How to create a positive relationship with social media

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It has been well documented that social media can have negative consequences on our self-esteem and mental health. It is very easy to feel completely consumed by online platforms and subsequently allow them to take over our lives.

After watching the Netflix documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’ I was determined to ensure that social media only positively impacted my life going forward.

1. Avoid starting your day with social media

It’s very easy to wake up and start scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Consequently, we can be bombarded with other people’s opinions, requests, and agendas before we’ve even had a chance to brush our teeth.

Instead of instantly reaching for your phone, check-in with yourself. Replace the mindless scrolling with a more nurturing activity, such as meditation or journaling. Not only will this fill your morning with self-care but will instantly improve your productivity.

2. Don’t compare yourself to others

Social media is essentially a collection of an individual’s highlights and best moments; no-one posts about their bad days, downtime, or failures.

Stop comparing yourself to others because you can never know the full story.

3. Unfollow accounts that make you feel rubbish

You have full control over curating a social media feed that is inspirational. If your feed is leaving you feeling overwhelmed, unhappy, and stressed; then it is time to go on a guilt-free unfollowing spree.

Declutter your feed and reshape it into one that makes you feel great!

4. Turn off notifications

Notifications are a productivity nightmare. Realistically, nothing on social media requires your immediate attention and therefore it’s time to press mute.

By only checking social media sites when you want to, rather than when your phones pings, you will create a healthy relationship that doesn’t hinder your work or social life.

5. Stop checking your views and likes

Stop obsessing over who is and who isn’t viewing your stories and liking your posts. It isn’t healthy and will only leave you feeling insecure.

You can now elect to turn off a post’s like-count to help break this toxic habit.

6. Set screen time and daily limits

It’s scary how many hours per day are spent on social media platforms. Limiting your social media use to under 30 minutes per day has been shown to significantly improve an individual’s mental health.

Setting boundaries and daily limits on social media are some of the easiest ways to have a healthy relationship with the online world.

7. Make it difficult to use

Keep social media apps off your home screen, log out each time you use them, or delete the apps off your phone completely. Increasing the number of steps between you and a social media binge is a great way to break the unconscious scrolling habit.

8. Set an intention

Each time you log onto a social media account, set an intention for that session. Start by understanding why you are logging on; are you just bored, filling time, or obsessing over the number of likes on your most recent post? Or do you need to reply to a message, post a story, or engage with your audience?

Be honest with yourself and make sure you are clear about what you want to achieve. Too many times my intention was to reply to a single message and then 20minutes later, I’m binge-watching Instagram stories.

9. Take a break

Taking an intentional break from social media is probably one of the most liberating and healthy habits that you can practice. Even if it’s just 24hrs at first. Disconnecting for a while will make a big difference to your mental health.

To avoid temptation, delete the apps from your phone. You can always re-download them once your break is over.

10. Only post when you have something meaningful to share

The pressure to be constantly posting and staying relevant on social media is rife. Building a healthy relationship with social media means only posting content that is authentic, helpful, and informative.

Social media is a great tool that connects millions of people around the world each day. But it’s addictive. It can encourage us to unconsciously become self-deprecating which leads to poor mental health and a sub-standard quality of life.

Remember to take a step back, unplug from the digital space, and appreciate real-life.