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(Un)Social Media

It is estimated that globally 210 million people have social media addiction which is described as a compulsive and excessive use of Social media.

Social media allows us to connect with people from all over the world. With the touch of a button, we can discover new music, places to travel, join groups or forums on our hobbies and interests, share stories, learn new skills & even find a new partner.

Humans are by nature social creatures. We like to be connected, share information and news and talk to like- minded people about our hobbies and interests. And whats more, we can do all this today using our Smartphones.

This instant access to goods, services and social media platforms may have changed some aspects of our lives for the better but on the flip side it can for some people be detrimental to their mental health. These include trolling and online bullying, constant comparison to seemingly ‘perfect’ images and lifestyles creating low self- esteem and in turn depression and anxiety And then there is just the sheer amount of time that we spend scrolling through this stuff. It is recommended to spend no more than 30 minutes per day on social media, but I suspect not least from my own habits that for some people it’s much much more!

So what are the signs that your Social media use is getting out of hand?

▪ You spend more time on social media than socialising in person face-to-face.

▪ You compare yourself to others on social media in a negative way – resulting in low self esteem

▪ You find yourself checking social media when you should be working or studying.

▪ You act or behave differently to usual for likes on social media.

▪ You repeatedly check your posts to see how many likes you have and feel down when you don’t have many.

▪ You check social media first thing in the morning and last thing at night sometimes scrolling late into the night when you should be sleeping.

▪ You neglect your hobbies or interests in order to spend time on social media.

▪ You pay less attention to your partner or children and become annoyed when they demand your attention.

▪ You feel anxious when you don’t have access to social media and have a fear of missing out. If you recognise yourself in all or some of these statements perhaps you might like to take this quiz.

Ways to manage and cut down on your time spent on social media.

  • To check how much time you are actually spending on these apps, your phone may already have a setting for this, or you can download an app which can track time spent on social media and even set limits.

  • If you are getting sucked into a particular influencer or bombarded with unwanted content, then close it or unfollow. Remember that the algorithms are set so that the more time you spend viewing something the more it and similar content will appear in your feed.

  • Switch off notifications as they will always tempt us to have a “quick” look (its’s never quick!!) Also think about hiding your social media icons so they are not so visible. i.e. If you need to use your phone to make work calls or answer emails, put the social media apps on a different page. You could even take your social media apps off your phone altogether and only access them through your pc or laptop.

  • Don’t look at your phone before breakfast and for an hour before bed also set rules about no phones at the table or at certain times of the day e.g. family time for an hour each evening.

  • If you are with friends maybe agree a phone amnesty, try to be present with the people you are with, enjoy the conversation and company. Talk to others about your concerns and give them permission to call you out if you are scrolling while in their company. Keep your phone in your bag or coat pocket, so there is less temptation.

  • Do NOT have your phone in your bedroom.

  • If you use it as an alarm, then maybe invest in an old school alarm clock.

  • Consider having an occasional digital detox maybe one day a month or week or just a few hours every so often perhaps on a Sunday morning or one evening midweek.

  • Engage in other activities, go for a walk, take up or re-start a hobby.

If you want to read more on this topic then follow this link to an article written by the Priory. Or if you want to take yourself offline there are some excellent books on the topic try Offline by Imran Rashid and Soren Kenner or Stolen Focus by Johan Hari. (please note we are not affiliated to Amazon and these books can be purchased from other retailers)

Talk to a People at Work first responder and find out how we can be part of your wellbeing support. 020 3286 1545

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