determine What You’ll Engage With
Because overexerting yourself with comments and responses that can quickly lead to burn out, don’t do it. Predetermine which conversations or what content is important. Once you predetermine what is important, only engage with those conversations; anything else that isn’t crucial you should ignore.
If you’re growing your social media following to an extent where you simply can’t do all the tasks yourself, hire a moderator. A moderator will ensure that you only see the comments from people who are constructive or adding to the conversation and not from trolls.
Use Third Party Apps To Limit Your Time on Social Media
Consider scheduling your posts instead of directly uploading them every time you post. Because when you do this, you’re essentially limiting the time you have to spend on social media. Additionally, you’ll have more time for yourself and your friends and loved ones, because you can plan all your content weeks in advance.
Find Another Source For Trends
“It’s necessary to spend a lot of my time on social media because I need to stay on top of trends,” is an excuse influencers and content creators commonly use. But, there are other resources you can use to get information on what’s going on online. The first is to find a reputable news source, the second is to get Google alerts, lastly, you can check in on social media at the end of every workday to see if there’s anything important making headlines.
You don’t need to be in the know all the time to be trendy. Instead, you can spend the time keeping up with trends, creating original content.