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Author: Arundel Stevens

Social Media and Wellness

Balancing Digital Profile with Personal Wellness

by Arundel Stevens

Social media is such a pivotal part of modern culture that it may be hard to disengage from it fully. Social media provides the ability to find work opportunities, sustain friendships, achieve new relationships, market yourself and your brand, and stay connected and updated about the world around you. It’s important to recognize that social media is not your enemy! It can be a great tool for your personal and professional success. However, mindlessly consuming social media content without regard for its effect on your well-being is equally dangerous. Your social, mental, and personal well-being is negatively impacted by the overconsumption of social media. How can we maintain an online presence without causing damage to mental health? How can we balance social media and personal health?

Using social media with productive goals

Social media is addictive! Companies design algorithms to draw you in and customize your content to the point where it is difficult to step away. Using social media without specific goals and boundaries can be inefficient and unproductive. How many times have you sat down at your laptop with the intent of sending an important email and realized after 45 minutes that you have gone down a digital rabbit hole, scrolling through online shops or specialized feeds without ever completing the initial task? It’s a common experience! So, how do we limit these distractions and ensure we use online resources efficiently?

  • Setting time limits

    illustration by Tra Mi

Break the cycle of scrolling! Setting a reasonable time limit on your screen usage can keep you from being distracted or unproductive. Many people use social media in their professional and social lives, which means that fully disconnecting isn’t an option. However, a simple timer can help you stay grounded and remember how much time you spend online.

It’s okay to use social media as entertainment, too, but you should be realistic about the amount of time you spend online. Many devices allow you to set “screen time limits,” which will automatically alert you when you have surpassed the amount of screen time you planned. Set reasonable goals for your screen time and stick by them! These goals and time limits will break the routine of scrolling and keep you grounded in the moment.

  • Eliminate unnecessary clutter

In the 21st century, unlimited data often prevents us from noticing just how many online tools we use as crutches! How many applications on your phone screen do you actually use on a daily basis? How many of them do you use for productive or professional reasons? If your phone screen looks anything like mine, you probably don’t have many apps that are truly necessary.

Deleting excess apps or apps that don’t serve a necessary purpose in your life can remove a large part of the dead space you spend online. For example, if you need to keep Instagram in order to promote your business, you could instead delete TikTok because you use it solely for entertainment. Pay attention to where you spend most of your time online! If it is spread out over multiple apps, then try to limit yourself to only using one or two forms of social media.

  • Be honest with yourself

Overuse of social media is extremely common! It is important to admit to yourself when social media is taking a negative toll. Recognizing unhealthy patterns is the first step toward changing them! If you have unhealthy social media habits, you must admit this before breaking them. At the same time, be honest about your needs. Using LinkedIn, Instagram, or Email is often necessary for your professional life and future career. You do not have to delete every form of social media in order to improve your wellness, but it is important to balance the two.


Logging Off: Activities to Replace Scrolling

illustration by Tra Mi

Though social media can provide connections, opportunities, and updates, its effect on mental health is clear: more time spent on social media correlates with a decline in mental health. However, it is often hard to cut screen time because there seem to be very few other options. What can you do to replace social media with other activities?

                    • Pick a hobby!

Skateboarding, biking, yoga, jogging, painting, drawing, writing, hiking, cooking, sewing, singing, dancing, knitting, reading, jewelry making, or doing puzzles. All these activities are great options if you are looking for easy entertainment that won’t negatively impact your mental health! Find a new hobby or try out a class or activity on a topic you are interested in. Remember that there is a whole world outside of social media, and there are so many fun options to explore.

                    • Social engagement

One of the most tempting components of social media is in the name: social! Social media allows you to meet people and stay close even when you have busy schedules. However, your social life should not be defined by your online presence. Let your friends know that you are taking a break from social media, and meet them in person, instead! Attend creative classes or engaging activities and make a goal to meet someone new.

Move your social life back into the real world, and stop relying on your device for connection. Many experts report that the main reason social media can be so damaging is because of how isolating it is. Social media forces people to perceive one another through vetted images: showing only the perfect and most aesthetic sides of a person. Replace this with true, in-person interactions and you will find it far less isolating!




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