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When Social Media Use Becomes Unhealthy. And, 7 Tips to Get That Balance Right!!

Photo ©️ Bernie Egerton

So, you’re scrolling through FB or Insta, having a little old harmless browse – next thing you know you compare yourself to others and your mood suddenly changes (oh boy have I been there) you just keep torturing yourself, checking out profiles, switching to auto-pilot and scrolling: making yourself feel worse! Does this sound familiar to you?

It’s not surprising why you feel bad after a browsing session when it comes to social media. Selfies are plastered everywhere, filters are on hand and those perfect (well edited) life snaps are shown.  The “like” button has also become gold to so many people. The list is endless. On the other hand, however, social media can be a great platform for promoting your business, sharing your creativity, highlighting important issues and raising awareness on so many important causes/subjects.

We’re in a time where everything is done online now and working from home is so much more common since the pandemic.

When my relationship with social media started

When I first became acquainted with FB back in 2007 (yes I’m over 40)  I have to admit I loved it. Social media was a new way to connect with others. I loved checking into places, posting photos of my hols, dinner (I know) and basically sharing the snaps I “wanted” the world to see. Oh did that soon change.

When Social Media becomes unhealthy

Now, when I look back, social media was not one bit healthy for my mental well-being. When the novelty of this new platform had worn off I was comparing myself to others, and my self-esteem dipped whenever I was scrolling. Do you find your mood changing when you’re scrolling for eternity? Yep, we’ve all been there!  My goodness I remember well before mobiles and the Internet and managed quite well. In todays world, don’t you feel lost if your phone isn’t attached to those hands? I’m so much more mindful these days with social media and deleted my personal social media accounts many years ago (I just had to and feel much more happier/content) I still have FB and Insta, but more for hobbies and work.

You’re in a time where social media is so powerful and addictive. Selfies are huge and trying to master the right pose/look can be exhausting/stressful. Try not to compare your life (I know it’s easier said than done) we’re all unique and brilliant in our own ways. You have your weaknesses and strengths. Build on your strengths and what you enjoy doing and what makes you feel good.

Stats (NCHR)

According to NCHR (National Center For Health Research) 45% of adolescents have reported to being online “almost constantly,” whereas 44% stated being online several times a day. This is a huge percentage of younger people spending their time online on a daily basis –  and is bound to have a negative impact to your mental well-being. However, a 2018 survey report (NCHR, 2018) has stated how 31% of adolescents found a positive impact from social media use and connecting with others.  But, 25% of adolescents found social media to have such a negative impact.

Researchers have also shown how social media can disrupt sleep (NCHR, 2018) I can vouch for this myself, as I used to take my phone to bed (I stopped that years ago)  put it under my pillow and if I woke during the night would have a quick check: then the dreaded scrolling started. Leave your phone downstairs at night or put it into a drawer. Get that proper nights sleep your body and mind needs.

Finding the right balance

There are positives to using social media when you get that balance right and become more aware when online. If you’re a sensitive person (sensitive person myself I may add) with low self-esteem and you find yourself feeling low after you spend quite a bit of time scrolling: then take a step back.


7 tips on balancing a healthy social media life

1. Ask yourself these questions before going online:

  • How do I feel?
  • What can I do instead?
  • What exactly is making me feel worse?
  • How is this beneficial?

2.  Delete apps from your phone, so you don’t have it handy to constantly check/scroll.

3. Follow positive well-being accounts, these will help you to see the positives. Follow genuine accounts focused on your wellbeing.

4. If it gets too much or overwhelming then take a little break from it. Or even dedicate a day with no social media use every week.

5. Take up a hobby you enjoy and follow accounts you have an interest in.

6. Go outdoors (leave the phone at home)  Spend time in nature to recharge your own batteries and connect with yourself. There is so much beauty out there and outside of social media. Breathe in that fresh air!!

7. Become more aware of your feelings when online. Check in with yourself: ask yourself do I feel ok doing this? Set yourself a time limit when online.


Final thoughts

Social media can be so addictive and you can spend wasted hours scrolling.

Channel your energy into what YOU really enjoy. What makes you smile? It’s ok to take a break and remember to always be kind to yourself. Step by step you can change a habit. You are more than enough. You really, really are.I feel so much happier not having a personal social media account anymore and I limit my time spent when browsing on the phone. I’m more aware when online. I channel my energies into what I enjoy, which is being with my family, writing, coaching and poetry. Talk to someone if it all gets a bit too much, it’s ok to share how you’re feeling with someone you trust –  it’s not a weakness but a strength to open up (and at your own pace too)

Thank you for checking out my post and let me know what your relationship with social media is like.

Do you need to find a healthier social media balance?

And breathe…


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Sleep. It’s importance and 8 ways to improve your sleeping patterns, for a healthier lifestyle!

Hello there you!

How are you feeling today and did you get a good night’s sleep?

Are you getting enough sleep per night in general; i.e between 7-9 hrs? Are you struggling to fall asleep at the moment?

It’s tough sometimes to get the right amount, especially if you’re a new parent isn’t it? Or you could be going through other major changes in your life; should it be at work, your relationships, college or moving home.

But, getting the right amount of sleep each night is so important in order to decrease those stress levels; and to keep your anxiety levels controlled.  I know myself by not getting those early nights (my youngest is an early riser!) I don’t feel myself. Your concentration is poor the next day, then you reach for the junk food and you lack the motivation to exercise or to move forward with your goals. Getting those early night’s in helps your overall wellbeing and to control stress/ low mood.

Health problems

Sleep problems could cause health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression,  heart disease and reduced immune system function (sleepfoundation).This is not surprising as you do reach for unhealthy options when it comes to food ( I do and I’m also too tired to exercise if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep). But, I make sure I get those 8 hrs sleep each night, so I’m more motivated/focused to eat a well balanced diet, to exercise properly and to be more productive the next day.

Statistics

Research has shown:

  • That 40% of aged 18-24 struggle to fall asleep at night (sleep foundation)
  • 33% of people above 55 in the UK also struggle to fall asleep (sleep foundation)
  • 22% of people in general in the UK struggle to fall asleep (NHS)
  • 7-19% of the overall population struggle to get enough sleep (national institute of sleep)
  • 50-70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders.

Sleep problems during times of stress

What problems do you experience during times of stress? Low quality sleep can affect your physical and mental wellbeing if not controlled/managed. Prolonged sleep problems can cause health problems/diseases.

Common sleep disorders

  • Insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep paralysis

During times of high stress I tend to get palpitations prior to falling asleep. I’ve also experienced sleep paralysis a handful of times during my life (now, if you’re aware of sleep paralysis then you know how terrifying that can be! Not pleasant is it?)

8 ways to improve sleep (Sleep Foundation, NHS)

  • Avoid Caffeine (a stimulant) and alcohol just before bed (at least 2hrs) as they can prevent you from falling asleep or going into a more deeper sleep
  • Exercise throughout the day but avoid it just before bed
  • Make sure your sleeping environment is dark, relaxed and with dim lights if you prefer a light on
  • Put away those gadgets – I know how distracting they are.  When I take mine to bed I’m scrolling and wasting valuable sleeping time (we’re all guilty of this aren’t we?) I always leave mine downstairs now.
  • If you’re feeling anxious, do a bit of writing before bed and let those worries out. It really helps.
  • Listen to a bit of relaxation music to help you drift off
  • Stick to going to bed at the same time each night so it becomes a habit/routine over time.
  • Invest in a sleep tracker if you’re really experiencing problems with sleep.

Do you like your tea/coffee before bed and can’t do without? Maybe try some calming lavender herbal tea instead – to help you drift into a more relaxed/calmer state just before bed.

Concluding thoughts

We often forget how important sleep is – especially when we’re running around and busy with life. But, it really is the foundation to leading a more healthier lifestyle. When tired/exhausted you reach for unhealthy foods and that Caffeine to keep you going and you lack the motivation to exercise. Your anxiety/stress levels increase and you are more prone to health problems in the future.

Take a step back, look at how your sleeping patterns are and adapt (using these tips I’ve shown throughout)

What tips do you have that helps you with sleep?

Thank you for stopping by to check out my post. And, here’s to you having a decent night’s sleep going forward!