Social media: Guarding your mental health during COVID-19
Social media was designed to connect us, but sometimes it can make us feel stressed or anxious due to the content we are absorbing. Geoff Williams, director of Behavioral Care Outpatient Programs with Prisma Health–Midlands, explained how to use social media to stay connected during the pandemic while not allowing it to increase your stress or anxiety levels.
“Social media can be a great comfort – linking us to loved ones and support systems – but sometimes you may see some content that stirs you up and causes you to feel bad,” said Williams.
He offered these tips to help you manage any stress and anxiety you may be feeling while using social media.
- Take intentional breaks and set limits. Be sure to not spend too much time on social media. While it helps you stay connected, it is important to step away and enjoy life going on around you as well. If you find yourself getting keyed up by the content you are absorbing, intentionally step away and give yourself a break.
- Don’t binge scroll. Recognize when you are mindlessly scrolling and getting caught up in your social feed. If needed, put a time limit on your social media use to help you steer clear of mindless scrolling.
- Shape your feed. Be aware of the content that is upsetting to you and try to shape your feed so that content doesn’t appear as often. Unfollow content that triggers you in a negative way.
- Use it for good. Connecting in person is difficult right now, so use social media to stay connected to your friends and family.
If you are feeling anxious or stressed due to COVID-19 and you are finding that social media is adding to those feelings, take a step back and use these tips to evaluate your social media use. If you continue to feel anxious or stressed and need help, reach out to a professional.
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