Social Media and Mental Health - Zinny factor

Towards the end of last year, it became clear it will be a good idea to detach from anything that seemed stressful which included, social media. When I started blogging, the intent was to share content with others whose ideas resonated with mine – most especially workplace issues.

Overtime, to get people to read my content I had to promote it via social media. At the time, my interpretation of this meant that I had to do the things I enjoyed doing but in a more aggressive way.

I enjoy photography, as a matter of fact I do photography professionally a couple of times. But having to take photos almost every day or at least, every other day with the intention of ‘promoting’ my content via social media at some point didn’t feel like I was doing it for love any more. It slowly became a chore as I had to update potential readers via these means.

Social media can be distracting and consuming. Everyone says this but very few of us do anything about making changes. It can also be overwhelming and a stressor. The unending updates and scrolling of interrelated opinions of people gets intense. To depict this, it’s like a room filled with many people screaming at the top of their voices all at the same time and on a daily basis.

So when I decided to clear every sign of stress while preparing for the new year, it only made sense to begin here.

Information overload can be quite stressful and it’s important to find a way to cut down the noise. Having too many updates in a minute with photos to scroll through and captions that seem captivating at first glance appears to feel like information overload.

It was reported that 51% of adults admitted to being addicted to their digital devices, which they use primarily to be connected to the rest of the world. These addicts were 32% more likely to consider their lives at least somewhat stressful. Another study examined stress levels of those involved with social media and the findings revealed that avid social media users are experiencing adverse consequences to spending so much time on it.  Social media isn’t necessarily the primary stress-inducing feature, but a part of it.

ReadWorkplace Stress: 8 Ways To Save Your Mental Health

I had done a fairly good job of not being too attached to most of the social media apps, but Instagram proved most difficult. I decided to separate Z|F account and create a personal Instagram account where I could do what I enjoy doing when I am less busy – take photos and dump since the app serves as a place of collection for me. Even when I post IG stories that disappear after a day, knowing that I can go back to my archive to relive that moment interests me. A personal account was going to help prevent me from having to think of promotional activities.

It didn’t take away from the fact that it wasn’t healthy for me to be on there for most of the day. It’s one thing to say you are going to follow certain accounts to see just what you think you want to see. But it isn’t usually long before you start exploring content that the app recommends your way. There were times when I’d simply want to be silent on the grid but suddenly feel as though something was going to break as a result of my absence.

After giving this much thought, I decided to put myself to the test. No announcements. Just action.

I started out with monitoring my screen time and after a while deleted the app. It felt different the very first day but it wasn’t long before I got used to it. I could now be more productive with my time. I’d download the app whenever I wanted to be inquisitive and know what’s going on but then delete it afterwards.

One day turned into a week. A week became a month and soon I was used to staying off the grid or not updating it. As a matter of fact, I noticed that my general well-being increased. I was focusing on things that mattered the most and spending quality time with loved ones in a way that felt more authentic. At this point, the question was: do I have to be on social media? If yes, do I have to be consistent? My answers to those questions weren’t straight cut .

So here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to social media and mental health in general.

Take more breaks away from social media

There are several advantages of social media and I will be lying if I said I never benefitted from it. I’ve come to feel closer to my family making use of these platforms even though I live several miles away! So thanks to the digital age.

However, it’s necessary to try to limit the time spent on social media and try going without it for a day or two. It’s never as hard as you might initially think and once you are able to get a hang of it, you’ll be so much happier. Take sometime off, do something else, be spontaneous.

Make time for real time relationships

Real life friends go a long way and true friendships are based on trust and shared experiences. A thousand ‘likes’ will never mean friendship. If there is someone you interact with online, you might as well meet up in real life and that will feel more authentic.

This will actually help boost your mental health because humans are social animals and there is nothing better than human connection.

Honesty goes a long way

You have to be honest about how you make use of social media. Are you using it for good? Is it making your life better in any way? If you need someone to help check your attitude, then find one!

In the long run, your motive goes a long way. Use the gift of social media for good, whatever that means for you. Be clear about that. Look out to help people, that’s always one way to give back to the society and this can be done with social media and always take note of your general being.

With social media, it appears that regularly checking your habit is the best way to move forward with self control. I often wonder what it feels like for those who have a full-time job/ career that requires them to spend several hours on social media. If you are one, please reach out, I’ll love to hear from you and how you are able to maintain your balance.

What does social media control mean for you? Do you believe that having better control of social media affects your mental health and career in the long run? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog for exclusive updates and information right in your inbox.