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

Photo ©️ Bernie Egerton

Ah yes, social media!

So, you’re scrolling through FB or Insta, having a little old harmless browse and next thing you know you compare yourself to others. Your mood suddenly changes, you switch to auto-pilot and down that bloody rabbit hole you go, making yourself feel worse. Does this sound familiar to you?

It’s not surprising why we 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 dust to so many people. The list is endless. However, social media platforms can be great for promoting your business, sharing your creativity, highlighting important issues, giving you a right old laugh 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, I have to admit I loved it. Social media was a new way to connect with others and I loved checking into places, posting the obligatory holiday snaps, dinner (I know) and basically sharing the snaps I “wanted” the world to see. I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread! Oh boy 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 had worn off, my self-esteem would dip whenever I was scrolling or if I was having an off day. Do you find your mood changing when you’re scrolling for eternity? Yep, we’ve all been there!  Great exercise for the thumb but not the brain. My goodness I remember well before mobiles and the internet and managed quite well. I was brought up in the eighties where spending time outside was my social media!

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 after deleting 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. Furthermore, maybe you do have control when it comes to social media use and that’s great – its all about being mindful and getting the right balance. You’re in a time where social media is so powerful and addictive. 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.  Furthermore, 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 and it would be hard to get back to sleep from all that stimulation. Leave your phone downstairs at night or switch it off and use an old fashioned alarm. 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 struggle with your confidence and you find yourself feeling low after spending quite a bit of time scrolling: then take a step back and have a little break to recharge your own batteries.


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 (by god do I know how addictive it is)

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 have always wanted to try or rekindle an old one.

6. Go outdoors (leave that phone at home)  and spend time in nature to recharge your own batteries and connect with yourself. There is so much beauty outside of social media. Breathe in that fresh air, use your 5 senses (what you see, hear, touch, taste and smell) to become more present/mindful!!

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 – procrastination at its finest!

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, absorbing nature, writing and coaching. 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 comment and share your own tips.

Do you need to find a healthier social media balance?

And breathe…